It is finally here. Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 returns the one true Iron Man back to his rightful position in the 616 Universe. Iron Man is easily my all-time favorite Marvel character. It has been that way since I was 6 years old. There are only two franchises where I have a complete run of the comics. Legion of Super Heroes and Iron Man. So, to say that I have been anxiously awaiting Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 would be a massive understatement.
Marvel is finally in the process of trying to roll back as much fo the All New All Different titles that they can in response to their plunging sales numbers and hemorrhaging of readers over the past several years. It is wonderful to have Tony Stark back where he belongs.
The creative team of Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti is not one that I would have selected for an Iron Man title. Having said that, both men are still capable of doing a fine job on this new title. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Tony Stark – Iron Man #1.
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Valerio Schiti
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin 25 years ago at the International Robot Soccer Championship. Bhang Robotics is running some last minute system checks. One of their robots feebly kicks the soccer ball and then falls over. The robot then stands up. Bhang Robotics are excited over the fact that their robot was able to stand back up in 3.5 seconds. It is a new League record.
The referee asks pre-teen Tony Stark if he is ready for the championship game to start. Tony is ready. The referee starts the game. Tony presses a button on his controller and the song “Ya’ll ready for this?!” starts playing. Tony’s robots are far more advanced and play soccer as well as Ronaldo and Messi combined. We see one of Tony’s robots scoring a goal with a Pelé kick.
Bhang Robotics are crushed. They say that Tony’s robots are decades ahead of them. Team Stark wins the championship over Bhang Robotics by the score of 24–0. Tony hoists the trophy over his head. Tony’s mom tells him that nobody likes a showoff. Tony replies that nobody likes a winner. (That…is actually true.)
We shift to present day. We see Bhang in his workshop at his house. The is still working with robotics. We see an Iron Man themed Lamborghini Aventador pull up outside of Bhang’s house. Tony Stark steps out of the Lambo.
Tony asks if Andy Bhang recognizes him. Bhang remembers Tony from their championship game 25 years ago. Tony says that Bhang has been doing a great job changing the world with Bhang’s new research in individual A.I. solving group tasks without any established hierarchy.
Bhang says that he calls it Idea-Based Structuring or I.B.S. for short. Tony says that I.B.S. is a terrible name since it makes you think of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Tony says that they will have to change the name.
Bhang says that his research is all about the team over the individual ego. That is something Tony would not understand. Tony says that he has changed. That he was stuck in a cave and the only way out was to work with someone.
Tony reveals that he has purchased Bhang’s work from Bhang’s investors. Actually, Tony reveals that he bought Bhang’s entire company. (What?! No. It doesn’t work that way. There is no way Tony could have purchased Bhang’s entire company without his knowledge. This is so dumb.)
Tony says “Welcome to Team Stark.” Tony asks Bhang to come with him to Stark Unlimited’s HQ.
We cut to Washington Square Park where Stark Unlimited’s HQ is located. We see Tony’s Aventador flying through the air. Bhang is still freaking out that he is in a flying car. They land on the helipad on top of Stark Unlimited’s HQ.
Bethany Cabe is there to greet Tony with all the personality fo a junkyard dog. (Oh, yay. I guess this is how Slott is going to make sure we know that Bethany is “strong.”) We learn that Bethany is the head of security at Stark Unlimited. Bethany barks at Tony for parking on the roof with an unvetted person. Bethany threatens to vaporize Bhang just to teach Tony a lesson. (Yippie. So glad it appears that Slott has never read a story starring Bethany Cabe in it.)
Bethany does a full body scan of Bhang and then says that he is clear. Bethany mentions how the missing hardware, schematics, and files have been happening the past few days and she is determined to end that ASAP.
Tony and Bhang then enter Stark Unlimited HQ. Tony walks Bhang past some of their various research such as breathable water trials, anti-gravity ping-pong, talking cats and talking dogs living together, etc.
The men then arrive at the Robotics Division. The doors open and Tony Stark steps out and shakes Bhang’s hand. The Tony that had been with Bhang then disappears. Tony reveals that it was just a hologram. That Tony is too busy to leave his headquarters.
Tony ushers Bhang into the Foundry. We see various old Iron Man suits of armor like the Silver Centurion, the original grey Iron Man armor and such. Bhang sees a motionless Jocasta and mistakes her for a female Iron Man suit of armor.
Jocasta springs to life and says that she is a robotic life-form and that she is Bhang’s superior. Jocasta clarifies that she means that she is Bhang’s boss. Jocasta says that she is the Chief Robotic Ethicist. Jocasta says that humans and robots are all machines. (Um, wrong. No. Humans have souls and are created by nature. Machines are have no souls, are artificial and are created by humans.)
Jocasta says that she is here to ensure that any being endowed with sentience and free will is not enslaved. (An android is in charge of the ethics involving creating robots? That sounds like a really bad idea. Like the kind of stuff that leads to the creation of HAL 9000 and Skynet.)
Tony then suggests they run Bhang’s I.B.S. program with Stark’s robots. Bhang notices that Stark has already made some improvements to Bhang’s code. Tony wants to give them a random task that they have never encountered. Tony has set up a fake birthday party. They want to have the robots wrap the presents, hang streamers, and decorate the cake. Tony wants the robots autonomous with no established hierarchy.
We zip to four minutes later and see that the fake party is in flames and the Stark Robots have destroyed everything. Tony comments that their test did not go well. Jocasta tells Tony that she will be filing reports to both human and robotic resources. (Huhbutwhat? Why?! This makes no sense. And I can tell that Slott is going to be determined to make Jocasta as stupid and annoying as possible.)
Mercifully, a danger warning goes off and rescues us from his so far dull and stupid story. Tony, Jocasta, and Bhang run off to the Stark Unlimited Command Center. Tony explains that this is a 3F warning. Bhang asks if that is like tornado warnings that run from 1F to 5F. Tony replies that if this was a tornado warning it would be F3. That a 3F warning is for something ancient and dangerous. Tony is informed that the warning is coming from Southeast of Manhattan. Tony says that a 3F warning means Fin Fang Foom.
We cut to the harbor and see Fin Fang Foom rising out of the water. Tony contacts Rhodey and tells him to get him military clearance to deal with Foom. During this we learn that Rhodey is Tony’s official liaison with the military. Tony then launches his counter-measures.
We see Tony’s submersible surface and air repulser cannons arriving on the scene and attacking Foom. Jocasta radios the Stark Ships near Foom. She tells hem that if any of them are approaching levels of self-awareness that they are free to disengage at will. Over. (Yeah. This is going to get incredibly annoying really fast. They are machines. Machines are sent in so human lives don’t have to be lost. And the machines are fighting Foom so, yeah, damage is gonna happen.)
We see Tony flying off to the scene in a hi-tech ship. Rhodey contacts Tony and tells him that the military has granted Tony clearance. We see Tony arrive next to Foom. Tony’s ship then transforms into a giant Gundam-styled Iron Man suit. (Yes!! This!! More of this please!!)
Gundam Iron Man and Foom start brawling. We cut to Stark Unlimited HQ where Bhang is watching the fight and freaking out at how awesome all of this is. We see Rhodey on a tele-screen saying to Bhang, “You! Rookie! Rein it in. NOW!” (Wait, why would Rhodey just be sitting there on a screen? And why would he yell at Bhang for him getting excited. And why would he call an old man, “Rookie?” This is all so stupid.)
A young scientist tells Bhang that it is all pretty awesome but for Bhang to play it cool.
We cut back to Gundam Iron Man battling Foom. Foom damages the Gundam Iron Man armor. So, Tony ejects and decides that his regular Iron Man armor is a better choice. That bigger is not always better. And that this situation calls for a scalpel.
