Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: With an Iron Fist: Part 2
Written by: Judd Winick
Penciled by: Kev Walker
Inked by: Kev Walker
Colored by: Transparency Digital
Lettered by: Paul Tutrone
Editor: Mike Raicht
Publisher: Marvel Comics
EXILES is Quantum Leap through the Marvel Universe with a wide range of mutant characters. The Exiles, have each been pulled from separate realities, by the mysterious Timebroker, and must correct problems that threaten other realities. This is the only way they can hope to return to their proper place. The book is usually a fairly light read, but has a tragic undertone.
Judd Winick is really messing with the formula that has been successful for the first twenty or so issues. The current arc follows Weapon X, a second group that works for the Timebroker. The greatest strength of the series to date has been Judd Winick’s characterization, and of course much of that is lost with the new cast.
The story focuses on a reality where Tony Stark (Iron Man) has become President and despotic ruler of Earth. Through trickery and diabolical alliances, he has eradicated much of the world’s super powered populace. Weapon X must help Stark conquer the Inhumans, seemingly so he can begin his conquest of the galaxy.
The first part mainly served as an entry point to the new world, and our â€œheroesâ€ didn’t arrive until the final panels. In this issue the story kicks into high gear! The no-nonsense team lead by Gambit, includes a Spider-Man that still possesses an alien symbiote costume (more like Carnage then Venom), Angel, Hulk (actually She-Hulk), Storm, and a malevolent Vision. Winick does a great job introducing the new crew, and giving each a small moment to shine.
Unfortunately for Stark, The Inhumans protected their city with an impenetrable shield created by Reed Richards, before his untimely demise. Stark’s only hope of fracturing the shield is a key, that Reed placed safely with Wonder-Man. Wonder-Man is now a creature more powerful than the Hulk, as his powers were boosted when Stark destroyed the Hulk from his reality.
Kev Walker’s art works well for this grim story arc, but as a whole is far too shadowy for my tastes. Perhaps if the coloring stood out more, it would offset the heavily shaded drawing.
Does this sound confusing? Well, I wouldn’t recommend picking just this issue up! The story reads well, but isn’t one of the best that Winick has put forth from this innovative title. The tone, and characters aren’t what is usually seen every month, so if you really want to get into EXILES, I recommend the three trade paperbacks currently available.