Invincible Iron Man #1 review


Saw the Iron Man movie and craving for more? Well, Marvel’s got you covered with Invincible Iron Man #1, the first issue of Iron Man’s brand new series. Now I know there are probably two questions forming in your head right now: 1) is it anything like the movie and 2) is it good? The answer to both is yes… with a few caveats.

The best thing about this issue is its accessibility. That’s right, new readers: you don’t need to read a hundred other comics to figure out what’s going on. You don’t even have to see the movie to figure it out! Everything you need to know about Iron Man is peppered throughout the issue. Fans of the movie will no doubt be pleased to see several familiar faces, such as Jim Rhodes (a.k.a. Rhodey) and Pepper Potts, in familiar roles: Pepper is still Tony’s personal secretary, while Rhodey still works for the military, but in a different capacity (he trains people with superpowers). There are of course a few differences: for example, Rhodey has his own armor now and both Pepper and Tony look a little older than they did in the movie. But none of the changes are too jarring: In a way, it’s kind of like watching the beginning of Iron Man 2.

Anyway, onto the plot. A group of children who’ve been cybernetically-altered into human bombs detonate in Tabora, Tanzania, killing 98 people in less than two seconds. This draws the attention of the peacekeeping/counterterrorist agency known as SHIELD, currently lead by one Tony Stark, a.k.a. the armored superhero Iron Man. Stark dons his Iron Man armor and leads a raid on the most-likely suspect, a terrorist cell in the Congo called A.G.M.,  but the real culprit is Ezekiel Stane, the brilliant son of Iron Man’s old foe, Obadiah Stane (yup, the guy from the movie). Ezekiel plans to take the concept of “Iron Man” to the next level by upgrading human bodies with advanced technology… including his own.

So we’ve got ourselves a fairly intriguing plot, a good grasp on the characters, and a fairly intriguing villain. Writer Matt Fraction obviously enjoys writing Ezekiel, a slick twenty-something with an incredibly messed-up moral code (he thinks addicting kids with cigarettes is evil, but he’s okay with mass slaughter and manufacturing weapons for terrorists? What?). He’s also one of the few supervillains we know of with a girlfriend, which I thought was a clever touch. It’s not entirely clear yet what his motives are, but they’ll no doubt be revealed in future issues.

While Fraction does seem to enjoy writing Ezekiel, he thankfully doesn’t get carried away with him; this is Iron Man’s comic after all. To Fraction’s credit, most of the issue focuses on Tony and, for the most part, he’s very much in-character. My only complaint is that Tony seems a little egotistical when describing his five personal nightmares: for example, instead of being concerned about his technology falling into the wrong hands, he seems more concerned about his technology being used by anyone OTHER than him (save Rhodey). Furthermore, when he describes his final nightmare on the last page, he seems more concerned with obsolescence than the fact that almost 100 people were killed by technology resembling his own.

Other than that, the writing’s pretty solid. Fraction’s got a good handle on Iron Man’s relationship with Pepper and Rhodey, laced with his trademark humor. Spiffy thought the issue felt short, but I thought the pacing was okay.

I’ve talked a lot about the writing, but the artwork is definitely worth noting. Salvador Larocca does a great job drawing the tech in this issue, and Frank D’Armata’s and the late Stephane Peru’s colors really come through in the scenes with the holograms. Speaking of Peru, kudos to the creative team for dedicating the issue to him; Peru left us way too soon.

 As for the rest of the art, I think Larocca falters a little when it comes to faces. I know he’s been using a lot of photo-referencing lately, and while I’m not sure he based the characters’ looks off of any celebrities (since I usually don’t notice these things), there is something a little artificial about their expressions. As usual, Larocca’s pencils aren’t inked, but the art doesn’t seem to suffer from it as it sometimes has on Larocca’s other projects.

Well, I’ve gone on long enough. All in all, this series is off to a good start. So if you liked the Iron Man movie or are just interested in seeing what old Shellhead’s been up to, give this comic a look.

Rating: Goki’s Fly is DOWN


3 Responses to “Invincible Iron Man #1 review”

  1. spiffyithaca Says:

    Yeah I definitely agree with Larocca. His art is terrific when dealing with the tech and the Iron Man suit, which is obviously needed, but some other stuff was just too weird or overdone.

    A shame about Stephane Peru. RIP.

    Good point about Stark’s 5 nightmares. I kept waiting for it to be his tech in the wrong hands, but Fraction for some reason weaseled around that with similar things but not flat out saying that, which should have been his #1.

    And yeah, I just didn’t think I got enough bang for my buck with this issue, like you mentioned. Maybe I just wasn’t as interested as you were. Oh well. You gonna keep going with the title?

  2. gokitalo Says:

    I think so, at least for another issue. It had its flaws, but most of them are easily fixable.

  3. Goki’s Giving Judgment- May 2008 « Goki’s Giving Groin Says:

    […] Invincible Iron Man #1: Fly DOWN (review HERE) […]

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