We shift back to Stark Unlimited HQ. Bhang tells Jocasta that Tony is trying to create a weak spot on Foom’s hide like the one that Smaug had. Jocasta replies, “Smog?” Bhang says that Smaug is from the Hobbit. Jocasta then says she is unfamiliar with the expression. She then downloads the Hobbit across all media. She then says that this is like Smaug. Jocasta says that the book was enjoyable but that stretching it into three books was too much. (Unnecessary and unoriginal nerd references.)
We hop back to Iron Man battling Foom. Iron Man fires a micro-pod at Foom’s weak spot. We see the pod releasing a Nano Iron Man. (Seriously! More of this stuff! Please!) Tony says that he is controlling the Nano Iron Man remotely and that he is still in his regular Iron Man armor. The Nano Iron Man heads for Foom’s brain. Tony believes that someone is controlling Foom’s mind. He thinks this is the case due to Foom not talking at all during the battle.
The Nano Iron Man gets overwhelmed by anti-bodies before it can get to Foom’s brain. Bhang asks why Tony only brought one Nano Iron Man suit of armor instead of thousands. Tony says that he could not get all fo the nano Iron Man suits to work together in tandem. Bhang says that the robots do not need a complicated command structure. Just a beat. Something to syncopate to. That is how Tony won 25 years ago.
Bhang asks Jocasta to download something off the net. Jocasta says that first, Bhang must follow the proper ethical protocol. Bhang says, “Um…please?” (Lord. Make it stop. This stopped being entertaining before it started.) Bhang then asks Jocasta to broadcast it through the lead nanobot’s speaker system.
Suddenly, we hear “Y’all ready for this?!” playing through the speaker system. Bhang says that all of these years he thought Tony was just showing off back then. But, it was never about flair or style. It was a feature. (Why…..why wouldn’t Tony already know to do this if it is something he invented 25 years ago?)
Tony then launches thousands of other Nano Iron Men and they all work in concert through the music. Tony gets to Foom’s brain and sees a control disk. Tony destroys it with a Pelé kick for old times’ sake.
Foom suddenly gains control over his own mind. He is indignant that someone tried to control his mind. Foom says that he is no one’s pawn or plaything. Foom then heads back out to sea.
We cut to Stark Unlimited’s HQ. Tony is in the medical bay. Bethany says that medical scanners says that he will be okay from his injuries he sustained in the fight. (So Bethany is Chief of Security and Head Nurse, too?)
Bethany tells Tony that they had another breach during Foom’s attack. It was an on-site hack. Tony said that someone used Foom as a distraction. Bethany says that they need to keep this information under wraps. Rhodey agrees with Bethany.
We then shift to Tony at a news conference. Jocasta is there with him wearing a pant suit. (Why?!) Tony says that the Foom crisis is over and that Stark Solutions is already hard at work on the cleanup. Tony then asks for questions.
A reporter asks if the new approach of Big-Medium-Small Iron Man suits is the wave of the future. Tony says that Nesting Doll Iron Man is not a thing. That it is not his plan for the future. Reporters ask if nanite technology or living metal are the future for Iron Man armors going forward. One reporter asks what this year’s model is going to be.
Tony says that he has it right here. All they have to do is say his name. The reporters start yelling “Tony Stark.” Tony then asks a little boy, “Who am I?” (Why is there a 6 year old kid at a press conference?!) The little boy says, “You’re Iron Man!”
Tony says that this is Iron Man as he points to his mind. It is not a suit. Iron Man is an idea. Every changing. only limited by their imagination. That Iron Man is an idea that we all share at Stark Unlimited. A curtain with different Iron Man armor on it. The curtain is pulled back and we see 11 Stark Unlimited employees standing. This includes Rhodey, Bethany, Jocasta, and Bhang. (This group shot of Tony and his 11 employees is perfectly balanced between 6 men and 6 women. Amazing.)
Tony then says that it is all of them. That they are Team Stark. That “We. Are. Iron Man.” (Gross. No. Tony is Iron Man. The rest are his employees.) Bhang says, “Heh. I’m working for Tony Stark.” Jocasta retorts, “Technically you’re working for me, Mr. Bhang. A robot. is that acceptable?” (Oh, for fuck’s sake. Enough already. We get it already. Slott is hell bent on making me hate Jocasta’s character.) Bhang responds that after 25 years it is great to be on the winning team. (That’s a depressing note on which to end this issue.)
But, it is not the end. We get one final page that says “Definitely not the end.” We see the Controller sitting in his secret lair. The Controller says that Tony is smart and has seen the Controller’s disk in Foom’s brain. That Tony knows that the Controller is behind everything. (Well, if Tony had recognized the disk because it was so obvious then why didn’t he immediately exclaim “Guys! It’s one of the Controller’s disks! He is behind this plan!”)
The Controller says that the only question is does Tony know how the Controller is playing him. We see a shadowy figure appear and tell Controller that they have the plans for Tony’s pet project: The eSCAPE.
The Controller says that he knew that if anyone could bypass Stark’s security then it would be the person who designed it. We then see that the shadowy figure is Bethany Cabe. Bethany is under the Controller’s mind control. End of issue.
The Good: Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 was a pedestrian read. It is unfortunately because there is a kernel of an actual interesting and entertaining story buried in this issue. Unfortunately, that cool story is buried under a thick layer of Slott’s annoying and unintelligent writing.
Look, there is a lot to praise with Tony Stark – Iron Man #1. No doubt. the problem is that Slott could have cranked a home run with this basic idea that he has constructed for this relaunch of the Iron Man franchise. It had all the necessary ingredients present. Sadly, Slott terribly bungled the execution to the point that we ended up with a single.
The plotting and pacing on Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 was excellent. Slott moved the story forward with a clear purpose in mind. The scene transitions were smooth. The issue is a nice blend of dialogue heavy scenes focused on world building and action heavy scenes. Slott covered a lot of ground in this debut issue. There was certainly plenty of content for the reader in this issue. This was not a decompressed story at all.
Slott clearly knows the basic tasks that a writer must deliver with a debut issue of a new title. Slott has a big task with Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 with having to completely restart the Iron Man franchise after the All New All Different debacle. And Slott does it well.
Slott quickly introduces Tony Stark and all of his supporting cast including Bhang, Jocasta, Bethany, and Rhodey. Slott also preforms the necessary world building for this new direction for the Iron Man franchise with the unveiling of Stark Unlimited. Slott does a great job clearly conveying Stark Unlimited’s structure and its purpose.
Slott then wastes no time introducing the main conflict for this issue with Fin Fang Foom. Slott also installs the long term plot line involving the The Controller who has stolen Tony’s plans for The eSCAPE.
Slott’s choice for the shot term villain in Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 was a great one. Fin Fang Foom is a wonderful classic Iron Man villain. I always love it when the big dragon makes an appearance.
Slott’s choice for the villain of the long term story arc on this title was also an excellent one. The Controller is a cool classic Iron Man villain who first appeared way back in Iron Man #12 in 1969. I dig that Slott decided to utilize such an old school Iron Man villain for this opening story arc of this new title. It is wise to incorporate some of Iron Man’s rich history when kicking off a brand new direction for the franchise. It is always more enjoyable when a writer combines something brand new with something that is steeped in history.
Slott also clearly conveys to the reader the mission statement of this title going forward. Slott lets the reader know what they can expect from this title on a monthly basis. The reader understands that this title is going to be an action/adventure title that is heavy on wild Sci-Fi concepts which an emphasis on bright and positive stories. All of this work by Slott helps to distinguish Tony Stark – Iron Man from all of the other super hero titles on the market.
And best of all, Slott does all of this in a very new reader friendly fashion. A reader does not need to know anything at all about Tony Stark’s history in order to completely understand and enjoy what is going on in Tony Stark – Iron Man #1. This is vitally important. Debut issues should be as accessible to as wide a range of readers as possible.
