The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?
Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 23 new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.
Since the success of his first film, Iron Man has become the top superhero in the public eye. This has in turn advanced his importance in the Marvel Universe a great deal. He’s now an A-Lister with the attention of editorial, always making sure he’s represented by top talent on his title. With his Marvel Now relaunch, the book has been given to the team of Kieron Gillen and Greg Land. Both are respected creators in the community and in my opinion, both have been highly overrated over the past few years. Gillen’s work on Uncanny X-Men, while providing entertaining action and backdrops, fell short in the character department. Greg Land has been hit and miss for years, his photo-realistic style has at times appearing to resemble painted over photos. So it’s a bit of an understatement that I was not expecting a whole lot from this issue. In fact, I was prepared to want to burn it. But after reading the first installment of Iron Man, I can honestly say that not only was I pleasantly surprised but almost astounded by how I felt about this issue.
Our story begins with some sweeping shots of Iron Man flying over New York as a narration by Tony describes his beliefs (or his lack there of). We then transistion into a Manhattan night club where we see that this narration is actually Stark talking up a hot blonde who’s looking for a good time. It’s also in this scene where we are re-introduced to Pepper Potts, C.E.O. of Stark Resilient and Tony’s guardian angel. We get a glimpse of these characters falling into their usual banter when the story shifts to Buenos Aires where we see a brief appearance from Maya Hansen. And I do mean BRIEF. Turns out that someone (A.I.M.) has forced her to recreate Extremis, her techno virus that in the wrong hands can become a devastating weapon. She gets the message out to Tony who is now on the case to stop Adavanced Idea Mechanics from selling it. He begins by going “under cover” at one of their private weapons auctions. This does not go well and Iron Man comes into play. In the end, Stark finds out how many people have got their hands on Extremis now. The answer is too many if you ask him. It’s up to Shell Head to take care of this mess before some really damage is done.
When one relaunches a book, a writer is usually tempted to retell the origin of the character, sometimes through flashbacks but more often through internal monologues and random discussions between the characters to re-establish the status quo of the title. While there is some of that in this book, most take the full issue for this reintroduction. Thankfully, Gillen spares us of this and does it all in under 6 pages. Not only that but he reveals it through proper character beats instead of hamfisted exposition. Then we’re right into the story. I was impressed with the shock I felt at the AIM Agent’s actions in Buenos Aires. I also thought it was hilarious that Tony can hide in plain sight just by shaving. And what’s more, there was a strong sense of character. The one thing I was worried about more than anything was the best part of this issue. Tony is shown as the futurist dreamer, the quick thinking scientist and the egotistical manchild all within the span of 20 pages. It’s all there. Pepper, although shown as more one demensional here, gets to strut her stuff a bit as well as being the best friend and protector of Tony. Here we get to see her both watch his back and be his one confidant. Overall, a great job of establishing everything without it feeling like a set up book. The weight of the situation is felt and the stakes are high. A great way to kick off a series.
Another great way to kick off a series is with dynamite visuals. I am happy to say that this is the first time I’ve enjoyed Greg Land’s work in a long time. In the past, his work has always felt like a series of static shots with no feeling of connection or story. In this issue, there’s a great sense of story and pacing with the characters feeling connected to one another in each scene. I even thought the attention to facial expression was pretty good.
This is by far the most shocking review I have ever written. I did not think that these two men could change my opinion this much with just one issue. This could be a fluke but I am now willing to buy issue two to find out. I highly recommend that you pick up Iron Man #1 as it is the first GREAT issue of the Marvel Now relaunch.
Check back here tomorrow for my review of Deadpool #1.
So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
Recent Marvel Now Reviews: