Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Iron Man-Virus

As I stated in my first What's Up With Sam? post, I have been reading a book involving Iron Man. I finished it and have it ready to go back to the library. Before it can go back and reach the hands of its next reader, it must have its debut here.  Here comes the latest review.

********************EXTRA*****************************
Speaking of Iron Man, people surprise me. I had never heard of this before....until I was going through my usual morning chores with the local country station playing. Apparently there's something known as an Iron Man shot. I would not recommend this at all. It consists of  3 parts:
1) Snort a line of salt
2) Drink a shot of tequila
3) Squeeze a lime in your eye
Now I don't know about you all, but none of that seems the least bit appealing to me. This is what I would call stupidity at its finest. The lack of intelligence shown by this staggers me, much like Malcolm is staggered by the lack of humility amongst Jurassic Park characters. Except this is real life and not a scene in a movie. I must say, who came up with this and why? I don't think Tony Stark would do this and he is THE Iron Man....just saying. No idea why anyone would want to snort salt or have lime juice in their eye.....
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 Iron Man: Virus
Author: Alex Irvine
Rating: 4/5


I picked this book up at the library on my main summer reading book gathering visit. I have read lots of things about superheroes: graphic novels, novels with Batman, Spider-Man comics circa 1990s...but never have I read one starring Iron Man. I had never seen any of the 3 movies with Robert Downey, Jr. until this past summer. I watched the first during our drive out of town for vacation and I started the second...which I have yet to finish. I'm rather behind on my movie watching. That said, I never got really into Iron Man before now. I knew nothing about him except that he was a guy in a crazy looking, super technological suit. Oh yeah, and he shoots out some beam things from his hands and his chest glows. I saw him maybe once in an Avengers GN and then in The Avengers movie (which I saw at the university I attend). He's not a generally super nice guy in The Avengers either. He's rather smug and arrogant. But upon further review, it works. That is Tony Stark as we know and love him. Here is what we know about Tony Stark:


1) Tony Stark is rich  
2) Tony Stark isn't a people person         
3) Tony Stark is one of the most ingenius people in the field of technology    
4) Tony Stark looks out for number one at all times          
5) Tony Stark owns the leading company for warfare tech, Stark Enterprises
6) A life changing experience opens new perspective on the world and Stark becomes Iron Man, while still keeping most of his general traits

That about sums him up. He doesn't have a great relationship with Nick Fury (second commander/exectutive director of S.H.I.E.L.D. [under 12 people who serve on a council and give Fury his orders]) on the surface. He likes to get really into his work and can stay for hours in his lab.

S.H.I.E.L.D, for those who don't know, has stood for 3 things:
1) Original- Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division
2) At present- Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate
3) In various films- Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division

Iron Man: Virus
Basically, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a U.S. government agency that protects people and that many superheroes have joined and worked with. Against S.H.I.E.L.D is HYDRA. HYDRA is a terrorist organization who has been known to have support from empires in Japan as well as Nazis. HYDRA doesn't stand for anything, it alludes to the mythological beast, which grows 2 heads for every 1 that is cut off. This is the organization's way of saying that their numbers will continue to grow along with their power, regardless of how many "heads" are cut off. These guys just keep coming back year after year.


In this book, we've got Tony Stark on the border of a new technology. Instant control. Tony can get a flood of information from all around the world and know basically everything that's going on anywhere. This is aided by satellites and he knows of a way to program it so only certain types of information are delivered to his latest suit. He had problems with how his original suit was cooperating with his body so he set on making a new one. Improved with new technology of course. We've also got Arnim Zola, who has taken control of HYDRA and is rather smart when it comes to developing technology. He isn't too far behind Tony, but his motives are very different. The main weapons he uses in this book are clones. He's managed to clone himself into at least 2 different forms, slightly altered so they aren't exactly like him and can serve their purposes. The 2 that are most prominent are Maheu and Lantier. They are not exact copies of Zola, but have basic elements of him in thought. Lantier, however, has a thing with trains and speaks in train-y jargon. Maheu serves as Zola's advisor and is less intelligent due to his lack of an ESP box with the same capabilities of Zola's ESP box, which he very much wants, but Zola refuses to give him.

Zola has ways to transfer himself into other bodies and continue living. This process is not the same as the one used by Agent Smith in the Matrix. Zola has many bodies stacked up for future use. He has an army of clones that have been created from the DNA of someone close to Tony. This adds some intensity and plays a great role in helping move the story's plot forward. What's the main goal? To get Tony to go to the dark side. Zola wants to find a way to get Tony as part of HYDRA because he thinks that with Tony on his side, they'd be completely unstoppable.

This book was really entertaining. At first I wasn't sure what to expect. I have ideas of what could happen with other superhero characters, because I'm so familiar with them. However, jumping into this book was just like moving into undiscovered territory, never knowing what is going to happen.

There was lots of action, plenty of unexpected twists, and memorable characters. I would definitely read another Iron Man book if I found one and I'll be sure to read any Iron Man GNs I find. Marvel has outdone themselves with these characters and I commend their performance. I like that they reuse things across their superhero universe. I recall HYDRA from my experience with Captain America and it was nice to see them rise as a threat to others as well.

Tony Stark is hate-able and lovable at the same time. We understand why he does what he does, even if we or the characters don't like it very much. Its easy to see his thought process and the reasoning behind his actions. There are explosions, which no good superhero installment would be without. The action scenes are gripping. All the characters are well-written and the schemes planned are definitely so despicable that they deserve ruining.

Another interesting thing about this book is that every chapter has some sort of intro passage to it. This could be a quick summary of something that Stark Industries is developing or an inspirational piece by Arnim Zola directed at his new members of HYDRA. The Stark Industries can sometimes get a little repetitive in the security area that left me wondering if I'd already read a particular one before several times over. The HYDRA ones are pretty interesting, as it shows the best form of brainwash, instilling pride and a feeling of being superior to everything and anyone else. Those really add to the story. At first I liked them because I used it as an indicator of which side I'd be reading about in the chapter to follow immediately after (the story is told from two sides: 1) Tony and his friends 2) Arnim Zola and his schemes). However, this method soon failed because it flipped and then I had no clue what was coming up next. At first that was a bit discouraging and confusing, but in the end it worked out ok I guess. Not a dealbreaker by any means.

Overall, this book is really good. Its entertaining and takes you to levels you thought only existed in the Matrix or some other crazy sci-fi movie involving clones and technology. The climactic confrontation In Here is pretty neat, since you can see how Tony has developed throughout the book by how his thought process is working. I really liked seeing the reactions of all the characters in different scenarios. It was way cool to see how everything unfolds based on the reactions to each event. I would definitely recommend this book to any Iron Man fans or those who are fond of superheroes. Its not very long, a decent morsel. Took me maybe 1-2 and a half days to read.

Thanks for reading my review, I hope to have another out for you all soon! 

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