Slott assembles a fantastic supporting cast. As a die-hard and long-time Iron Man reader it is great to see some of my all-time favorites in this issue. Bethany Cabe is a wonderful character. I am thrilled to see her in the pages of this comic. Bethany’s role as Chief of Security is a good fit for her character. Bethany has always been a skilled combatant and she has served in this role before.
Of course, I love Rhodey. You just cannot have an Iron Man title without Rhodey as a supporting character. Rhodey’s role as Military Liaison is another logical choice.
Jocasta is another excellent character. I have always loved Jocasta. Or at least I used to until this issue. More on that later. At any rate, when written properly, Jocasta is a wonderful character. Also, Jocasta, with her background with Ultron and Hank Pym, is an excellent fit for a wild imagination Sci Fi title like Tony Stark – Iron Man.
Bhang was an important character and a smart literary tool that Slott employed to help make Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 new reader friendly. Slott uses Bhang as a stand-in for the reader. Bhang being introduced to Stark Unlimited, it’s goals, projects, objectives, and employees are all an effective way to deliver the world building, the mission statement, and the supporting cast in an entertaining and effective manner. Tony’s dialogue is Slott talking to the reader through Bhang’s character. This is a smart tactic to use. Also, Bhang’s amazed reactions top everything cue the reader to also be excited and amazed at the possibilities with Slott’s new direction for the Iron Man franchise.
Skirt does a nice job with the world building in creating a good foundation and setting for this relaunch of the Iron Man franchise. I dig the concept of Stark Unlimited. The use of the word “Unlimited” in the company’s name is key. This helps to emphasize the “anything is possible” vibe of this title. I love how Slott takes the reader in a tour of Stark Unlimited and shows off all the crazy and wild tech. It is stuff like this that is the reason why I love comic books so much. I also like that Slott has Stark Unlimited constructed more like a think tanks than an industrial manufacturer like so many of Tony’s prior corporations. It helps to give Stark Unlimited a more contemporary flavor.
I also like the concept of Stark Solutions. Slott only mentions it in passing, but it is a good idea with plenty of potential. It makes sense that Tony would create a company designed to help deal with the aftermath and the damage that super hero fights leave on a city. I would love to learn more about Stark Solutions. I hope that Slott gives this company some attention in future issues.
The highlights of Tony Stark – Unlimited #1 is when Slott gets away from hammering the reader over the head with messages and focuses just on entertainment and crazy Sci Fi concepts. The two best examples of this would be the Gundam Iron Man armor and the Nano Iron Man armor.
I loved both of these new Iron Man concepts! I absolutely freaked out over seeing Tony’s ship transform into the Gundam Iron Man armor. I adore Gundam and I adore Iron Man. So, a mash-up of the two was a fun geek-out moment for me.
The Nano Iron Man armor was an equally cool concept. I dig that Slott had Tony in his normal armor while remote controlling the Nano Iron Man armors. This type of flexibility is what makes Iron Man a character with nearly limitless possibilities.
I am definitely looking forward to more wild Iron Man armor concepts from Slott. This is one of the biggest advantages of an Iron Man title. Hopefully, Slott will seize on this and continue to entertain us with different Iron Man armors in the future.
Valerio Schiti is solid but not anything special. The best panels from Schiti would be the ones involving Foom. Schiti does draw a great looking Foom. I also appreciate that Schiti was able to deliver such a wonderfully accurate drawing of a Lamborghini Aventador. That type of attention to detail is always appreciated.
The Bad: What makes Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 so frustrating is that Slott has some really cool ideas in this issue that could make for such a fun and exciting read. It would be much easier to write this issue off if there was little to no value anywhere in the story. But, there is enough here to make the reader realize how great this story could be if only Slott could just get out of his own way. Sadly, Slott cannot help being himself and this story is so riddled with ham-fisted character work, beating the reader over the head with a message, and a stunning lack of internal logic.
The character work across the board was poor. None of the characters have anything that resembles a well fleshed out personality. All of the characters are presented as one-dimensional caricatures rather then actual characters. That is what happens when a writer writes to get across a message rather than writing to just tell a good story.
