During Kieron Gillen’s critically up and down run of Marvel NOW’s Iron Man “The Secret Origin of Iron Man” arc, we learn that Tony Stark’s parents are exactly not that. His parents. And, after the end of the world, the loss of a fortune and new outlook on life, Tony Stark is back on the hunt for his real parents. But it may take more than just a walk down memory lane for him to find them.
It begins with a defeat. The Iron Man lays lifeless on the battlefield. Those around him questioning his ability to continue. Then, like most books that begin at the end, we are taken back to a beginning. 20 years earlier. Tony is back in college, working through his Cambridge education, when he meets a beautiful woman. The type of woman who he could only introduce to Daddy-Stark as to purposefully piss him off. She may also be the type of woman whose family could be directly in the line of Hydra fire.
Following the anxious yet highly anticipated release of his All-New, All-Different Invincible Iron Man, Brian Michael Bendis brings us yet another Iron-title. International Iron Man introduces us to another side of the invincible super hero. That of an international man of wonder who only wishes to find his family.
As we move through the pages of Alex Maleev’s art and Bendis’s typically decent writing, you find yourself asking, “Do we really need another Tony Stark centered on-going?” The answer? Not really.
Though Bendis very rarely disappoints, having written one of the most popular Guardians of the Galaxy series since their inception or spurring a television series based off his Icon (Marvel’s creator-owned imprint) series Powers. Iron Man is part of the main All-New, All-Different Avengers, had the inaugural title of the All-New, All-Different line and even stole one of the most prominent characters from the Spider-man universe. Spreading himself (both Tony Stark and Bendis) thinner with yet another Iron Man title is slightly unnecessary.
With that said, International Iron Man is an above par title. It has all the basic requirements of an intriguing, espionage style story. There is a new piece of Tony’s background is examined, giving him an all new air/angle of mystery. Introduces a new character that helped shape Tony into the figure he is today and whom will obviously alter his parental search in the near future. Though there were some basic timeline inconsistencies. Yes, Google did exist 20 years ago, but the idea of “Googling” someone was not so much commonplace. Or sitting at a dinner table and being distracted with one’s cell phone was far from the everyday reality, even for those rich and famous. But, as we know, time in comics is relative. But the little timeline inconsistencies were more momentarily distractions than an actual problems.
Maleev (Lando) portrays the billionaire playboy in a whole new light. The curious, yet non-concerned college student. Long hair, air of confidence but with a hint of shadowed doubt. A large portion (probably in the area of 85%) of the first issue is flashback. And, along with Paul Mounts (Ultimates) dulled color-tones, Tony’s memories unfold with broken faces, emotional connection and pieced together loss. And it all ends with a short, yet precise action sequence.
The art is pleasant, telling the story in fragmented time and the writing consistent with Bendis’s talent. However, is it a necessity at pick-up? That is really up to the type of fan you are. For those itching for a new Bendis title or real Iron Man fans routing for Tony to finally find his real parents, then International Iron Man is worth the pick-up. But if you are a casual reader, already browsing through Invincible Iron Man, save a few dollars or catch up on something a little different. Maybe Bendis’s Spider-Man featuring fan-favorite Miles Morales? (The first two issues now on shelves.)
From a Fan: Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev and Paul Mounts have comes together to make a good read. Not exactly what we would call “required reading”, but a good read nonetheless. For those Iron Man buffs out there, make sure to stop by your local comic shop and pick up International Iron Man #1 today.