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Heroes Reborn Iron Man

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

In the late '90s, many of Marvel's longest-running titles were dipping really low in sales. The X-Books were still riding high, and despite all the scorn fans heap on it today, the Clone Saga had pushed Spider-Man to the top of the charts. But the Avengers-related titles were losing ground, so after the big "Onslaught" crossover, Marvel farmed them out to some of the Image Comics guys: Rob Liefeld got Avengers and Captain America, and Jim Lee got Fantastic Four and Iron Man.

Haunted by the death of his friend "Rebel" O'Reilly during the test of the original Prometheum armor, Tony Stark withdrew into himself. He abandoned his youthful idealism in favor of a ruthless pragmatism that made him rich but alienated those closest to him. It was only after a near fatal helicopter crash forced him to don a newer version of the Prometheum armor that he once again found a purpose in life. Taking on the identity of the Iron Man, Stark once again engaged with the world, vowing to do what he could to repair the damage his own heartlessness had done.

Now, while Jim Lee's Wildstorm imprint was in charge of Iron Man, Lee didn't draw the book himself - instead, that job went to Whilce Portacio. Portacio's artwork is longer and more angular than Lee's, and that style is what we get with this figure. You look around online, and you'll see this figure referred to as just about anybody's: Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Jeph Loeb, of all people... but it's Whilce's. He's not exactly a household name, though, so perhaps best to just call him "Heroes Reborn" Iron Man.

Prometheum Armor Iron Man is an entirely new sculpt - which makes perfect sense, since there's never been another armor like this one. Rather than building on the same ongoing traditions as the 616 armor(s), this was a fresh start. Rather than a modern, smooth exterior shell, the Reborn armor is wrapped in steel cables and has flared exhaust vents. It's a very rough, unfinished look, like he threw it together at the last minute. [So, like most of your reviews, then? --ed.]

This is actually the Prometheum Armor MkII - the MkI is the one mentioned in the bio, the one Tony's friend was wearing when he died. It was red and silver, rather than red and gold, and the mask was slightly different. Speaking of which, this is one of the few Legends IM figures whose mask can't be removed to reveal Tony's face underneath. The only other one I can think of off the top of my head is the House of M version, so an Iron Man with a solid head is definitely a rarity.

Thanks to the pipes on his back, Heroes Reborn Iron Man stands nearly 6½" tall. He has a balljointed neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and ankles, a hinged torso, swivel waist and thighs, and double-hinged knees. The paint is good, with a wash on the gold bits to make the cables stand out more, and clean white used for the eyes and right hand's repulsor blast. Plus, you can put HRIM on the (short) list of Hasbro Legends whose hands aren't ridiculously small: he has nice meaty gloves on. The figure feels rather slick, almost greasy, and I'm not sure why.

The BAF part included with Iron Man is, quite honestly, forgettable. He doesn't even get a piece of the figure, and is instead stuck with Ares' sword, dagger and helmet. Make no mistake, all three of them are nicely done: the two blades have wrapped hilts, and the helmet is sporting that big central crest of (sculpted) animal hair, but at the end of the day, you're still just left with accessories. They're quite sizeable - the sword is nearly as tall as the IM figure, and the helmet is big enough that he can wear it loosely - but they're still not necessary parts of the final BAF.

I was no fan of "Heroes Reborn" when it took place in the '90s, and so I really wasn't looking forward to this figure. I certainly didn't expect to like to like him at all, but opening the packaging up and playing around with him has changed my mind. He's the only Legend in this Wal*Mart-exclusive series to get a new sculpt, rather than being a repaint, and he's worth your attention for that alone. The BAF accessories may not be unmissable, but they are good enough to work with, say, a Conan toy. If you're an Iron Man fan, the Heroes Reborn Prometheum armor is really worth adding to your collection, even if it's just to have it standing at the back of your display as another piece of Tony's ever-growing armory.

-- 03/16/09

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