Marvel Adventures: Iron Man, Vol. 2: Iron Armory
by Fred Van Lente, Rafa Sandoval (Marvel Comics, 2008)

Marvel Adventures: Iron Man, Vol. 3: Hero By Design
by Fred Van Lente, Graham Nolan (Marvel Comics, 2008)

Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man, Hulk & Iron Man, Vol. 1: Triple Threat
by Paul Tobin, Alvin Lee (Marvel Comics, 2009)

Having reviewed volume 1 of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man a few weeks ago and found it worthy of fans' attention, I decided to hunt down a few more of Marvel's digests, as much for the reading enjoyment of my children and myself as for review purposes.

Volumes 2 and 3 of the series were, if anything, even better than the initial volume. As before, characterization does not take a back seat to superhero action. One of the departures this series takes from the classic Iron Man canon is to make a hero out of a classic villain in volume 2. My only question is why writer Fred Van Lente decided to make him a villain again in volume 3.

Both volumes also provide something most Iron Man fans want: various suits of armor that are visually distinctive and possess interesting features. Volume 2 boasts one of the most entertaining tales, as Stark dons a recreation of the fan-favorite stealth armor (referred to here as "ghost" armor).

The art in both Iron Man volumes is more than competent, providing exciting, action-oriented visuals.

Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man, Hulk & Iron Man, while not anything fans haven't seen before, is a fine source of entertainment for kids, or adults who want superhero tales that are clean-cut and straightforward, albeit a bit goofy here and there; i.e., fighting "Meteor Men" who talk like surfers, and encouraging long-time villain Klaw in his new career as a (cough) country-and-western singer.

Since the association is never explained, readers are left to assume that, in this case, the three heroes are a known team, a la the Defenders, the Avengers, etc. Kudos to writer Paul Tobin and artist Alvin Lee for the fun-to-read, all-ages-appropriate fare.

review by
Mark Allen

27 March 2010

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