Bethany Cabe is presented as a one-dimensional bulldog. Why? Because Slott wants to make sure you clearly understand that Bethany is a STRONG™️ female character. Long time readers already know that Bethany is kick-ass. And new readers will get the hint just by the fact that she is serving as Chief of Security that she has to be pretty kick-ass. From there Slott can show the reader how cool Bethany is rather then giving us Bethany the Bulldog.
Yes, it is possible for a character to have a multi-faceted personality and still be “strong.” I hope that Slott gives Bethany an actual personality and some real depth and nuance to her character as we move forward. Because, what we are getting now is a disappointing caricature of a cool character.
Rhodey is another fantastic character. Unfortunately, Slott must only be familiar with Rhodey’s character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rhodey is as generic as possible. Rhodey is more of a literally prop to move the story along than being an actual character. There is zero chemistry between Rhodey and Tony which is a real sin. These two character are the ultimate buddy team. Slott really dropped the ball with Rhodey. I hope that Slott works to rectify this as we move forward.
Then there is Jocasta. Jocasta is such a cool Avengers character. I was thrilled when I saw that she was going to be on this title. And then I read this issue and was immediately regretting that Slott had chosen to include Jocasta on this title. I would rather not see a character that I like at all than see them written so poorly.
Slott accomplishes the goal of making Jocasta as unbelievably annoying and irritating of a character as possible. Clearly, Slott loved the Cheered for L3–37 character from the movie Solo. Because Jocasta is just as annoying and unnecessary to the story as L3–37.
For some bizarre reason, Slott has his message to get across about equality and autonomy and he proceeds to just bash the reader over the head with it over and over with Jocasta’s every increasingly annoying dialogue. One line would have been more than sufficient. However, Slott decided that it was necessary to constantly hit the reader over the head with this message. And in the process reduce Jocasta from a fascinating character with nuance and texture to her personality into a one-note character.
This is the problem with creating a character designed to simply promote one single agenda. It artificially limits the character’s personality and growth. All that character can be is a mouthpiece for the author’s single agenda and nothing more. Jocasta is reduced simply to the role of social justice for robots and that is it. This is the sum total of her character.
This is such a massive step back for Jocasta’s character and a real disappointment. It also gets old incredibly fast to the point where Jocasta’s dialogue at the ned of the issue just irritates the reader to the point where they wish a giant Acme anvil would drop out of the sky and crush Jocasta to death.
This is also such a weird message to really harp on in such emphatic manner. Is Slott really that worried about the treatment of robots and A.I. in the future? And if he is he is on the wrong side of the argument. Guys like Slott would allow an A.I. takeover. And, yeah, I’ll listen to guys like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk over a middle aged dude who writes funny books.
Then we get to the star of the show: Tony Stark. I totally understand that Marvel’s Editorial wants all their writers to write Tony’s character as if he was Robert Downey, Jr. The only problem is that this approach works better in movies with Robert Downey, Jr. delivering the lines. When you get this style of dialogue in a comic book it can get a bit annoying after a while. The reason for that is that we do not get Downey’s incredible charisma to balance out this constant smarmy and quippy dialogue.
Downey’s personality is able to make the dialogue seem more roguish and funny. However, when done in comic book format the dialogue begins to get old and come across a bit douchey. It also makes Tony’s character seem one-dimensional and lack any real depth or nuance.
Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 is a rather shallow and generic read. The story is thin and there is nothing beyond the surface at all. There is a lack of any real depth and substance to the story. There is not much detail in the story for the reader to get lost in and really become engrossed in while reading this issue. This story is more along the lines of what you would expect from a kiddie Saturday morning cartoon.
Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 is also crippled by a lack of internal logic from start to finish. This lack of internal logic makes Slott’s already juvenile story and makes it seem down right dumb.
