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Iron Man: Hypervelocity

Written by Adam Warren, Art by Brian Denham
Marvel Comics, 152pp
Rating: T+ (13 +)

Iron Man: Hypervelocity tells the tale of one very bad night in the life of the titular character. It starts out well enough with him putting the finishing touches on a new suit of armor and preparing to take it out for a test ride but it’s all down hill from there. From Adam Warren comes a tale that sees Iron Man pursued by a host of foes ranging from a sentient computer program, mysterious mechs, and the elite “cape killing” unit of SHIELD, while attempting to unravel the mystery behind the attack that put Tony Stark in a coma.

The book is a stand alone story and it functions as one beautifully. Even if you don’t happen to know anything about Iron Man despite the two recent block buster movies, Adam Warren does a good job at introducing Iron Man, Tony Stark and SHIELD, giving us just about everything you need to understand and enjoy the story in short order. The book is rife with ideas of cutting and bleeding edge technology and innovations, which works perfectly with Iron Man and in turn with Adam Warren’s own penchant for hi-tech gizmos, gadgetry and scientific theory. The result is a story that feels less like your average capes and tights fare and more like a smart sci-fi action flick on paper. On top of all this, Warren manages to expand upon an aspect of the Marvel Universe that’s mentioned every once in a blue moon, but seems to be almost ignored most of the time. Namely the subculture of technologically enhanced beings, ranging from cyborgs, artificial intelligences, upload consciousness’ and more. In this one miniseries he paints it as a vibrant and thriving subculture with various factions, social conventions, trends and more. It’s really fascinating and something that’s interested me since I saw Dwayne McDuffie play with the idea in Deathlok way back when and I’d love to see more done with it.

The artwork follows a similar tact to that of Livewires, with Warren doing the layouts and Denham taking it from there. Unlike Mays though, Denham’s style is very different from Warren. Denham’s artwork is far from the stereotypical “manga” style of Warren and a lot closer to the more “realistic” artwork of many western comics. There’s a nice high contrast look the artwork, with lots of thick, heavy shadows contrasted by the bright LEDs, explosions and gleam of armor, machines and more. The action scenes are very well done and creative, featuring a wide variety of weapons, ranging from a muffler pipe to devices extrapolated from the experimental weaponry of today.

I’m not a huge Iron Man fan, but I absolutely adored this series. It’s so good, that if Adam Warren and Denham were given a monthly Iron Man book and allowed to do their thing, I would buy it without question. It’s exciting, beautiful to look at and is just plain fun. And it’s probably my favorite of Adam Warren’s Marvel work to date.

Iron Man: Hypervelocity is available now.

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