Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


IRON MAN: FEMME FATALES. Robert Greenberger. Del Rey; 2009.

In this paperback novel brought out in the wake of the Iron Man movie with Robert Downey, Tony Stark -- the inventive genius who is also the super-hero Iron Man -- has his hands full with attacks by both the forces of Hydra ["cut off one limb and a dozen take its place"] and the mafia-like European Maggia. Both groups are being led by sexy woman who coincidentally have scarred faces: Madame Hydra [formerly the Viper] and Madame Masque [formerly Whitney Frost, the daughter of Count Nefaria, who heads the Maggia]. Masque comes to work for Stark in disguise, and Madame Hydra intrigues him and beds him in the guise of a mysterious green-haired woman named Katalin [that should have been his first clue]. This is a moderately entertaining book using concepts and characters created way back in the "silver age" of comics in the sixties. The hoped-for meeting/battle between the two different if similar women never materializes; the separate elements don't quite jell [there is a fight between Masque and Pepper Potts, Stark's executive assistant, however]. On the other hand, the book builds up suspense near the end and there's a nifty sequence in the Lincoln tunnel on the verge of being destroyed by the forces of Hydra. Whatever the book's merits, you're basically left with the feeling that super-heroes work better in comics -- and in movies -- than they do in prose works.

Verdict: Some fun for Iron Man fans. **1/2.

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