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11.04.2014
Authors Joseph Bullman, Neil Hegarty and Brian Hill investigate six London roads: Reverdy Road in Bermondsey, Deptford High Street, Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, Caledonian Road in Islington, Portland Road near Notting Hill and Camberwell Grove.
The primary source, in each case, is the maps of Charles Booth, who colour-coded the levels of poverty in individual buildings in the late Victorian era. When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of mysterious secrets. The gardens surrounding the odd property are Mary's escape and she explores every inch of them—all except for the mysterious walled-in, locked garden.
I read both The Secret Garden and A Little Princess as a little girl and have read and re-read them throughout my life. Portland Road, for much of its history, was an impoverished no-go area, gradually gentrifying but still showing a marked increase in affluence from north to south. Consequently, the beef of each chapter slow cooks in this period, describing the living conditions, health, spiritual makeup, hopes, dreams and fears of the denizens of each street. We find ourselves in a city where housing issues are once again at the top of the agenda, with the affluent few increasingly squeezing financially less fortunate communities out of central areas. There are nearly one hundred rooms, most of which are locked, and the house is filled with creepy old portraits and suits of armor.


Appearing in ‘Iron Man 3’ next month, the star-spangled armor will be sported by Don Cheadle’s Colonel James Rhodes AKA War Machine.
Arnold Circus was built from the rookeries of the Old Nichol, transformed from the worst slum in London to a model housing estate.
Mary rarely sees her uncle, and perhaps most unsettling of all is that at night she hears the sound of someone crying down one of the long corridors. However, as much controversy as the armor is causing in the films, it definitely has a more sinister past in the comics.
The book does a splendid job of explaining how we reached this point, in the context of previous housing trends. Originally worn by Norman Osborn during the ‘Dark Reign’ storyline after he ends the Skrull invasion and forms the Dark Avengers, many in the comic books view the armor as an infamous symbol of Osborn’s reign of terror over the Marvel Universe. Even the Cally Road flirted with the well-to-do for a time, before prisons, asylums, railways and noisome industries brought the area down. But now it looks like Nick Spencer is bringing the character back to appear in his ‘Secret Avengers’ book.
In fact, the changing face of all six areas serves as an antidote to Peter Ackroyd's regular musings about London neighbourhoods maintaining the same essence over centuries.


Elsewhere, Agent Nick Fury and Director Daisy Johnson are checking out the latest tech that their organization could be utilizing. It’s during that convention that Fury and Director Johnson discover the infamous armor.When the Iron Patriot is reintroduced into the Marvel Universe, we’re told that it no longer needs a pilot, however, I really do get the feeling that someone will stepping into the armor before this arc is over. In my review of issue two, I mentioned that I’m interested in heroes like Winter Soldier and Hulk joining the team, but now I’m wondering just how much the Iron Patriot can be redeemed after being involved with so much in the past. The imagery that comes along with it could be too much to overcome unless the pilot is someone whose reputation exceeds the armor’s. I doubt that they’ll get someone like that to step in considering how the issue ended, but wither way, it’ll be interesting to see who gets to carry on the mantle of Iron Patriot.A fun bit in this issue is when Hawkeye asks about the “big-head-little-legs” guy who used to run the Advanced Idea Mechanics. So far, he’s off to a good start, but we haven’t seen too much to persuade us just yet.Other than setting up for more Iron Patriot stuff in later issues and a few great gags involving Hawkeye and Mockingbird, this issue didn’t do too much for me. Overall, I haven’t really latched onto this series yet, but when Bucky and Banner pop up, I think that I’ll be more invested.



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