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‘Superior Iron Man’ #5: a strange mutation

‘Superior Iron Man’ #5: a strange mutation

CoverSuperior Iron Man #5
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Laura Braga
Colors by Guru-eFX
Published by Marvel Comics

Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but it seems February has become a month where Marvel releases issues to ongoing series set in between arcs which fall a bit short of expectations with a fill in artist impersonating the person they’re filling in for. It’s certainly the case with Superior Iron Man with the conclusion to the Daredevil vs. Tony Stark battle that has made up the series thus far. Yildiray Cinar signs off this issue and in his place is Laura Braga. What makes this issue stand out from the pack is how laid back it is. It’s a mostly using Superior Iron Man as a frame to tell the origin of supporting character, Teen Abomination.

Teen Abomination, also known as Jamie Carlson, is an interesting character in conceptional terms. He was originally created as a joke character for Tony Stark to fight in issue one but turned into a favorite amongst the creative team. While Teen Abomination is not the most captivating character, at least not yet, he is somewhat unique in terms of super powered teenagers. Plenty of adolescent supervillains are often villain due to a rebellion against authority or some other form of aggressive angst, but that’s not Teen Abomination. Jaime is a rare breed in the terms that much of his angst derives from apparent fear and sadness. He’s a thirteen-year-old who can destroy a city block with the back of his hand and that scares him. While he’s not strong enough to carry an issue on his own, Teen Abomination is evolving in a nice manner, growing from just a simple gag into a fully developed character in his own right. On the negative side, a lot of time is spent on him in this issue and it makes some of the weaker parts of his characterization stand out. A big contributing factor for why he is the way he is comes from being bullied by his schoolmates and issues with his mother. Both are barely explored and come off a bit hollow. The issue as a whole feels empty though it is saved by some of Tony Stark’s mean-spirited remarks and snark.

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Similar to Elmo Bondoc’s filling in to Ms. Marvel #12, Laura Braga does an adequate job making up for the book’s missing regular artist. She captures the flashy iPod look to Stark Tower and Teen Abomination’s callused skin. She gets to extend her range outside of Cinar’s territory with this book by showing Iron Man’s life before AXIS. Braga does some more tactile and psychedelic panels that are outside of Cinar’s typical range. It’s also nice to see scenes set outside of San Francisco as it shows a change up in the color palette. There’s a good use of bright and vibrant colors to show Iron Man before he became the face of the Marvel to the movie-going public.

This month’s issue of Superior Iron Man is a bit of a tough sell. It’s not as politically charged or action packed as previous issues have been. Most of the issues is simply Tony Stark and Teen Abomination talking in Stark Tower. While everything with Jamie could be something skippable, some information with Iron Man hints at Tom Taylor’s bigger plans of the series. Teen Abomination is a character who could come into bloom but it’s yet to be seen. This is by far the weakest issue of Superior Iron Man, but Taylor’s earned enough trust to warrant reading the next issue.