By John Robinson, Marcio Takara and Esther Sanz
Armor Wars, is the newest release that’s set on Battleworld in the new Secret Wars series from Marvel. This issue starts with us being plopped into Technopolis, a technological and scientific utopian wonderland, and while it’s visually stunning, does leave some questions unanswered. As we learn relatively early on everyone, literally everyone, has to wear a powered suit of armor that makes everyone look like Baron Tony Stark (his new title) got a butt-load of contracts to build some suits. This is not the case, every person in Technopolis, or possibly further, HAS to wear one…or…bad things. It seemed a bit insulting as readers to be just told this is how things are with absolutely zero explanation or reason. It probably will be explained in future issues, but as this is the first you would hope you’d get a hint, nope, nothing.
What definitely didn’t help was the plot that was given to us. It really wasn’t engaging and the characters had little depth and the banter back and forth seemed to be forced and really only to make one think, ‘ya, uh huh, that’s nice’. At one particular point Baron Stark is explaining a dream he had to Pepper “Now that I’m awake…I don’t remember. I think I could for a moment when I opened my eyes and then–you know how it is–that memory was gone.”. The dialogue between these two iconic characters made me let out an audible groan in either frustration or annoyance in the clear lack of effort. Tedious, flat, boring and really didn’t suck me in as a reader, this is not a series that (at this point) merits continuing.
BUT, and a big but, the art and colours in this book are astonishing. Each set of armor is incredibly detailed, well shaded, coloured and seems like it’s been a long missing piece of our favourite characters pasts, if Tony had made them suits. The Spider-Man suit, easily the best and the red metal on his suit actually looks like faded, scuffed and stained red metal. One area for improvement would have been the intensity of colour of characters skin tones, this is one of those times where less could have been more. It can be overpowering and draw focus away from the background, other characters and even the person who is the focus of a panel’s suit. I want to see wider views of Technopolis and see what they can come up, armored suit wise, if we meet any more famous faves that live there. Marcio Takara and Esther Sanz definitely were the saving grace of this #1.
A quick side note about my favourite piece of art in this entire issue: Spider-Man’s webs. The webbing has this cool binary code effect overlaying the webs when they shoot out of his suit, not just on globs of it when he shoots people, but in the strands of webbing you can see little bits of the green 0’s and 1’s. A very, very nice touch I’ve never seen in my years of being a Spidey fan.
This wasn’t a struggle to get through due to lack of interest, the art and colours kept the pages turning but aren’t enough to go back for Armor Wars #2. As a reviewer it’s our jobs to not spoil anything story wise, but personally, the only possible reason that I would have come back for #2 is taken away on the very last page and will leave you, at least it left me, with a very “Ok, well that’s enough of that” feeling.