Book Review: "Iron Man: Virus" by Alex Irvine
- by V.L. Locey, 1 October 2012
I was going to write this review with my Iron Man helmet on. Sadly, I had trouble seeing the keyboard and the computerized Jarvis kept talking in my ear. Oh yeah, I really do own one. You should see the top of my entertainment center. It's an Avengers shrine with a star-spangled shield, a hammer that somehow I was deemed worthy enough to lift, and a red and gold helmet. There's also a copy of Deadpool # 32 signed by the man himself, Mr. Joe Kelly. How that got there I don't know but Wade assures me he's next in line for an Avengers ID card since everyone else has gotten one, so I left it there.
Yes, I am a Marvel comics fan. I proudly announce that. And I am also a huge fan of Tony Stark. In armor or out, that man just sends me! I tend to approach things dealing with Tones with a wary eye at times. I've seen the man turned from a hero to a pariah in a few short months. I've suffered, right along with all the Iron fans out there over the past few years, as Tony was a victim of character assassination of the worst kind. So, when I spied this novel in my Indie bookstore, I reached for it like it was a coiled rattlesnake.
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be one hell of a great read! There is hope yet fans. If you can`t find the Tony Stark you love in the comics, there`s always movies and now novels.
Iron Man: Virus is penned by Alex Irvine, the author of fourteen books; numerous fictional shorts, and one novel that won him a Crawford Award for best new writer. Mr. Irvine surely has a feel for Tony Stark.
The story begins when two planes collide over Long Island. Tony Stark watches while wishing he had the technology that is almost at his fingertips – a hyperintelligent instant control system that would have given the aircraft some advance warning. This instant control Tony is obsessing over would also make him and his prototype suit almost one. What Tony doesn't know is that his new baby has already been compromised.
See, it was Madame Hydra on one of those ill-fated planes. And the accident turns out to be a precisely crafted assassination by Arnim Zola. We all remember him don`t we? Kind of hard to forget a man with no head and a face where his chest cavity is supposed to be, isn`t it?
Looks like Cap should have hit him harder.
Zola has plans to not only take over Hydra, which he does neatly once Madame Hydra is gone, he also has plans to take over the world. World domination means getting rid of those who prove bothersome. Like Tony Stark. Zola, the cunning little headless creep, has already infiltrated Stark Industries and has developed a version of the instant control program. Zola isn't happy to just be able to access Tony's new armor (Which will piss off Anthony to no end. We all know how he HATES having his tech compromised) he wants to hit Tony in a more vulnerable place. No, not there! While Tony is scrambling to try to figure out who is behind this intrusion into his plant and computer system, Zola unleashes a clone army that is based on one of Tony's dearest friends.
Talk about a double-shot to the old ego! Tony ends up….Well, I don't want to spoil what happens but it's a hell of a ride through cyberspace, rest assured.
I have to applaud Mr. Irvine and his faithful representation of not only Tony Stark, but Jim Rhodes, Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, and Nick Fury. The characters are wonderfully in character. Stark is portrayed as the brilliant mind with a predilection towards turning reclusive when occupied. Rhodey and Happy are the faithful, long suffering friends, and Pepper is the woman at Stark's side, not the star as she has been in the comics for oh-so many months. The star of this book is Tony Stark warts and all. Please don't get me wrong, I adore Pepper but she is a supporting character. She should not be in armor while Tones is off begging and whining in front of a villain. Sorry. Sometimes those things just bubble out. I'm better now, I promise.
Back to the book! The plot was tense and nerve-wracking right up to the end. Zola is shown to be a brilliant man on par with Stark on every level. The sub-plots are tight and crisp as one of Tony's closest friends tries to deal with the fact that there are thousands of him/her running around. Fury is the classic SHIELD top dog. Short on words but big on action.
And you guys want action? Holy nanotubes! This book nearly vibrates with gunfire, repulsor blasts, helicopter crashes, you name it and it is going down outside of Tony's lab.
Sadly for me, there was very little romance. Some socialite that Stark dates whenever he can recall her name is kidnapped and cloned. Zola keeps Miss Megabucks (I don't remember her name because it wasn't Vicki as it should have been!) as leverage in his chocolate factory turned clone replicating plant. A wee more spice would have rounded out things quite well. Alas, I shall have to write sexy scenes in my own fan fiction I suppose.
Overall the book is a great addition to any Iron Man fan's library. It moves in the movie-verse, I assume, since Happy is alive, but it doesn't shove it down your throat. It could easily have been in the comic continuity if not for Hogan's role. If you're looking for a page turning read starring everyone's favorite billionaire/playboy/philanthropist, grab a copy of Iron Man: Virus. I plan on picking up the other two novels advertised on the inside cover.
A woman can never have too much Tony Stark in her life, now can she??
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V.L. Locey is the author of ‘Of Gods & Goats’, the first in a trilogy of rural romantic comedies with a heavy Greek mythos flavor. When not writing, V.L. is reading, playing X-Box, sipping coffee, tending goats, “researching sexy Greek gods” or has her nose buried in a Marvel comic book. She is also the writer for the web strip, ‘Don't Ever Tell Alex’ and has several online stories, ranging from Marvel-based fan fiction the original character tale ‘Sons of War’ and a new original work entitled ‘Bloodlines’ .
To purchase a copy of her book, you can go to her website, or grab a copy for your eReader at SmashWords. To read along with her MU based work, check out Mickey's Tavern. If you're a fan of web strips, check out her work, along with Mr. Paul Rose's 3-D art right here, on the "Don't Ever Tell Alex" blog. If you're hankering for original character work, you can find V.L. Locey's stories at Essential Webcomics. She can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads or any local book shop.