Book Review: Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Iron Man 2 by John Barber

Skipping over Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk, the second movie in The Infinity Saga, Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga – The Art of Iron Man 2 is the second release in the 24-book Marvel Studios: The Infinity Saga series, which is republishing previously released art books as a resized matching set. In his Foreword from 2010, director Jon Favreau writes, “these images reveal a journey taken by countless talented and hardworking artists and craftsmen.”

Buy The Art of Iron Man 2 by John Barber

Set six months after the events of Iron Man, the sequel finds Tony Stark dealing with unscrupulous business rival Justin Hammer; the vengeful Ivan Vanko / Whiplash, who blames Tony’s father Howard for the downfall of his father; and the fact that the device keeping him alive and powers his suit is slowly killing him. When Favreau and his “trusted team of conceptual artists and visual effects experts” began preproduction, he wondered, “how do you make it different, not only from our first film, but from what everybody else is doing?”

The first chapter is titled “Hall of Armor” and looks at the Mark IV, V, and VI suits with the Mark V being the most interesting as it is the briefcase suit. There were a lot of drawings to explore how it would be executed as it was “the only suit of Iron Man armor to be completely computer generated, with no practical counterpart.” It would sustain a lot of damage from Whiplash.

“Brothers in Arms” looks at Tony Stark’s allies. James Rhodes first appeared in Iron Man #118 (1979), he took over as Iron Man while Tony dealt with alcoholism in Iron Man #170 (1982), and became War Machine in Iron Man #282 (1992). In the film, War Machine’s weapon-heavy, monochromatic suit is derived from Iron Man’s Mark II suit. Natasha Romanov/Black Widow is a former Soviet spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. After a series of design, her sleek, black outfit and accessories were realized by costume designer Mary Zophres. The chapter also provides a brief history of the Nick Fury character and his appearance in this film.

“Armored Enemies” is self-explanatory. Co-producer Jeremy Latcham explains how they didn’t “really want [Tony] to fight another guy in a metal suit again,” so they took “the backstory from [Iron Man nemesis] Crimson Dynamo, and the idea of this Whiplash character, and kind of melding them together.” The book not only shows artwork for Whiplash’s equipment and his Mark II suit but also his Russian prison tattoos, “which Mickey Rourke was instrumental in deciding on.” The section on Hammer focuses briefly on the character, but more so on the tech, like military drones, his company made.

The book also focuses on the sets, storyboards of the Stark Expo Landing and the Drone Battle sequences, the tech created by Tony, and concludes with the marketing.

The Art of Iron Man 2 offers a great look behind the scenes of the return to the world of Iron Man and the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Jon Favreau and his talented team.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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