By Daniel & Charles Knauf (writers), Rob De La Torre (art), Dean White (color art)

At $3.99 this one’s meaty! I don’t just mean the page count, but the story as well. After dragging its feet in the mud for the past three to four months, issue #25 delivers some payoffs. The whole creative team is in top form this month – needless to say, I’m impressed.

I love the new direction they’ve taken with Mandarin. Much like what Ed Brubaker has done with the Red Skull, Daniel and Charles Knauf have made Mandarin more of a calculating villain with the foresight to challenge anyone in his path. Instead of being just plain evil, he’s more of an insane person who sees the world from a warped perspective. Like I said, this issue’s meaty. That means you’ll be doing a lot of reading. It’s not all meaningless dialogue either, everything finally comes together this story as Tony Stark connects the dots. Personally, I would have loved to have seen this story wrapped up this issue, but I can hang for one more.

The bonus stuff we get at the end of the issue is a nice touch, but not necessarily needed. We get a fun trip down memory lane as Bob Layton discusses the past revisions of Iron Man’s suits. Then there’s an excellent reprinting of Iron Man’s first appearace from Tales of Suspense #39 – always a gem. Lastly, we’re treated to a preview of Iron Man: Viva Las Begas #1 by Jon Favreau and Adi Granov! Sure, this issue’s a bit more expensive, but I think the bonuses justify the extra dollar. Plus it’s issue #25. Did you expect anything less from a milestone issue? (Grade: B)

– J. Montes