ULTIMATE IRON MAN
I’ve been collecting comic books since 1986. I was introduced to them by my cousin Greg who took Doug and I down to Green Gables to purchase our first comics. I have not missed an issue of Amazing Spider-Man since. I had read random comics before that and I knew of all the super heroes from their cartoons but Greg is the first one to really show us how the Marvel “Universe” worked. It was a world shared by all of the different Marvel characters and what happened in one book had ramifications in the others. Characters had long histories and though each issue may have had a new villain for the hero to fight there were all kinds of continuing story lines happening in the background. Those background stories and side characters got you invested in that world and had you coming back for more month after month. The problem with basing these characters in a “real” world was that it was very hard to change things without making other things seem off. Like when characters had a kid and within a couple of years the kid was like 12 years old and yet the main characters hadn’t aged a day. Many characters have been tied to real world events like the Vietnam war which may have been okay in the 80s but trying to say that the Punisher served in Vietnam just doesn’t make sense anymore, dude would have to be like 60. Writer’s are constantly trying to keep the books fresh while respecting the characters past. Some times changing things to keep things contemporary comes off really cheap like having Punisher say something like ” Oh, did I say I was in Nam? I meant Desert Storm.” or they do things like clone Spider-Man in an attempt to make him cool and single again. These reboots and retcons(retroactive continuity) usually just muddle things up and piss fans off.
In 2000 Marvel launched their Ultimate line of books in another attempt to make their characters feel more contemporary to the younger audiences that were discovering these characters through the movies. The Ultimate books took place in an alternate shared universe, similar to the main Marvel Universe but not bogged down by 40+ years of storytelling. Creators had free rein to do what they wanted with new versions of popular characters. Spidey was a teenager again and the Fantastic Four didn’t have a bunch of kids running around either. I was skeptical at first but was won over by the great storytelling and fresh persepective of these new writers. It later went all to shit but I’ll save that for another time.
In the Ultimate Universe Iron Man wasn’t drastically different from his Marvel Universe counterpart. Still a brilliant playboy and a founding member of the Ultimates (this universe’s version of the Avengers). His suit or armor was the biggest change. It had a very futuristic look and I found it to look almost alien or bug like. It still had red and yellow as highlight colors but was primarily gray in color. I thought it was super cool and probably the best character redesign in the Ultimate Universe. I scooped up this figure immediately when Marvel Select released it. It looks great and has all the fine details I had come to expect from the 7″ Marvel Select line. It came with a gigantic metal thing-a-ma-jig with a bunch of wires poking out of it that was supposed to represent the hydraulic closet thing Tony Stark steps into so that a computerized system can suit him up or remove his armor. It was actually a cool accessory and he looked cool posed standing next to it but it was to big and took up so much prime shelf space that it ended up in a box in the closet somewhere. I didn’t really need it anyway, this figure is badass all on it’s own, f**k accessories. 9 out of 10.