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For those unaware of Mr. Stark’s current status in comicdom, he is now head of Nick Fury’s famed government operation and has spent plenty of time uncovering and registering superhumans to the detriment of many friendships.

He also has taken a step toward becoming more of a cyborg by injecting Extremis, a nanotech virus, into his body. Iron Man armor is now part of his biological structure and can ooze out of his pores to cover him at a moment’s notice.

The enhancement is quite the psychological test for Tony, who now finds himself more comfortable hiding in his metallic suit than facing reality as a human.

One of his other current initiatives is to convert superhumans into law enforcement officers and that has brought to light a situation in Omaha, Neb.

The current story line, created by television writer Daniel “Carnivale” Knauf and his son Charles, is a massive conspiracy set in motion by the Mandarin.

Now living under the name Tem Borjigin, he is the head of Prometheus Gentech, a biotech firm in the U.S. heartland that is experimenting with the Extremis virus to create a new super-soldier serum. He wants to harness Extremis as a weapon and cause big trouble.

Although how this has come to pass is a bit insane — let’s forget the fact that the secretary of defense is well aware of Tem and knows he’s Mongolian (obviously the guy has never read an Iron Man comic book), the story is well paced and takes enough twists to keep readers engaged.

The Knaufs also give Stark quite a complex personality, wrought with emotional instability, but he’s still brilliant.

Even though art duties on the seven issues are shared by Butch Guice, Roberto de la Torre and Carlo Pagulayan, their styles are similar enough to make the entire run consistently great. All of the illustrators beautifully capture facial expression and the human form while adding the occasional action splash page to blow away the reader.

Zadzooks! wants to know you exist. Call 202/636-3016; fax 202/269-1853; e-mail jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com or write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.