I recently read the 2007 Iron Man mini-series Hypervelocity in collected trade edition and was surprised by how great it actually is. I have to admit that I was turned off by the manga-influenced artwork when I flipped through the trade (numerous times) but after reading a few positive reviews I decided to take the risk. Boy was I glad that I did!
Iron Man: Hypervelocity by Adam Warren (Empowered) and Brian Denham is a very unusual story. Tony Stark, ever the futurist inventor, has developed a new suit of Iron Man armor complete with a fail safe AI program to take over should he lose consciousness in battle. As it happens, a terrorist organization breaks into his lab as he is working on the new armor, requiring the backup AI program to take over. Developed on Tony’s own persona, the AI’s massive ego believes that it actually is Tony Stark 2.0, an improvement on the original. With Tony himself out of the game from the attack, no one is available to intelligently take care of the rogue suit of armor, so S.H.I.E.L.D. sends in a tactical squad to handle the problem.
Adam Warren has delivered a sophisticated and smart Iron Man story for the 21st Century in much the manner that Warren Ellis thought he was doing with the over rated Extremis storyline. The artwork by Brian Denham is very dynamic and fluid, fitting the writing to a T. The Hypervelocity armor goes down in the annals of designs along with the Silver Centurian as one of the best. Too bad this is the first and last appearance of the armor, but you have to appreciate what you get. I dearly hope this is not the last time the two will collaborate on a project, company-owned property or otherwise.
Much like the title, the story is very fast and to be fair it does take some strange turns in logic that make it hard to follow but in the end what is created is a modern Iron Man graphic novel. It’s a real shame that this story was released in 6 parts (to tie in with the Iron Man movie mania) as it reads far better in one sitting than spread out over half a year. I really wish that it had been slimmed down and released as a proper graphic novel (does Marvel do this anymore?) as it would have benefited the material greatly.