Numbercrunching: Iron Man Annual #1

Creators: Matt Fraction, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Matt Wilson.

Cost: Well that’s the thing isn’t it? $4.99 print US, around £3.65 print UK. Then $5.97 US digital and £3.57 UK digital.

Pages: 68.

Cost per page: print US 7.3 cents, print UK 5.3 pence, digital US 8.8 cents, digital UK 5.2 pence.

Appearances of Iron Man: 0.

What? Well there are memories, flashbacks, an entire mock suit built. But as to Tony Stark and Iron Man? 0

But it’s called Iron Man Annual. I know.

It’s got Iron Man on the cover. I know.

Isn’t that false advertising. Well. It is about the Mandarin, the Iron Man Big Bad.

Is it called The Mandarin Annual? No. It is a rather good comic though.

It’s not an Iron Man comic though is it? No. It’s a comic about the Manadarin using his power to force his will of making a hagiographic movie with his favourite director. Yet at every stage, what he values in his director, he destroys with his demands.

Is there metatextaul comment here? What a comic book about a creator being much desired by a boss but then when they work, all their talent being squashed by micromanagement? Surely not.

Hasn’t Matt Fraction been writing X-Men of late? He has, yes. Why?

No reason. Good.

The comic does that wonderful trick that comics can do so well, having the visuals and the text contradict each other simultanbeously, a perceived reality smashed against the true realities, pitting both sides of the reader’s brain against each other. A bit like Watchmen?

Well, yes, I suppose so. This takes a longer run it it though, with dire consequences bridging the gap between the two worlds. And it’s beautifully drawn with a real sense and presence of danger from this mad man. Like I said, it’s a good comic. Isn’t it a bit weird though?

What is? That Marvel choose to use this book, with it’s day-and-date digital launch matching with the US publication, to reach out to new readers? When it hasn’t even got Iron Man in it?

Yes, okay, that is a bit odd. And DC do the same with Justice League: Generation Lost that hasn’t actually got the JLA leading.

It’s got a JLA. It’s got my JLA. It hasn’t got Smallville’s JLA.

No. It’s almost as if Marvel and DC are disguising an attempt to grab existing direct market comic fans to the digital option, right out of the heart of comic shops.

That’s conspiracy talk. Yes it is.

Enough of that. Sorry.

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