There’s something you won’t find at IKEA.

Iron Man volume 3 #53

Marvel Comics (June, 2002)

“Book Of The Ten Rings”

WRITER: Mike Grell

PENCILER: Ryan Odagawa

INKER: Kerek Fridolfs

COLORIST: Andy Troy

LETTERER: Chris Elipoulos

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Mark Sumerak

EDITOR: Tom Brevoort

Iron Man has been trying to take down creators of a new drug in China called Sleeping Dragon that causes a great high but makes you violent on the way down. With his new AI assistant, Friday, Tony is trying to bring the ring down, but someone else has taken more violent actions against some of the dealers and she soon confronts Tony…and it’s revealed to be Ayisha, the woman he met back in #50 that put on his experimental suit.. The revelations don’t end there as a man makes his way to a mountain monastery and meets with a man name Tenguin, who is told he must continue his father’s legacy…as the Mandarin!

What they got right: A new Mandarin would be one way to shake off some of his earlier baggage in modern thinking I guess, but I don’t know if that was the plan. Friday is a good addition to the team, and I’m curious to see what will happen with Ayisha.

What they got wrong: Why is Iron Man involved in this drug hunt? At least he had ties to the prostitute murders given he was helping the Haven out. Also, Grell really needs to see what was happening previously in the comic. Pepper doesn’t have a cat but she had a dog, Socrates. Also hinting that there may be romantic feelings between Tony and Pepper is a mistake. No, I don’t care what the movies did, this is the comic and Happy is still alive, just out of town. We also established that they realized there was nothing there between them, so don’t go trying to push them together. Let Pepper and Happy enjoy their lives together. However, the biggest mistake of this issue is a pacing problem so bad Simon Furman looks better in comparison. The story keeps going back and forth between two different scenes one panel at a time but the two events are not connected to each other, which just makes it annoying to try to follow. Finally the detectives investigating Ayisha’s handywork look like they’re whatever we call midgets these days. (What, I’m old and I don’t know when that became an insult. The last one I knew was “little people” but I keep thinking of the Fisher-Price toys when I hear that.)

Recommendation: What could have been an interesting open to this arc despite some personal objections is marred by the pacing issues. That makes it difficult to recommend unless the rest of the arc makes it worth it.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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