Iron Man volume 3 #36
Marvel Comics (January, 2001)
WRITER: Chuck Dixon
PENCILER: Paul Ryan
INKER: Mark Pennington
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Brian Smith (I’m guessing on this one, stupid gag credits)
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
SHIELD calls Iron Man for help when a sub is in trouble near the Marianas Trench. However, Nick didn’t give Tony all the information. He just wants Iron Man to secure the ship while SHIELD does all the recover work. Except he didn’t give Iron Man all the information either. It turns out the sub is an underwater Hydra lab trying to genetically engineer people to survive under high-pressure depths, the result being a monster. It attacks Iron Man even while begging for help but Iron Man manages to escape before the sub falls into the trench, where our heroes are sure it was crushed. What they don’t know is Hydra manged to get the “survive under high-pressure depths” part of their experiment right.
What they got right: This is some of the best artwork since Sean Chen left. The cover does not do it justice since it had different artists (possibly the usual art team at this time). The models, the lighting, and the coloring are just fantastic. The classic armor has never looked so good. We also get an done-in-one story instead of the “padded for trade” four-parters we’ve gotten since Quesada took over. The end result is just a fantastic story with beautiful artwork.
What they got wrong: Not making this team the regular creators instead of being guests, and they should have had the regular art team work on the cover instead of what we got. It pales compared to the inside art and might have chased someone away from seeing how good it really is inside. I’m assuming this was filler while the regular team needed a break or something, a common practice by Marvel and DC, which would explain why Rumiko is so easy-going about Tony canceling a date with a “well, that’s what I get for loving a workaholic”. She might not get as mad as she used to and run off with someone else since they’re in a serious relationship now, but that’s still too accepting for her.
Recommendation: A good one-issue story that’s worth picking up.