Tony Stark is dead and gone.  Long live Arno Stark, the Iron Man of 2020!  Your Major Spoilers review of Iron Man 2020 #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!

IRON MAN 2020 #1

Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Artist: Pete Woods
Colorist: Carlos Lao
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 15, 2020

Previously in Iron Man 2020: Blah The future is now!  Artificial Intelligences presents a clear and present danger to humanity and must be brought to heel!  The Robot Rebellion battles for the establishment of robot rights!

And Arno Stark IS Iron Man!


As our story begins, Arno Stark is in space, facing down a strange alien creature that informs him that all the “new lifeforms made by man” will be consumed, followed by the men.  He prepares to fight it off, only to realize that he’s floating naked in space…  When he awakens from his dream, he realizes that he has to speed up his preparations.  After a quick breakfast with his resurrected parents (whom he’s treating with a subtle cruelty after their decision to leave him for years in a life-support machine), he sets out to deal with the first emergency of the day, an uprising of LMDs on a construction site.  Weirdly and/or awesomely, they’re all Nick Fury, and Iron Man 2020 deals with them decisively and destructively, then gives an interview about how no “real” beings were hurt.  Elsewhere Arno’s partner Sunset Bain continues to disassemble what Tony Stark had built, to the point where she has taken Jocasta offline for a diagnostic, treating her like nothing more than another device.  In order to draw out the Robot Rebellion, Arno buys a cybernetics firm and destroys it spectacularly, leading Machine Man to retaliate by… capturing a hospital and threatening the newborn ward?


Honestly, it’s hard to like either the designated hero or the “villains” he’s trying to track down in this issue, as Aaron “Machine Man” Stack has returned to his angry nextwave personality and threatens to murder dozens of babies, while Arno is a cavalier jerk throughout the story.  I was sort of checking out of things until the final page reveal of who helping Aaron to run the A.I. uprising, which makes a big change to my expectations and the status quo.  This issue also ends with a checklist of how this story is going to play out across several series, including Ironheart, a revived Force Works book and something called iWolverine, which I think may be bringing back Albert, Logan’s robot double.  I really love Pete Woods’ art in these pages, especially the heavily militarized, obviously-a-villain new armor that Arno has chosen to wear in the field, but his body language and facial expressions are top-notch.  The art moves back and forth from drama to humor and back with the script, never losing a step even when the story makes unexpected twists and turns.


The obvious metaphor of A.I. as a disposable population that can be treated horribly is a little bit overplayed, for my tastes, especially Bain and Arno’s complete disregard of robots and androids in a universe that you’d have expected to be more progressive about such things.  Even so, Iron Man 2020 #1 pulls it all together into a workable story even with the wobbly moments around a hero threatening to kill dozens of innocents to achieve his goals, with some impresive art and a lot of things to love, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  Though I’m a little bit worried that this is a big multi-series crossover and not the six-issue miniseries I had thought it was, I’m interested enough in Slott’s big Iron Man tale to see where it’s all going.

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IRON MAN 2020 #1

A Lot Of Fun

Arno's crusade against A.I. is interesting, his clearly evil intentions are fun, and the reveal of the leader of the Robot Rebellion is more surprising than it should be. Add in impressive art, and you've got a winner.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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