Though this may be a retelling of the classic Iron Man story “Armor Wars,” Warren Ellis and Steve Kurth are doing so in concept only as someone has stolen the technology to create Iron Man armors and Tony Stark wants it back. Using that solid idea, they continue to build an entertaining and surprising story as Stark, with Justine Hammer alongside him, travels to Europe to track down the man who supposedly has the information.
In Prague, they confront Dr. Faustus, who isn’t a simple duplicate of his regular Marvel universe self, more a crazy mad scientist with demented guards that have pieces of Iron Man tech grafted to them —- and a shocking secret that will delight a large contingent of readers. The confrontation also gives Stark a chance to show off some new Iron Man armor that is a little more practical than his bulky rocketsuit design.
Ellis continues to write a fantastic Ultimate Tony Stark, finding that balance between charming selfishness and altruistic behavior. Off to help the world by preventing bad guys from having their own Iron Man armors, but why not have sex with a beautiful woman while travelling? Or, recognizing that the economic ruin in the Ultimate universe isn’t just a problem for him but for all of the people who count on his company to provide jobs -— and, of course, all of the people he needs to do things for him. Not only that, but Stark is heroic in his actions in this issue, more brave and daring than he usually is.
Not a lot actually happens in this issue. The scenes that get us from point A to point B are entertaining and full of that particular brand of Ellis charm, but aren’t exactly substantive. This is the part in the movie where the problem has been introduced, but things are just getting going, which isn’t the most exciting part.
Steve Kurth’s art is visually appealing, although a little distracting with photoreferences and overly detailed faces at times. Justine Hammer continues to look unreal in this world, but his depictions of Faustus’ men are wonderfully twisted. He’s clearly at home in drawing technology and action, he just needs to work more on the quiet scenes where people talk. Otherwise, his art is equally light and fun to match Ellis’s script.
“Ultimate Comics Armor Wars” #2 shows the beginning of Tony Stark’s quest to retrieve his stolen technology and, as such, is more a plot function than entertaining story piece, but Warren Ellis’ writing is sharp and witty enough to carry the issue through the more subdued plot.