Review: IRON MAN #1

IRON MAN #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Greg Land
Release Date: November 7, 2012

Tony Stark comes to Marvel NOW! with a new writer at the helm for the first time in many years. With his runs on Thor, Uncanny X-Men and Journey Into Mystery, Gillen has solidified himself as a top tier superhero writer, will his sharp scripting continue in Iron Man?

Yup. Gillen’s script is solid, introducing new readers to the character and boiling a lot of plot points from Fraction’s run to just the essential pieces of information needed to know where Tony is at in the Marvel Universe. Tony’s trademark wit is on full display in this issue, and he is a playboy to the extreme: a charmer with abundant arrogance and confidence that will inevitably get him into trouble. This Tony Stark is somewhat stereotypical for the character, but this is just the first issue of a writer who has skillfully put his own stamp on many well defined characters including Thor, several X-Men and Loki, so I’m not at all concerned that this Tony Stark will evade Gillen’s style. Gillen uses an inner monologue as an excellent narrative tool to drive parts of the story forward, giving readers a glimpse of what is actually going through the mind of the genius as he is under fire. Gillen has set himself up with an interesting storyline going forward, and, based on this first issue, I am very excited to see where he takes this book next.

Now for Greg Land’s art. My mind is torn on Greg Land’s art, as the pages with Tony in the suit are brilliant. His art, combined with excellent inking from Jay Leisten and vibrant colors from Guru eFX is absolutely explosive whenever the armor is in play. The only problem with what I am saying is that the suit is not always in play. Land’s pencils for Tony’s ‘civilian life’ lack the spark that you can see in the ‘armored’ pages. The sad truth is that the recycled false poses and the fact that every character is perpetually squinting actually make these characters look like lifeless mannequins. The only equivalent I can think of is that these characters look like actors who have had way too much botox and cannot convey any sense of emotion. I’m hoping this doesn’t continue in the next issue, as much of Iron Man is what goes on outside the suit, and that is where the visuals of this book fell apart for me.

Iron Man #1 is a fine example of what Marvel NOW! is meant to be. This has the potential to be a very strong relaunch of a high profile book for Marvel, and Gillen certainly shows he has the skill to be writing a character as visible as Iron Man. The art did detract from my overall enjoyment of the book in places, but certainly didn’t doom the entire issue. This is a solid start to what I hope is an enjoyable series.

Verdict: 7.0/10

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