Iron Man volume 3 #51
Marvel Comics (April, 2002)
WRITER: Mike Grell
PENCILER: Michael Ryan
INKER: Sean Parsons
COLORIST: Edgar Tadeo
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Mark Sumerak & Jeff Youngquist
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Tony picks up a teenage prostitute…but not as a client. He’s actually bringing her to the Haven, a place that helps young runaways reclaim their lives. He introduces Shelly to Abby St. Clair, who runs the place and is a former prostitute herself, getting out of the life after being put into a coma. She paints the face she remembers hoping to figure out why he did it, but the memory is fading. Considering a prostitute was killed near where Tony picked up Shelly it’s good that she’s considering staying. Meanwhile, Tony has assembled a conference to help the country he helped free last issue, and meets with a group of fellow investors. However, he forgot a briefcase of important papers at the Haven and Abby offers to deliver it herself. Later, Iron Man helps out with a dangerous fire and finds Abby dead in the rubble.
What they got right: Iron Man usually handles larger threats so seeing how he’ll handle something more along the lines of something Daredevil would get involved in is an interesting premise. Yes, I know about the letter to the editor tied to this story and I’ll cover it when we get to that issue. I still think it was a good story idea. The art was also rather good. And the cast part of the conference, which actually does tie into this story, have some very distinct personalities. I also like the bubble design for “Iron Man”‘s voice. It’s not as good as the one this volume started with but it’s better than just a regular word balloon with a jagged tail like they use for the TV speakers.
What they got wrong: The only real problem is that Grell’s run will be more about Tony Stark than Iron Man, as if the superhero was an afterthought, something that happens at Marvel a lot lately from the reviews and commentaries I see, even from those defending Marvel. I’m also not sure about the color of Pepper’s dress.
Recommendation: A good start to the story. Hopefully it ends well too. Mildly recommended for now just for the premise. It’s not what I want Iron Man to be all the time, but it does offer a one-time story some possibilities.