Review: TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1

TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Valerio Schiti, Edgar Delgado, Joe Caramagna
Edited by Alanna Smith, Tom Brevoort
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 20, 2018

Tony Stark is back in the Iron Man armor, and he’s brought a whole new title with him. Written by Dan Slott, drawn by Valerio Schiti, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by Joe Caramagna, Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 opens with a story set in the past that informs the present and fuels the future of Dan Slott’s debut crafting the adventures of the armored Avenger.

The first part of the “Self-Made Man” story arc, “What’s the Big Idea?” gives readers thirty pages of action and armor, under an armored cover of their choice. Sort of. The variants for Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 number somewhere in the twenties. If your LCS ordered the lot, you might have your choice of your favorite armor. I know I got mine.

The story inside is the same: equal parts ego and armor. Slott’s take on Stark is parallel to the way Robert Downey, Jr. plays Tony Stark in the movies, but he’s missing some of the charm Downey brings to the character. I’m sure the charm will show, but in the thirty pages of Tony Stark: Iron Man #1, Slott introduces a supporting cast (including James Rhodes, Jocasta, Bethany Cabe, and newcomer Andy Bhang), a subtle wrinkle in the timeline of Tony Stark’s past, and a new corporate headquarters for Stark. Charm might be an issue or two away.

Missing charm is just about the worst offense I can levy against Tony Stark: Iron Man #1, as Slott packs the issue with characters and concepts certain to fill minds with wonder and maybe even a little awe. Jocasta makes up for Stark’s lost charm, however, and appears set to be a wonderful addition to the supporting cast.

The first foe Iron Man fights in this new title is a Fin Fang Fun Foe. The battle presents the latitude to experiment with Stark tech and roll out a couple new armor concepts and designs. There is a more sinister villain at work in the shadows, and Slott kicks off a mystery for Stark Unlimited, but lets readers in on the development on the final page of the issue.

Schiti’s work is as expected – bloody freaking brilliant. The three-panel page of Fin Fang Foom emerging from the depths is masterful, and worthy of framing, should it actually exist (as opposed to simply being digital). On this page, Caramagna makes his presence known, busting out a balloon shattering “FOOM!” with jagged lines and rich red, so wonderfully constructed that it appears to be an homage to John Workman.

The visuals throughout Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 are top-to-bottom captivating. Schiti shakes up the camera angles and keeps the storytelling smooth and sharp. He varies his panel sizing and shape throughout the story, even popping characters and panels out of other panels on occasion, always to great effect and never detracting from the pace of the adventure.

There are all sorts of effects sprinkled throughout the issue, from gradients to zipatone to glows. Iron Man’s armors are bright and unapologetic. Jocasta shines like polished chrome. Fin Fang Foom is scaly, not unlike a certain other king of the monsters might be depicted. And it all works together in a sea of technology, wave-filled water, and business (and casual-yet-worn-to-work) attire. The art team of Schiti and Delgado bring it all. With one small shortcoming. At several points throughout the issue (at least in the digital version) skin tones trend a little too closely together. Specifically, Bethany Cabe, Tony Stark and Andy Bhang all have the same skin tone. While it’s possible, I suppose, it’s not likely, and indicates a bit of a rush perhaps. It’s almost a minor complaint, to be sure, and could mostly be written off as lighting choices, but the most notable instance of this overlap is on the page where Stark and Bhang arrive at Stark Unlimited, where the lighting is fairly equal across the spread.

Out of the block, there are a few spots for improvement present in Tony Stark: Iron Man #1, but for the most part it works. And it works nicely. This comic, despite its nearly prohibitive price tag, is a wonderful introduction to Tony Stark, Iron Man, Stark Unlimited, and Dan Slott’s tenure on one of Marvel’s most recognizable properties. It offers a little more for readers more versed with Iron Man’s mythology prior to this issue, but there’s plenty here for everyone. It’s been a little while since I’ve enjoyed – and even had fun – reading an Iron Man comic. I’m hoping there’s less time in between now and the next occurrence. I’ll let you know once Tony Stark: Iron Man #2 comes out.

Oh. And my favorite Iron Man armor? The Silver Centurion.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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