Iron Man: Armor Wars II

iron man armor wars ii cover trade paperback tpb
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10

Decent art, some good story aspects

Feels like an incomplete story since it was not written for trade collection like modern comics

Comic Info

Comic Name: Iron Man (Volume 1)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: John Byrne

Artist: John Romita Jr.

# of Issues: 9

Release Date: 2010

iron man #258 cover

Iron Man (1) #258

Reprints Iron Man (1) #258-266 (July 1990-March 1991).  Someone has tapped into Tony Stark.  He’s being monitored, controlled, and he doesn’t even know it.  When Tony collapses during a battle with his enemy Living Laser, Tony realizes something is wrong with him…and he doesn’t know if he can continue to be Iron Man if he doesn’t find out what is wrong.  Meanwhile as Tony seeks answers to his medical condition, one of Iron Man’s oldest villains is rising in China…the Mandarin has a new lease on life and could bring the world to its knees.

Written by John Byrne, Iron Man:  Armor Wars II is a Marvel Comics superhero comic book collection.  Featuring art by John Romita Jr., issues in the collection were also collected as part of Iron Man Epic Collection—Volume 17:  War Games.  In 2013, a four issue series numbered Iron Man (1) #258.1-258.4 was released by David Michelinie called Iron Man:  Armored Vengeance.

Iron Man has never been one of my favorite Marvel heroes.  I actually liked the movie a lot more than the comic in that sense.  Armor Wars was a big run in the original Iron Man series and the follow-up Armor Wars II kicked off the 1990s…and feels like it falls somewhere between a 1990s comic and a 1980s style comic.

The first aspect of the story is that Armor Wars II is kind of in title only.  The series doesn’t really have a tie to the original Armor Wars storyline, but simply has Tony fighting corruption from within…in this case literally.  The Marrs Corporation (which plagued Namor at this time) is behind the initially takeover but it falls largely on a man named Kearson DeWitt who is running the project.  DeWitt’s motives and actions aren’t really explained in the volume (Stark doesn’t recognize him) and he is supposed to be a mysterious figure…but it feels rather incomplete as “rounded story” in that sense.

iron man #265 cover armor wars ii

Iron Man (1) #265

What also is incomplete in the story is the story of the Mandarin which takes up a large portion of the collection.  The Mandarin is restored to his former greatness (with the help of fan favorite Fin Fang Foom) and another mysterious player Chen Hsu who likewise isn’t explained.  The Mandarin storyline runs parallel to Tony’s storyline but is set-up for the following issues.  While this isn’t uncommon at the time, it feels a bit odd in today’s collections which revolve around rather ridged “collectible” storylines which fit nicely in trade paperback collections.

Iron Man:  Armor Wars II has a few good moments, an appearance by some West Coast Avengers allies, and the Mandarin storyline isn’t bad, but overall, it feels a bit like a non-story.  The plot and development of the run leads to the expected “big battle” between Iron Man and DeWitt, but it doesn’t have the gravitas of the previous Armor Wars story.  Fortunately, it is buoyed by nice art by John Romita Jr. and decent scripting by Byrne…I just hoped for more in general.

Related Links:

Iron Man:  Armor Wars Prologue

Iron Man:  Armor Wars

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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