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Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger
Review by Drew Bittner
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345506856
Date: 29 September 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy industrialist who moonlights as the armored superhero Iron Man. It's a pretty tough job--and the arrival of not one but two stunning, ambitious women will make it even tougher.

Because even if Stark's skin is covered by armor, his heart is not...

In Iron Man: Femmes Fatales, longtime comics editor and writer Robert Greenberger crafts a brilliant story that brings Madame Masque and Madame Hydra into Tony's world. One is a formidable spy and agent for New York's organized crime network--the Maggia--while the other is leader of a worldwide terrorist operation poised to topple nations and ignite global war.

And both are equally dangerous to Tony, as a string of robberies and proof of industrial espionage comes to light. There are clues that point Iron Man in a number of directions, but even the help of the formidable Pepper Potts and the newly-formed SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law Division) can't narrow down the possibilities very quickly. What soon becomes clear, however, is that HYDRA is gunning for SHIELD directly--and intends to win World War 2 decades after the fact. Their immediate goal: acquire weaponry--by looting Stark Enterprises.

At the same time, Madame Masque, working for Count Luchino Nefaria of the Maggia, aims to acquire some technology on her own. The secrets of StarkTech are worth billions...and the Maggia would just love to have that money in their vaults. Now how does a beautiful woman acquire Stark's technology...?

The two madames hit upon the same notion nearly simultaneously, presenting Stark with an unwitting choice between two great evils. For all his genius, women are one of Tony's weaknesses; he literally can't see the danger that a passing romantic fling might represent. As he comes to know SHIELD's new director, Nick Fury, Stark begins to realize that his company--and he himself--are under attack from not one but two directions, and even his fancy armored suit can't help him this time.

With repulsors blazing, Iron Man will find himself in the fight of his life against two powerful organizations and two lethal ladies. Like James Bond in a golden (and heavily-armed) tuxedo, Tony Stark's newest adventure skillfully mixes corporate espionage, adventure, romance, and a flawed but formidable hero in a neat, entertaining package.

Greenberger delivers in spades in this novel, one that Iron Man's new legions of fans will enjoy as a near-sequel to last summer's hit movie...but this is also a great read for those who enjoy all the things that have made Iron Man a great character ever since the '60s. Job well done.

Recommended.

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