Since the Civil War event (2006 – 2007) in Marvel Comics, Iron Man has been a key ingredient in most of Marvel’s storylines. However, if you are interested in reading up on Iron Man/Tony Stark recent history, you have to return to the six-issue storyarc called Extremis run in the 2005 Iron Man title. Extremis was new, exciting, unique technology that Tony Stark developed. Then there was the Civil War – with the issues of the Superhero Registration Act. This includes Tony Stark giving Peter Parker the Iron Spider suit. Then we have Secret Invasion and finally Norman Osborn (Dark Reign) takes over, well… everything, and crushes Stark Industries feverishly hunting down Tony Stark himself. That’s a whole lot of comic book issues to read through – its really great reading and well worth the time spent – but what you need to know started with the newest volume of Iron Man: Invincible Iron Man. The first issue was released in July 2008.
Extremis armor was very cool, in my opinion. Extremis technology stores the inner layers of the Iron Man armor in the Stark’s bones. He can control the armor through direct brain impulses. Extremis also integrates Stark’s existing lockchip (a personal networking implement implanted in his forearm) directly into his nervous system. Basically, Stark IS his armor. Its really high-tech, sci-fi, fun stuff that one would expect from Tony. This armor means no more unfolding, Transformers-like suitcases. No more dashing into phone booths. The nanoparticles inside Tony’s body literally become the armor around him – its really quite neat.
But Extremis, as it was in 2005 ends up having issues – or is it that Tony has issues? Regardless, after 24 issues of the newest volume of Invincible Iron Man, Tony Stark meets up with Reed Richards and creates the newest Iron Man armor. So, of course, issue #25 is a big deal – and I could not find this issue anywhere. I finally had to sell a kidney. Totally worth it.
First of all, I absolutely love this cover. I read on a few websites that people thought all of the #25 covers (variants and other) were boring. I love covers like this, though, simple, full-page, not cluttered or busy. I like the title shoved to the lower left, I like the font used for the title and credits. I like the dark background. This is a good cover. But wait – there’s more! (Sorry, I’ve been watching TV commercials.) I absolutely love the interior art for this comic. Let’s use some common sense – if you are introducing a new armor for Iron Man – you need to have amazing art. The artist needs to be on his game. That’s all there is to it. And Salvador Larroca nails it. Pretty much every frame is excellent and melds perfectly with the writing. In this issue, the art isn’t an accessory to the story, it actually does its own share of telling the story. Very nice.
Well, do you want the real story or the story we just tell people? In reality, Tony Stark totally designed this tech in an apartment living room. The fake story is that Marvel writers and artists designed this. Who specifically? Marvel gives a lot of credit to an artist named Ryan Meinerding. Apparently he started the design process. Editors and writers apparently eventually gave their insights and the new armor was born. Now, since I have only read issue #25, I am not completely aware of how the armor operates. It looks like it works similarly to the extremis armor. I am glad for this. I loved most of the extremis armor concept, especially how it did away with figuring how to have the armor ready and accessible at any minute.
There are some other things going on in issue #25. Thor shows up, Rhodey is complaining, Maria talks about Avengers. The big plot is that Stark is rebuilding Stark Industries and he has just changed his weapons-based business agenda, to the chagrin of the military. But these are not the reasons this issue was scarfed up – its because of the sexy, new armor!