Short Version: This is how First Wave should have been.
MARVEL NOIR: IRON MAN
I'm not sure if Marvel had the same idea of starting a new pulp/noir side universe as DC did with "First Wave" with "Marvel Noir" or not, but it doesn't look like any actual series came out of it. Instead it looks to be a set of minis, with a couple of them getting sequels. The most notable of which was (of course, like with their 2099 efforts) Spiderman noir.
As far as the MN version of Iron Man goes. . .for starters, while the other MN minis I have (X-men, Spider man, Daredevil) are actually Noir, Iron Man is more along the lines of high adventure Pulp fiction. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just seems to be the odd bird of the bunch.
The story involves Tony Stark Starking it up in the late 1930's as a sort of genius Indiana Jones. Searching for lost treasures and running afoul of Nazis. Good stuff. Fast reading, Fun. Tony Stark is pretty much the same as ever, but the setting, writing, and great art almost seem to make him a new character.
I think that's what Marvel was aiming for. . .an "Elseworlds" kind of feel where familiar characters are taken out of their settings and made new instead of the First Wave concept of just mashing together familiar characters in a new shared universe. Once again I have to say I prefer the "Elseworlds" approach of Marvel.
All in all, a strong start to this series. Nicely done.
Stark and company head out on to the high seas (and under them) in search of the lost city of Atlantis and a legendary metal supposed to have been its power source. But once again shad
es of Indiana Jones as it's revealed that the Nazis were using Stark to do the dirty work for them. Not quite as strong as the first issue, and as pointed out, the parallels to Indiana Jones are pretty obvious. That said, it was still an extremely fun issue.
I especially liked the Marvel Noir version of Namor. . .a crusty sea captain with secrets of his own. The art gets dodgy during some of the underwater scenes in Atlantis, but other than that, this mini is still pretty strong.
Now THAT'S a sweet cover! I gave this issue an extra star for the cover alone.
As for the issue itself. . .it's mostly fighting as Tony Stark and James Rhodes finally suit up in the Noir/Pulp/Steampunk version of the famous Iron Man armor and proceed to kick Nazi butt in an effort to rescue the captured Pepper Potts and take back the mystic metal trident taken from them.
I really liked the revelation of the Nautilus-like submarine being hidden by a scroungy fishing ship and making Captain Namor the Noir version of Captain Nemo! I would have liked to see a Nemo Noir mini to expand on this.
But like I said, the Captain Namor moments were overshadowed by Nazi buttkicking. It ends on a cliffhanger (as all good pulp should) when Tony gets a Luke Skywalker "I am your father." moment as Doctor Zemo pulls off his mask and reveals himself as Tony's (assumed) dead father, Howard Stark. . .A FILTHY NAZI!
All in all, good pulpy fun.
Now THIS is how First Wave should have been instead of trying to stuff Batman and The Spirit into the jungle for no reason.
Sorry to keep comparing First Wave and Marvel Noir, but they really do bear comparing as basically the same idea done in two different ways. Marvel stayed focused on the essence of the character, then made changes. DC tried to make the characters fit into the situation instead of focusing on the characters themselves. Marvel Noir is the superior product of the two. . .as much as I hate to say it, because I'm a huge fan of Batman and The Spirit and not so much Iron Man, Spider Man, and the X-Men.
This mini was a prime example of how to do an "Elseworlds" story right. At the end of it, I wanted more. I wanted to know more about Captain Namor. At the end, Tony gets a call from Nick Fury about "some lunatic carrying on in Latveria" I wanted to see THAT story! At the end of the First Wave mini, I was like "Thank God it's over." At the end of this one, I wanted to pick up the next issue. Very well done.
I would definitely suggest this mini to anyone wanting an Elseworlds take on familiar Marvel characters.
And there it is. Marvel Noir: Iron Man. The mini-series that made me say "Why, DC? WHYYYYYYY?" all over again.
Up next. . .I have no memory of buying this little 3 issue mini. I have no memory of reading it. I have no idea what the hell it's about beyond the cover telling me it's a war comic, it's British, and probably funny . . .Adventures in the Rifle Brigade: Operation Bollock!
Be there or be square!
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Issue # 83