All Against Ironman

Iron Man Volume 5: Rings of the Mandarin (Marvel Now) - Kieron Gillen, Luke Ross


Well, I wanted something quick to read so I could write a review while I was sitting in my hotel in Amiens (though I probably should be sleeping, but then again I am one of those people who tries to squeeze as much into my day as possible) and was not expecting to visit the Jules Verne House until Wednesday. Well, as they say – the best laid plans of mice and men – I ended up visiting the Jules Verne House, and has also finished Around the World in 80 Days, but that is another story because I also finished the Iron Man comic and this is what I am writing the review on.



Anyway, as I tend to do, I wanted to check out a comic book store in Melbourne, since I actually hadn't done that yet, and in doing so decided to grab an Iron Man comic, namely because I had been rewatching all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. In particular I wanted one with the Mandarin, simply because Iron Man III, at least in my opinion, was nothing more than awesome. Well, it seems that the Mandarin is, as was the case in the movie, a shadowy figure that doesn't actually have an identity. Also, as it turns out, he happens to be the leader of the Ten Rings, which are the bad guys in the first movie – to an extent. In this comic I discovered that the ten rings are actually ten physical rings that give the wearer a specific power, and are designed to turn them against Iron Man because, well, he's Iron Man and he is a good guy, as well as a superhero, and tends to get in the way of people's nefarious plans.


Mind you, Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, is also a capitalist, so being a good guy, and a capitalist, doesn't really sit all that well together because capitalism is generally based on greed, and screwing over everybody around you so that you can become as rich and powerful as possible – which is not necessarily my definition of a good guy. Okay, in the films Tony Stark does take control of his company from the board and attempts to take it away from building weapons for the US Military that inevitably land up in the hands of the bad guys and focusing on more ethical projects, but that is beside the point. When you have pharmaceutical companies buying the rights to life saving drugs and jacking up the price because the only people that matter are the shareholders, then you have a problem – not really the actions of people that I would consider good guys.




The thing with this particular book is that the Mandarin is hunting down people that it might be able to turn against Iron Man and decides to approach everybody's favourite Dark Elf king – Malekith. Bad idea – when he discovers the rings he decides to go and grab them all for himself, so he hunts down the other bearers, kills them, and takes the rings. This is not really what the Mandarin expected. Okay, since Malekith is involved you would think that Thor would come rushing to the rescue, and apparently in one spot he does, but it turns out to be an illusion – all the other ring bearers have joined forces and decided to put an end to Malekith's mischief.


This once again brings up the idea of magic and technology. In previous posts (of which I can't remember, namely because I'm not that organised) I have suggested that magic and technology are simply two sides of the same coin. Well, Malekith suggests that as well, though there are differences, but they happen to be slight. One thing I like is that the rings, when viewed by Iron Man, tend to reflect the mindset of a technologist, while Malekith tends to reflect the mind of the sorcerer, even though both are basically as powerful, and as intelligent, as each other. I don't think one would go as far as calling Thor a primitive simply because he refers to an Einstein-Rozencrantz bridge (wormhole) as the Rainbow bridge, particularly since the Asgardians actually built it (though it is called The Bifrost).




Anyway, I enjoyed the story, and am half tempted to get hold of some of the earlier volumes (namely because the advertising at the back grabbed my attention) however that is unlikely to happen because I generally do frequent comic book stores all that much, and if I do it is only to add a geeky review to Yelp.


25 August 2016 - Amiens