Whoever Marvel hired as their marketing director knows what they are doing. Over the past few years, we have seen the effects of one of the most gutsy business moves of all time, and those effects have been record-breaking. I remember years ago hearing that DC was talking of doing a Justice League movie, but I never heard any concrete details. I attributed this to the fact that superhero movies rarely turn out like they should and that DC was probably way too nervous to risk that much money. Finally, however, Marvel grew a pair, decided the people over at DC were wimps, and began the biggest gamble in PR history by releasing Iron Man. The final result: one of the highest grossing films of all time, The Avengers.
I mean, these people are on top of it! They have created the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has produced six cross-over films so far (7 if you include the upcoming Iron Man 3), but they haven’t stopped there. Whether it’s new hit cartoons like Ultimate Spider-Man, hilarious Marvel One-Shots, or Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Official Tie-In comic books, it seems like every decision Marvel makes these days is to, in some way, connect more into their cinematic universe. Hence, the release of the official two part Iron Man 3 Prelude comic book series.
Ok, I’ve been a huge fan of Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so when I saw the covers of the Iron Man 3 Preludes I was immediately hooked. I have been anxiously awaiting the new Iron Man film and drooling over any kind of new story information that I could get a hold of. Well, this prelude series definitely delivers. Not only does it answer questions that have been lurking around since the release of The Avengers (like where the hell was War Machine during the attack on New York?), it perfectly sets up Iron Man 3 as well.
The events of this two-part series span from the time right after Iron Man 2 all the way to the aftermath of The Avengers. Tony’s first action after his tag-team match with War Machine against the Hammer Drones and Whiplash is to immediately rid War Machine of any Hammer tech and provide Colonel James Rhodes with a newly designed suit of armor. Of course, there is always a catch. Stark needs Rhodes to take over as Iron Man for a bit while he focuses his attention on finishing Stark Tower by a certain deadline.
Rhodes, donning his new War Machine suit, begins his roughly ten month stint of filling in Iron Man’s boots by chasing down a series of attacks involving the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings, if you don’t remember, is the massive terrorist organization that originally saw to Tony Stark’s kidnapping in the first Iron Man film. With each attack that War Machine settles, the weaponry he faces becomes more and more advanced. Eventually, he is led into a trap set by the Ten Rings in order to scan his suit for data to be used against Iron Man.
What’s great about this scene is that as War Machine fights his way through the ambush, he constantly attempts to call for help, to which the response is repeatedly, “There’s a situation in New York.” Well, way to go Marvel, you’ve managed to quiet our curiosity as to War Machine’s location during The Avengers. There are actually panels of the fighting going on in New York, which I thought was pretty cool. Unfortunately, Rhodes shows up just a little too late to the battle with the Chitauri, but just in time for a perfect tongue-in-cheek shawarma moment!
Now, if you’ve seen the latest trailer for Iron Man 3, then you are fully aware of and probably overwhelmingly excited about the introduction of the Iron Legion, not to mention the Hulkbuster! The Iron Man 3 Prelude, however, gives readers the very first glance at the Legion under what Tony refers to as “Project Wine Cellar”. The Iron Legion is described as Tony’s response to the events of both The Avengers and the Prelude. He states that these events have shown him that he needs to be prepared for a wide range of situations and environments. A legion of Iron Men sounds like a good plan to me since it looks like the Mandarin (whom we get a brief, shadowy glance of) doesn’t seem like he’s going to be pulling any punches.
Overall, the Iron Man 3 Prelude was a pretty fun read that, once again, shows Marvel’s ability to expertly deliver tie-ins. The writing and illustrations are both on par for what you would expect from Marvel, and certainly manage to capture the overall tone of the MCU. So, if you’re anxiously anticipating the May 3rd Iron Man 3 release and you’re itching for any kind of additional story info, I definitely recommend this series to you!
Are you looking forward to Iron Man 3 as much as I am? Have you happened to read the Prelude series too? Feel free to share your thoughts, joys, excitement, or even frustrations in the comments below!