This past week I've had two immensely pleasurable (non-sexually related) experiences. The first was experiencing Matt Smith's interpretation of the eleventh incarnation of Doctor Who. Smith absolutely nailed the Doctor straight away. He did the eccentric wierdo aspect of the character beautifully, but what impressed me most of all was the way he did the whole inspiring-humans-to-reach-their-full-potential bit. Now, I love David Tennant and I thoroughly enjoyed his entire run as the Tenth Doctor, but I have to say that very occasionally, sometimes, once in a while, he got on my tits. Whenever he started with his "human beings, aren't you brilliant" stuff he couldn't seem to help but sound at least a little condescending and smug. This was countered by about a million positive attributes that he brought to the character, but whenever his voice went all high pitched and he acted like he was giving the human race a collective ruffle of the hair I did sometimes want to give him a slap. During Saturday's The Eleventh Hour the Doctor had to inspire a man he'd just caught looking at porn to confer with a group of international boffins and save the world. This could so easily have come across as another example of the Doctor being a patronising git but I'm happy to say that it didn't. I don't know how he did it but Smith managed to inspire the would be wanker without sounding like a conceited arse. I don't want to sound like I hated Tennant's performance, he was a great Doctor in many ways. But with a first episode performance as groin grabbingly good as Smith's, comparisons are unavoidable. Take me Matt, I'm yours!
The next immensely pleasurable, yet non sexual experience I had this week was reading Matt Fraction's entire run to date of Invincible Iron Man. I've greatly respected everything Marvel have been doing with Tony Stark since Civil War, and I concede that it's all totally in character. I also concede that Civil War is one of the greatest crossover events ever in that it was written fantastically well, drawn fantastically well and unlike many crossovers, actually made good on its promise and changed everything in the Marvel Universe. Well, for a few years at least. But all of this couldn't disguise the fact that Stark was being written as a bit of a bastard. I could totally see where the character was coming from but nevertheless I didn't really enjoy reading about him.
Well, nothing redeems a character like having the complete crap kicked out of him for 24 issues, and that's exactly what Fraction's run delivers, in a very entertaining way. First Stark battles Ezekiel Stane, the son of his arch-enemy Obadiah Stane. Then we see him on the run as Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn nicks his job and makes Tony a wanted fugitive. As well as allowing us to see Stark face the consequences of his actions, this new underdog status also allows Stark's cunning, resourceful side to shine. When the whole world's out to get a man, that's when we really see the cut of his jib! There's also plenty of good old fashioned nostlagic fan wank. Stark unleashes a computer virus into his own brain to prevent Osborn getting his secrets and as the virus destroys his intellect he has to downgrade through his old armours. It's like a trip down memory lane, except there's a lobotomy waiting at the end of memory lane.
It really is a very good read and I recommend it to all. And now in honour of the Golden Avenger, let's remind ourselves of all the things that Tony Stark is able to build, in a cave, with a box of scraps.....