Captain America and Iron Man, aka, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark have one of the best bromances in comics in not only my opinion, but if the 80,000 slash pages putting them in compromising positions has anything to say about it, it’s a fan favorite. So, Marvel Comics bowed to the fan outcry and as of Issue 633 the book which was “Captain America and Hawkeye” after it was “Captain America and Bucky” after being just plain “Captain America” for 600+ issues became “Captain America and Iron Man” immediately putting the two heroes into danger, at a secret weapons expo in Madripoor, which is, of course, Marvel’s loosely disguised Singapore, known for being a seedy place, home to pirates, HYDRA, and on occasion Wolverine.
After demonstrating a highly adaptable microtechnology cleverly designed as wasps in his trademark colors, Tony Stark wanders off to have drinks, while his partner on this little espionage mission, Steve Rogers hidden behind an image inducer, goes to watch a back room demonstration that turns out to be the ominously named Harvester Protocol, a computer virus that takes complete control of any tech it comes in contact with. Unfortunately, before Cap is able to claim the Protocol, the whole shindig is crashed by Batroc the Leaper and his brigade of b-list supervillains and the virus is unleashed on the party, effectively taking down Iron Man’s armor (which these days is at least partially linked to his biology, I can’t remember the particulars, the man has more suits than the Men’s Warehouse) and revealing Cap’s identity, putting them both in a very cliffhanger-y situation by the last, beautifully illustrated page.
It’s a simple story, not incredibly complex or innovative, but where Bunn gets it right, and I mean gets it right, is the banter between the two seasoned Avengers. One of the things I like most as a reader is when two characters have different voices, and this done perfectly. It’s a mark of a good writer when the reader can distinguish between the lines of dialog even if the faces are not in the panel. Tony’s smooth and polished class contrasts perfectly with Steve’s Gee Golly patriotism, and even though they spend most of the issue separated, they carry on a running banter, gently sniping at each others methods and mannerisms, in that way that really conveys that love/hate relationship that we’ve grown to love with these characters. It’s an important part of the story, that these two men, throughout all the ups and downs, and backs and forths of the world in which they live and the stories we as readers have read for 60 some odd years. This is why I think this book is has such a simple plot to it, because that isn’t the theme of this book. This isn’t really a story about this technology being stolen by Batroc ze Lepair (he’s French, you HAVE to say his name like that). It’s the story about these two warriors, these two super heroes, these two very good friends, and that’s so clearly and cleverly done by Bunn that you forgive everything else.
Kitson’s art complements the story very well. Pencils are crisp and clean, inks are sharp and expertly applied. Javier Tartaglia’s colors have just the right pop while remaining perfectly subdued and classy as befits the story settings. If there was one thing to point out as a flaw is that the design of Cap’s artificial face is a little too close to Tony’s real one, with only a slight difference in skin tone and the general shape of their facial hair. That’s not a major issue, but I had a few drinks with my dinner tonight, and it was a little confusing for my poor tipsy eye.
All in all, though, this was a pleasant book, and a nice relaxing deviation from the endless CROSS OVER EVENTS THAT WILL CHANGE COMICS FOREVER events that are plaguing Marvel and DC currently. It’s a great buddy story and it reminds us why we like to read these characters, why they have been around for so damn long. In the hands of a good writer, they’re real, they’re people we know, they’re our friends, and we hope that they will leap to our defense the way they do for each other, because that’s what our heroes do.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Barry Kitson
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