Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 – Fun and Fast-Paced Enough to Blur its Many Flaws

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Tony Stark is back with a new company: Stark Unlimited. We join the company with Tony recruiting a new member named Andy Bhang; Bhang is a robotics engineer Tony had met 25 years prior in a robot soccer competition. Tony introduces Andy to the Stark Unlimited team and everything the company is striving towards. During this introduction, Fin Fang Foom emerges from the Atlantic to threaten New York. Iron Man is ready to meet this challenge, but there's something different about Foom this time. Iron Man will have to discern the difference if he is to win the day and save his city.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 cover by Alexander Lozano
Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 cover by Alexander Lozano

Dan Slott's Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 has taken more than a few cues from Brian Michael Bendis' run as well as Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the character. That latter note should come as no surprise given that every interpretation of the character from Kieron Gillen's Marvel NOW! series onward has been riding that wave of success. Bear in mind, I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Tony Stark needed a little more personality than he has been given in the past.

Does it work? Er…yes and no. The unmitigated swagger tempered by a knowledge that a team is better than a solo act is a somewhat fresher take on Stark. It also shows a little character growth. That said, the bombast gets tiresome, and the one-liners are often delivered in choppy sentences that become annoying to read. Yes, we are getting that granular; deliberately varying sentence link is a principle of writing.

The Dan Slott spotty dialogue hasn't magically disappeared since Amazing Spider-Man #800 either. There are many groaners, and it doesn't help that the comic tries to make Stark self-aware of this.

That said, an obnoxiously verbose and self-involved hero might be what Slott needs. His Peter Parker often came off that way, but it didn't have the hint of self-awareness of one's limitations that have come to define the modern Tony Stark.

Also, a giant mech Iron Man fighting Fin Fang Foom is objectively awesome. The resolution to it is a bit groan-worthy, but the path there was fun.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 art by Valerio Schiti and Edgar Delgado
Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 art by Valerio Schiti and Edgar Delgado

Valerio Shciti's artwork gives me mixed feelings. It has the energy and kineticism for which the tone and pacing call, but some panels feel undercooked in terms of detailing. The Iron Man mech is heavily overdesigned, but that simultaneously works and doesn't work. It looks kind of bad, but it fits the ridiculousness of the situation. Foom looks great though. Edgar Delgado's color work is consistently bright and appealing, and Iron Man needs to be bright and colorful.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 is a boisterous and verbose mixed bag that flies forward at such a quick speed that its flaws pass too quickly to leave much of an impact. I'm not sure it's great, but it is fun and even its worse moments aren't as abysmal as some of his Amazing Spider-Man work. Bear in mind, this is just a first issue, and the slower moments going forward will decide whether the book can be genuinely good in the long run. That said, I can recommend it well enough. It's fun, and the art is solid. Feel free to check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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