In a fun bit of continuity cohesion, events from the Miles Morales book mixed together with elements of the last Infinity Gems crossover to create a neat, seemingly self-contained event (no tie-ins!) that kicks off with a bang. Tony Stark makes a great showing of the justifications for his ego and his ability to fight for what's right in an extra-sized issue that gives you everything you'll need in its pages.
Things start off with a kind of Tribbles situation as the aforementioned teenaged Spider-Man, and the Armored Avenger face off against a problem where their fists are not the best tool for the job. Then, in a great moment of characterization, Stark revealed why certain heroes seem to handle certain problems and get a malevolent intelligence called the Assessor on his radar. With some methods of investigation that bend the rules if not shattering them altogether, this all leads to some very big set pieces and a kind of chess game of intellects where Iron Man is willing to take some hits to get the job done.
Jed MacKay does it again with a spandex-tight job of scripting, wonderfully balancing the lead character's self-aggrandizing tendencies with the heart of a repentant hero. There are some pretty tough visual sequences here (that tunnel one could have been a mess), but the art team of Ibraim Roberson, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Vic Caramagna nail every detail and will likely have you flipping back through the pages to marvel (no pun intended) at how they did it.
Even if you never continue with the larger meta-story, you have a whole and satisfying body of work here that does not fail to satisfy. RATING: BUY.
Iron Man Annual #1
By Jed MacKay, Ibraim Roberson
IRON MAN VERSUS QUANTUM! When Iron Man learns about the strange people who kidnapped and tortured Miles Morales, he HAS to look into it. What he finds out about the Assessor and especially Quantum will shock him and you! Don't miss this in depth look at some of the coolest new villains and the groundwork laid for major future Marvel stories! ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Part 1 (of 8) of 'Super-Spy vs. Super-Spy'- Nick Fury is Agent of Nothing and Phil Coulson is Agent of Mephisto. For the first time since Coulson came back from the dead, these two brothers-in-arms will face off.