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Iron Man: The Gauntlet

Review

Iron Man: The Gauntlet

The newest installment in Marvel’s series of young adult novels comes from Artemis Fowl series author Eoin Colfer and is set in his native Ireland. Tony Stark is on route to an eco-summit in his stripped down “Party Pack” Iron Man suit when he notices something fishy going on at a nearby deserted island. What Tony discovers there will have him wishing that he brought more than just the Party. Tony’s “Invincible Iron Man” moniker will be tested when he comes face to face with one of his most clever and dangerous enemies.

"Well suited for fans of both the Marvel cinematic universe and the comic's universe --- it ties in with the comics but fans of the films will have no problem following the story as it stands on his own."

Colfer is faced with the difficult task of exploring Tony Stark's character in a limited medium. He does a decent job of bringing readers up to speed on the most basic bullet points of Stark's past, namely the fact that his parents and ex-lover, Anna Wei, were all tragically killed. Like a certain caped crusader, Stark constantly dredges up his dead parents --- it gets a bit tiresome, but Colfer does begin to delve deeper into Stark's character in touching upon that ways in which he deals with his public persona, his fame and his having killed several people (bad guys or otherwise). I would have liked to have seen more of this exploration into his character, but this story is more densely packed with action sequences (of course, this is a superhero story, after all). Interestingly, readers will often see Tony and his allies beaten and backed into a corner, and the clever ways in which they maneuver themselves out of these situations make for the most exciting bits of action THE GAUNTLET has to offer.

Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with Iron Man --- this novel features almost entirely original characters (except for Tony and The Mandarin, of course) and an original storyline. The original characters were easily the best part of the story, particularly the young genius Saoirse Tory. Without this character THE GAUNTLET would have felt more like an adult novel or a even a comic book. I appreciated that she was truly the hero of the novel and outwitted Tony on several occasions, leading to some truly amusing bits of dialogue.

The overall plot of this novel felt slow at times and may have been better suited as a novella or perhaps even as an episode of one of Marvel's many cartoon shows. Fans of Colfer will enjoy the style in which this novel is written, but it may fall flat for others. Thankfully the original characters, which are Colfer's own inventions, even the villains, made up for the overall lackluster plot.

This book is well suited for fans of both the Marvel cinematic universe and the comic's universe --- it ties in with the comics but fans of the films will have no problem following the story as it stands on his own. Fans of Tony Stark are sure to find something to enjoy in THE GAUNTLET, but don't expect to see any other of your favorite Marvel heroes as this is strictly an Iron Man story. I wonder if this is the beginning of a new Iron Man young adult series or if readers will get novels based on their other favorite heroes. We already have two exciting Black Widow stories from Margaret Stohl, so I hope Marvel will continue this trend.

Reviewed by Katherine Szabo on October 24, 2016

Iron Man: The Gauntlet
by Eoin Colfer