Title: Iron Man: Extremis
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Adi Granov (entirely computer-generated artwork)
Collects: Iron Man #1-6
For those who may not be aware, this is the book that heavily influenced the Iron Man movie. This book re-vamped the Iron Man character, giving Tony Stark a new origin, new super-powers, and a new-and-improved look to the Iron Man armor. The art is absolutely beautiful and the story is pretty good, too. I guess Marvel wanted to update the character so Tony would not have to be getting too old in comic book history. Now, instead of receiving his injuries and creating the suit in a Vietnam War-era incident, the story tells of him getting injured in a more recent, Middle-East incident. The iron Man armor you see in this book is near-identical to the suit you see in the movie.
While I don't really approve of ANY ret-conning of comic book characters or history, that doesn't mean I didn't like this story. Fans of Warren Ellis will already know of his affinity for science-laden tales. He is a science fiction and science fact aficionado, and as he tells this story, he attempts to provide as much hard science basis for Tony Stark's amazing suit of modern-day armor. The new nemesis of the story is a guy who willingly subjects himself to a transforming nanotech virus (the Extremis Virus) that changes him into a super-strong, invulnerable, fire-breathing madman. After he nearly kills Tony in their first encounter, Tony decides that the best way to combat the guy is not to design a new upgrade to the armor but to upgrade himself. He persuades the designer of the Extremis virus (another genius, beautiful, egghead gal he knew in college) to allow him to tinker with it and inject himself with it. Though this goes against her better judgment, she allows it. After the transformation, Tony now has his own built-in superpowers. Rather than re-configuring his body as a weapon, the modified virus re-configures Tony's body to perfectly interact with the Iron Man armor. Tony now internalizes the metal pieces that make up the thin under suit he wear beneath the armor. He can directly communicate with the armor (and any broadcasting device) at the speed of thought. There are a few other changes, too, but you get the idea. It's a whole new Iron Man commin' at ya!
Lots of big, lasting changes for the character are presented in this book, so for fans of the old shell head, this book is a must-read. For fans of Warren Ellis' other works, this book is also probably a must-read. Really, most any Marvel fans will enjoy the book, and most any comic fan anywhere will appreciate the stellar artwork. Purists may despise the ret-con and refuse to accept it, but it's here to stay whether they accept it or not. I hope that doesn't get in the way of some people enjoying it. Check this book out - if you haven't already - and take a new look at one of Marvel's most popular and longest-running characters.
Cool Factor: 8/10