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Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1

Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
By: Matthew J. Brady

Jon Favreau
Adi Granov
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, May 7.

So Jon Favreau gets to write an Iron Man comic just because he directed the movie. I suppose that's fair enough, and it's not like he's never written anything before (heck, throw some explosions into Swingers, and that's kind of an Iron Man movie right there). But is he any good at writing superhero comics? Well, judging by this first issue of this new miniseries, he's not perfect, but there are some interesting ideas here, and maybe a decent story will play out over the next few issues. We'll have to see.

Favreau manages to set up an interesting possible conflict, and he also throws in a bit of action, ensuring that readers don't get bored. Tony Stark foils a hijacking that happens to take place on one of his airline's planes, but since France is the destination, the other passengers take issue with his use of violence. Oh, those cowardly Frogs; how we Americans hate them! Ha ha! The verbal abuse he receives (or maybe just a possible desire to party) leads Tony to vacation in Las Vegas, where he can pick up sexy tattooed girls and be on location for some sort of lizard uprising somehow caused by a massive glowing-eyed Chinese dragon statue which was imported (by Nextwave's Elsa Bloodstone, of all people) and placed to decorate a new casino that is opening. So will Iron Man end up fighting a giant dragon, possibly related to one Fin Fang Foom? Only time will tell, as we wait for the next three issues.

And hopefully those issues won't be too long in coming, since the series is being illustrated by Adi Granov, who earned a bit of a reputation for lateness when he took many months to finish the first six-issue storyline on the current ongoing Iron Man title. He has an interesting, computery slickness to his art (although it seems to have softened a bit since that Warren Ellis-penned story), which works pretty well when conveying dynamic action, but not so much with personal interaction. The quieter conversations, like Tony's pre-hijacking conversation with a fellow passenger, aren't too bad, but when larger emotions are called for, like in the actual hijacking, the art starts to look stiff and awkward, as if the characters are posing for pro wrestling promo shoots and making a yelling face to demonstrate their fierceness. But man, the action is pretty cool (although strangely bloodless, considering what happens); Granov can depict a mean Shellhead in flight. And that dragon statue is a great design; if it doesn't come to life and rampage through Vegas in later issues, Favreau and Granov shouldn't be allowed to make comics anymore, because that will be a huge missed opportunity.

So while it's a somewhat slow start, with Favreau still getting his legs in the writing of superhero comics and Granov making time until he can draw more action, it's hopefully leading to a good payoff. Once we get to that armor-on-dragon action, it should all be worthwhile.






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