Current Reviews


Crimson Dynamo #4

Posted: Sunday, December 7, 2003
By: Bob Moser

Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Joe Corroney (p), Mental Studios (i), Thomas Mason (c)

Publisher: Marvel EPIC

The prototype Crimson Dynamo armor continues its stomp down the Volga River toward Moscow, while the possessor of the armorís helmet, technical school student Gennady Gavrilov, looks for a manual in the offices of the armorís inventor and narrowly avoids criminal weapons dealers looking for the same information.

Let me start by saying that I am a big Iron Man fan, especially the old cold war stories where he battled commie foes every other month. One of Iron Manís greatest but short lived foes during the 1960s was the Crimson Dynamo, and although Dr. Anton Vanko, the inventor and original wearer of the Dynamo armor defected to the United States where he would later die, his legacy lived on to be worn by various communist soldiers and red sympathizers. Now that the Soviet Union is no more and Dr. Vanko is a faded memory, his greatest invention has resurfaced and is inadvertently under the control of a Russian technical school student.

I like the idea that writer John Jackson Miller has made a character which had become for all intents and purposes nothing more than a machine which would show up every so many years to menace Iron Man into an interesting character through its unwitting controller. Although Gennady Gavrilov is a young man in a country of which many American readers could never conceive, he comes across as accessible because of his youth and exuberance.

One aspect that I also enjoy about Millerís writing both in Crimson Dynamo and Invincible Iron Man is his attention to technical logic. When he describes technology it sounds plausible and intelligent. Although I do have a grumble about the use of so many Russian words, it is to be expected because the story does take place in Russia, duh. A saving grace on this reliance upon Russian is the authorís response to his writing within this issue which caused me a moment of humor. My guess is that Miller would agree with my frustrations about a language so dependent upon consonants.

Although this series had a different artist 1.5 issues ago, penciler Joe Corroney transitions well from the previous artist without losing too much of his predecessorís style, although Steve Ellis more cartoonish pencils did capture the somewhat slapstick tone of the seriesí writing. My only complaint is that the art is a tad uneven at times, but I can see promise of improvement.

As always I have to say something about the unsung heroes of comicsí creation: the inker and colorist. The credits state ďDigital Inks and Dynamic Color.Ē Iím not sure how digital inks work, or what dynamic color is for that matter, but my opinion is that they look just like inks and color. Not exceptional or even dynamic for that matter, but neither sloppy nor crude. Much like the pencils there is some room for improvement.

Final Word:
If you enjoy titles like Invincible Iron Man or stories about technology-based heroes that sound plausible within the realm of suspended disbelief then check out Crimson Dynamo. With the demise of the EPIC line of Marvel Comics, I expect this title to be the sole survivor to cross over into the mainstream Marvel Universe.

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