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Book Review: Iron Man Manual
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Iron Man Manual

Iron Man Manual
Hardcover
Written by Daniel Wallace
Insight Editions
Release Date: November 19, 2013

Iron Man. Tony Stark. Ten years ago these names weren’t nearly as well known as they are today. Marvel was always proud of their Iron Man comic franchise but as with most comic characters, only the readers had the whole scoop. And then came the movies. Now these are household names, the movies are cinematic blockbusters and you cannot help but see Robert Downey, Jr. as the face of old Shell Head. The films did more for the name than the four decades of comics prior, I enjoy them and think they cast Tony perfectly. To celebrate this trilogy of action packed films, Marvel and Insight Editions produced this Iron Man Manual. A beautifully bound book with so much going for it that it’s sure to be a hit!

That said, I am profoundly disappointed that no one saw fit to include anything from the comics. I’m not kidding. Not a single piece from any Iron Man comic is in this. There is a comic cover shown at the beginning of the book, but it’s a Captain America cover! Seriously? This should have more fittingly been called the Iron Man Movie Manual, because that’s what it is. Every single page, every insert, every thought is based on the films. What a huge let down this was for me. Comic fans will open this up and feel the same shock I did, of this I have no doubt. But now that I have that off my chest, let me review what is actually in there, okay? I’ve vented and feel a little better.

What is included here is a gorgeous layout of all the cool parts of the movies. The presentation is as if JARVIS is allowing access to the information. This would have played out better in digital form, but it’s a fun aspect, regardless. Broken up into seven distinct categories, this guide explores the world of Iron Man and features loads of snapshots from the silver screen. Covering the history of Stark Industries, a bio of Tony, the forging of the original suit, his workshop, subsequent suits, as well as his competition and allies, we are able to examine the many facets of the Armored Avenger and what makes him tick, so to speak. Included with the book are more than forty extra inserts and items, including a Stark World Expo ticket, Agent Coulson’s ID card, Arc Reactor blueprints, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s case file on Iron Man and Tony Stark, plus lots of other goodies just waiting to be examined.

While this isn’t what I wanted to be, that makes it no less awesome for someone who is a big fan of the films. Every little detail is brought to light. Each of the different suits are shown with tidbits of information as to what each one’s specializations are and how they work. I see this as the perfect book for not just the movie fan but maybe a child who is just starting to get into the character. There are a lot of fun facts and inspiring scientific concepts to be found in here. With snippets of dialogue on notes throughout this book, you really get the feeling this is less of a history of Iron Man and more of a companion book that gives the reader more details.

It’s a solid gift for certain people, there is no doubt about that. It’s not for me, though. I’m more of a fan of the comics. Yeah, I liked the movies, they were fun and flashy. RDJ does a great job as Tony Stark. But in the end, my love of the character goes beyond the films whereas this book is just about them. I would have loved an amalgam of the movie and comic info, something that combines both parts into one cohesive piece. Maybe next time, right? It’s a tough call to recommend this. I do so with reservations that comic fans might be less than enthused. But still, if you’re a completest then it’s a no-brainer, you’ll buy it because you don’t have it. If you’re buying for someone else, do your due diligence and make sure they are fans of the films and not just the comics.

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