So, from what I can gather, this series wants to emulate the general Star Trek movie rule, in that the odd numbered ones are sub-par while the even ones are pretty good. Granted, there’s still eight episodes left to break the pattern, but so far, that’s how it has played out.
After four episodes, we finally delve into Tony’s backstory. If you’ve seen the movie or read the comics, then you’ll know how it plays out, but if you’re just jumping on, it provides some illumination on Tony’s character. It also allows for Pepper to make an appearance, which was a nice touch.
This is also the first time that Tony seems to show any range in terms of emotion. There are parts where he actually comes off as charming as he’s supposed to be and his character arc in the flashbacks is well done.
I was rather surprised by Yinsen’s characterization. In the movie he was more kindly and avuncular whereas here, he’s more harsh and brooding. The effect on Tony is about the same, but it was a pretty drastic change from what I had seen previously. The writers also decided to add a dash of Two-Face to the mix for some odd reason. My mind kind of made a Harvey Dent connection just from seeing him standing around flipping the coin, but once he told Tony that it was going to determine whether Tony would live or die, they really cemented that parallel.
Just as Pepper Potts made a guest appearance, so too did another Marvel icon. I inadvertantly spoiled myself, so the twist didn’t exactly catch me off guard, but it was still pretty cool to see him show up. I honestly wasn’t expecting there to be any sort of inter-continuity, but given that their stories share a setting, it makes sense.
I was going to chide Tony for his “I’ve had enough of this bull” line during his fight with Taurus, but then I remembered that I would make the same joke and decided to let it pass.
This Zodiac differs from the rest in that we get an actual backstory. A famous racecar driver gets paralyzed in an accident and the shadowy organization uses his passion as motive for agreeing to cybernetic implants as long as he kills Tony Stark. We don’t see much of him as a normal person, due to limited runtime, but we see that he’s fairly amicable, if a bit cynical when it comes to the press. It was a refreshing addition and I hope that they take that approach with future enemies. It’s a step up from generic robot threats and makes for a more compelling story.
The Dio armor shows up again, letting us know that this particular plot point hasn’t been completely forgotten. While the episode itself was well done overall, it’s setup pretty much tells you who’s behind the mask, spoiling any potential mystery. You can see it coming from a mile away and the script pretty much plays right into that prediction. Even so, it made for a decent cliffhanger as you can’t help but wonder how it happened. It could also make for some interesting conflict later on down the line.
This was a strong episode and, hopefully, is an indicator of the episodes to come. Most shows need some time to find their footing and I’m optimistic that this show has found its own.
Marvel and anime fans in the local Wichita area can catch Iron Man, Friday nights at 10 pm Central on the G4 network.