I’d been feeling kinda guilty for only reading DC books lately, so I jumped at the chance to delve further into a Marvel character I’d read next to nothing about, Iron Man. My knowledge base for the red and gold man of metal is primarily provided by the films. I’ve read a few Avengers comics before, and while he is a member of the team, you don’t really get a sense of his character. Mostly he just flies around and blasts stuff. My other reason for wanting to read this particular story is that I’ve heard it rumoured that the 3rd Iron Man film might be inspired by Extremis. I guess I should say that, if these rumours are true at all, then this little blog will probably be a little spoiler-y for the future film. You have been warned!
*** Plot Spoilers ***
Written by Warren Ellis with art by Adi Granov, Extremis tells the story of a new bio-electronic virus that basically rewrites the DNA of the person who takes it, causing their body to rebuild itself however the Extremis virus was programmed. This basically can give them any super powers wanted. That’s if they can survive the process of their own body basically gutting itself. To make a long story short, a terrorist named Mallon gets his hands on it, survives the process, and goes on a killing spree. Iron Man does his best to stop him, but Mallon far out classes him in almost every way. Tony Stark is left seriously wounded with few options left after that. You know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. Tony takes the Extremis virus, after a few tweaks of his own of course.
*** End of Spoilers ***
While the end results of this story mean massive changes for Tony Stark and his alter ego Iron Man, the overall story was pretty bland. There are basically only two action scenes with Iron Man, and walls and walls of dialog going on about morals and fake science. This probably wouldn’t have bothered me that much if any of it were very significant, but most of what is said could probably have been summed up in a few lines, instead of the pages and pages it takes up. Also, while Adi Granov’s art is great for those statuesque covers, I found it dull and cold feeling within the panels of the comic. He’s great at making Iron Man look solid and powerful, but his art just didn’t lend itself well to the human characters. It definitely falls into that “Uncanny Valley” problem a few times. It also lacks a sort of dynamic nature, making every scene feel still, and stilted when it came to what should have been fast, flowing, and action-packed fight scenes. My final complaint is that while his people are very detailed, his backgrounds leave much to be desired, often completely empty, with nothing around his stone-like people.
I can appreciate the important impact this story has on the Iron Man character and his abilities, which are undeniably cool, but this is a hard book to recommend as a purchase. I was left feeling like not much had happened overall, and that this was clearly just a long-winded, kinda boring story simply to alter the character for the future. I still have some interest in the Iron Man character, but I’m hoping future stories have more of that funny, pompous, and arrogant Tony Stark I like so much in the movies, which was completely absent from this book. Basically, I’d only say pick this title up if you’re super curious about what might be in the next Iron Man film, or if you want to know more about his abilities. Then again, you could just read Wikipedia.