Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev, Paul Mounts
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016

It has to be just a little bit of a letdown when the ending of International Iron Man #5 finally arrived since, for all the built up tension over even touching Stark’s family ties, the end result isn’t exactly what many suspected. Or, that is to say, they are not shaping up to be what was expected right now. Much in the same way that the events of Captain America – Steve Rogers #1 needed to be experienced across multiple comics before understanding the whole point, the partial revelation of Stark’s mother is obviously going to be part of a longer story.

Maybe the reveal that was presented, as mundane as it is for right now, is the right one. At the very least, some rather humorous theories have begun brewing over who Stark’s father is. Bendis even poked fun at this concept right before Tony was shown reading the documents which lead to the reunion with his mother.

Outside of the tension over Stark’s parentage, the rest of the comic was more of a wrap-up to the story involving Cassandra, a plot that ended on a whimper. While the mandroid forces are undone easily (heck, too easily), Cassandra herself at least is allowed to put up a smidgen of a fight before being defeated so that the plot could shift gears towards the “big reveal.” Sadly, Cassandra and the mandroids almost feel like they were preemptively cut out of the story so that Bendis could hurry up to the content he was more interested in writing. Thankfully, the start of the comic reveals an intriguing depiction of a young Stark during Howard’s funeral. Bendis provides insight into what and who Howard was to Tony, thus making is more fascinating to know how he will react to his biological father’s reveal. Bendis seems to be angling for Stark to come to the conclusion that, biological or not, Howard was indeed Tony’s father, despite everything between them, but he could throw readers a curve.

Maleev’s art is great for certain aspects of the comic, from the design of Tony’s armor to the clicking and inter-locking elements of metal and light. Maleev’s art shines best in rich details, and Bendis certainly affords room for these elements to be present. Alas, some panels involving an action-packed car sequence come out as being flat and lifeless, although other moments (one involving a villain going through a windshield) come out on top as the dynamic winner of the whole comic. The colors and textures used have great weight during the opening and closing of the issue, yet they feel a little muddled in the middle. While Stark’s armor benefits from a rich color scheme, the rest of the landscape of the story isn’t as demanding on the palette.

International Iron Man #5 does not deliver the kind of bombshell some were expecting, but that does not mean that there is not tremendous room for Bendis to showcase his talents as a storyteller in future issues. While I doubt that Red Skull is going to be Tony’s biological father, the tension and excitement over who is will be something to keep coming back to this series for.

The Verdict: 7.0/10


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