Iron Man #1

by BradBabendir on November 09, 2012

            Somewhere, Stan Lee is feeling all right again.

            Marvel’s former writer, president, publisher and general everyman had to have been quietly cursing the Marvel NOW!’s books that have been released, as the storied comic book company had shown little justification, in terms of high-quality comic books, for wasting a summer and imploding a universe.

            But things aren’t the same. Not anymore.

            Because now we have Iron Man #1, and I’m just going to call it “the book that changed everything.”

            The opening pages are beautiful and poignant, but not forced. Tony Stark isn’t the mouthpiece for idealism, and the opening monologue isn’t idealist: it’s human, and it’s real. The art is as striking as the words, and the combination of the two is plainly powerful and moving.

            Writer Kieron Gillen (Uncanny X-Men, AvX Consequences) juggles Stark’s inner demons with his fascinating bravado very well, and throughout the book enables thoughtful introspection without contriving too much. Gillen also handles the tough task of not boring older readers while being welcoming to newer ones.

            The action is good. A sufficient number of things and such go up in flames and all that good stuff, but I’ll reemphasize that the character is better. Tony Stark isn’t interesting because of the ways that he’s different than everyone; he’s interesting because of the ways that, in spite of those differences, he’s the same. And Gillen knows that. The book plays off of the hero’s insecurities and fears, his complicated worldview, and continuing to come to grips with the direction that his life headed and will continue to head. It’s a character study, and an incredibly intriguing one.

            Unfortunately, and I don’t much care to dance around this, Greg Land can’t draw people for shit. He just can’t. Every face, especially Starks, looks utterly ridiculous. It’s horrible.

            Fortunately, the Iron Man suit looks beautiful, and there are definitely breathtaking pages within the book, specifically the opening two and some towards the end of the fight scene. It’s the shit in the middle that’s the problem, but if Gillen’s writing stays as strong as it is everything that isn’t a person stays beautiful, I’ll be alright.

            Marvel NOW! is beginning to show me, and maybe everyone, exactly why it’s important that they jumbled things around. It might actually prove to be a good thing.

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