REVIEW: Iron Man #1

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The Marvel NOW! Initiative boldly moves forth with a new series featuring everyone’s favorite playboy futurist, Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man. With the character enjoying immense popularity these days due to some Hollywood success, the NOW! title will attempt to paint the definitive picture of Mr. Stark. What does the future hold for Iron Man? Read on as Major Spoilers reviews IRON MAN #1…

IRON MAN #1
Writers: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Guru FX
Editor-in-Chief: Axel Alonso
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in IRON MAN With the AvX conflict wrapped, the Marvel Universe is ready to move in a bold new direction. Titles including Iron Man are getting repackaged to introduce readers once more to their favorite heroes. Iron Man #1 is a new jumping-on point that promises access to the character for all readers and a fresh, modern take.

ART IMITATES…ART, I GUESS

When the Marvel NOW! Initiative started, I wasn’t sure of the exact purpose. A decade ago, the Ultimate line was created to reintroduce readers to the Marvel U. Eventually, that Ultimate Universe was proven to be so successful that the Marvel Cinematic Universe based itself on the stories it contained. Now, we see the Marvel Universe proper going through a makeover to appear more like the Cinematic Universe, at least where Iron Man is concerned. It’s an interesting idea, certainly, but does it work?

Well, yes and no, depending on what you want from the series.

In IRON MAN#1, Tony Stark is unquestionably based on Robert Downey Jr.’s exceptional performance of the character. The first half of the issue is spent with Tony gallivanting around in a nightclub with a voluptuous woman on her arm, a beleaguered Pepper Potts nearby, and an Alcoholics Anonymous chip firmly in his pocket. If you had never picked up an Iron Man comic, but had loved the movies, you’d feel right at home in this book.

Later, Iron Man gets to see some action as he encounters A.I.M. scientists who have stolen his Extremis technology to auction off to the highest bidder. The reader gets to see the origin of Tony’s new suit, which admittedly is a pretty cool moment.

There were some misfires in the story. The opening scene is a great sequence with Tony flying over the city. The art is amazing and the piece feels like it would be right at home in a film. But Tony’s dialogue as he flies didn’t sit well with me for some reason. He seems very cold…stating to himself that he has no faith in other people and is an atheist. Now, this all makes sense to me…A guy like Tony would probably not believe in God, and that’s not the problem I have…it just seems like a lazy way to give readers insight into the character. Tony giving his personal philosophy on life in two minutes seems a bit forced. Show, don’t tell.

CINEMATIC ART…OR FUMETTI?

Greg Land has a style all his own. Personally, I love it. With the right coloring (and Guru FX does a great job) each panel looks like a still frame from a movie. However, some people use this exact comment to complain. Land’s art can, to some, look like a group of posing mannequins. Land is quite a famous artist at this point in his career, so most readers will know what they’re getting. Still, I think it’s great stuff. The aerial scene over NYC mentioned earlier bears repeating here…it’s a breathtaking view!

BOTTOM LINE: RECOMMENDED WITH TONGUE FIRMLY IN CHEEK

I wanted to give this book a strong recommendation. There’s nothing really wrong with it. I like the art, it’s a pretty standard look into Tony’s life, the action at the end is exciting and the looming conflict seems like it will be a fun story. After a lot of thought, my main complaint about this book is that it doesn’t feel organic. Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was a futurist, but he was a fun person, someone you’d like to hang out with. This iteration of the character feels distant, a guy that wouldn’t think twice about using another human being and then tossing that person aside in order to attain whatever goal is being pursued. It rings hollow for the character. With that said, I’m hoping that this arc is going to focus on Iron Man’s possible lack of human empathy and redefine the character. Not a home run first issue, but easily a double. Give it a shot.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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