01/03/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine. 283 page paperback. Price: $ 7.99 (US), $ 10.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-50684-9 pub: Titan Books. 283 page paperback. Price: £6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84576-919-2)
check out websites: www.delreybooks.com www.titanbooks.com<
'Virus', the second book in the 'Iron Man' series isn't exactly like the previous book. With inventor Tony Stark making a serious upgrade to not only his armour but its control interface, inadvertently making it into a cyberspace jungle that he becomes obsessed and trapped in, we don't really see much of the golden avenger. There is a greater concentration on Hydra and Stark's supporting cast.
Hydra has been taken over by Arnim Zola, ex-Nazi genius and clone expert who successfully kills Madame Hydra in a plane crash and installs his own team of clones, principally based on Harry 'Happy' Hogan, after cell tissues were taken - literally scratch-built if you forgive the pun. Arnim Zola lives within a modified clone body himself. Back in the late 70s, for those who don't know, Zola was a Jack Kirby creation who thought his brain too vulnerable in the head and had it stashed in his body and saw the world through a video screen on his torso. His overall plan is to get at Stark and control of his armour technology. Although author Alex Irvine portrays his as a megalomaniac, he isn't, shall we say, criminally insane. Well, not for much of the time although he clearly sees murder as a means to an end.
Into this mix are Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, Jim Rhodes and Nick Fury and some of his SHIELD agents. It's a shame that more effort wasn't made with catching Fury's voice let alone attitude when it comes to getting into the fray. Then again, going from the backcover, there wasn't much in the recognition of computer viruses attacking Stark's systems. Indeed, for most of the time, I thought Stark had created the glitch himself. There are times when subtly can work against the reader. I'm still not sure why the chapter openings shows Stark's deferred patents for national security.
This book is adequate but it would have been even better had it been given some more work to tidy up the rough edges.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA