Tomes of Costumed Adventurers

Welcome to the land of "reality", where scientific experiments, accidents, genetic heritage, and alien influences affect the lives of ordinary mortals. Join me as I observe the superhumans of planet earth and their struggles against equally powerful foes.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.

That said, on to the review!

Title: Iron Man--Operation A.I.M.
Author: Greg Cox
Publisher: Boulevard Books
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1996

When a super-villain attacks Stark Enterprises during a senior citizens' tour, Iron Man soars into action. He braces himself to battle the Spymaster; to his surprise, he's actually fighting an adaptoid, a mechanical menace repeatedly used by Advanced Idea Mechanics (a.k.a. "A.I.M.") in their bid to rule the world. And A.I.M.'s involvement can only mean the they're involved in another world-domination scheme. When he infiltrates an undersea A.I.M. facility, however, he isn't prepared for the truth: that a new Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing (a.k.a. "Modok") plans not to rule the world, but to cleanse it of human life, leaving it the sole domain of cyborgs like himself. To do so, however, it needs certain components to create a chip like the prototype that nearly destroyed Iron Man in Great Britain (and did destroy a British castle). Now it's up to Iron Man--with assistance from Captain America, War Machine, and the Black Panther--to stop Modok before he can complete his nefarious scheme. But can they succeed when the adaptoids can make themselves look like anyone, even a super hero?

While this novel may come across as a sequel to The Armor Trap and does indeed draw on information revealed in that book, this novel stands alone. Everything that needs explaining is explained as necessary, and all in such a way that the explanations don't necessarily seem like summarization of a previous book. Nearly everything has an immediacy to it, even the flashbacks and reflections of the different characters. And when you have characters with such long histories as Iron Man, Captain America, and the Black Panther (no offense, War Machine), you can be sure that there are going to be a number of reflections on prior knowledge that we, the audience, won't necessarily have.

I think the best part about this book was the involvement of the adaptoids. It was really interesting to see our heroes battling foes who so closely resembled their counterparts that it was difficult to identify the real deal and the imposters. This might actually be rather cliche after all this time (RPGs and comics with shape-shifters and all) but to have these robotic dopplegangers becoming so lifelike as to remain unaffected by an electromagnetic pulse is really something. And to have them being able to mimic their counterparts' abilities almost perfectly? Not even Mystique from X-Men fame can do that!

Iron Man--Operation A.I.M. shows that magic and mysticism (courtesy of the Black Panther) can coexist in a world of super science and technology (courtesy of Iron Man and company). And who can say that one is superior to the other? But one thing is certain: it isn't the armor that makes the man, it's the man that makes the armor. Right?

Rating: Thumbs up! When heroes face off against themselves, is there any way to tell the real heroes from the fakes?

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