The reader has a hard time accepting Bhang as the “MVP” of Tony’s robotic division because it conflicts with what Slott shows us through out this issue. Bhang is presented as a man who was “decades” behind Tony’s tech when they first crossed paths. Look, we know that Tony is one of the elite when it comes to intelligence in the 616 Universe. So, nobody is expecting Bhang to be on Tony’s level. But, Slott makes a point of stressing that Bhang is “decades” behind Tony in terms of tech. That means Bhang is not even remotely close to Tony’s level. This makes it hard for the reader to believe that Bhang would be Tony’s “MVP” of the Robotics division.
This issue is further compounded by the fact that Slott presents Bhang as a sad sack through out this entire issue. This culminates at the end of this issue with Bhang being happy to finally be on a “winning” team. Bhang seems more like a broken down and beaten old dog than the “MVP” of Stark Unlimited’s robotic program.
Then we have Slott having Tony inform a surprised Bhang that Tony has purchased Bhang’s company. It is obvious that Bhang’s company is tiny. He runs it out of his house and appears to be the only employee. There is absolutely zero way that Tony could purchase Bhang’s entire company without Bhang knowing about it. It is so dumb that it rips the reader out of the story.
Later in the issue, we see Rhodey on Tony’s screen talking to him while Tony battles Foom. Then we cut to Stark Unlimited’s Command Center where Rhodey is on a tele-screen there and yelling at Bhang for being so excited about how cool the entire fight is between Iron Man and Foom.
This seemed so bizarre. Is Rhodey sitting in a room full of screens with live video and audio feeds from Stark Unlimited and Iron Man’s armor? That seems odd. And even if Rhodey is in such a room why would Rhodey just randomly yell at Bhang for saying how he thinks that everything going on is awesome? Bhang is certainly not impacting anything at all. It is just weird and out of nowhere.
Then we have the moment when Bhang tells Tony that the way to get all of the Nano Iron Men to work together is to play music and give them a beat to syncopate to. Slott even has Bhang tell Tony that this is what Tony did 25 years ago to win the robot soccer championship. Really? If this is an idea that Tony was able to come up with as a kid then why wouldn’t he have used it with his Nano Iron Men? This makes zero sense at all. And it only serves to make Tony look like an absolute moron and pull the reader out of the story with such a big gap in logic.
Then we have the final scene with the press conference. It is obvious that Slott wanted two things to happen with this scene. He really wanted the little boy saying, “You’re Iron Man!” and he desperately wanted that final shot of the assembled employees of Stark Unlimited showing off the tech company’s diversity. So, often is the case when a writer comes up with a particular panel in mind and then works backward to get to that panel what we get is a scene that comes across as painfully forced and clunky.
This press conference scene seems so contrived that the reader is pulled out of the story. Again. Why in the world would there be a little six year old boy at a press conference in the middle of the day? That makes zero sense.
Why would Tony have assembled a random grab bag collection of employees and then hide them behind a curtain in anticipation of a question that he had no idea would ever be asked? The press conference was held to discuss Foom’s attack on New York and Stark Solutions’ efforts to clean up the damage. Why would Tony expect a reporter to ask him about new Iron Man armor for the upcoming year? Was Tony just determined to go through this elaborate and forced “What’s my name?” question no matter what type of question that he got from the press?
This all seemed too unnatural and orchestrated. This is the kind of moment where the reader gets pulled from the story since it becomes obvious that the writer is artificially working backwards to get to where he wants to go with the scene.
Then we got the final scene with the Controller and Bethany. Slott has the Controller make a point of saying that Tony has to know that he is behind the Controller is behind the attacks on Stark Unlimited. Slott has the Controller stating that Tony must have recognized his trademark disk that was implanted in Foom’s brain. So, since it was so obvious that the Controller was the one behind Foom’s attack then why didn’t Tony immediately inform his Chief of Security, Bethany Cabe, of this fact? Slot purposely has the Controller say how obvious it is and then has Tony act as if he is still in the dark about who was behind the attack. This just serves to make Tony look like an absolute idiot.
The press conference scene and the Controller scene served as a clunky and dumb ending to an issue that was already riddled with internal logic issues.
Schiti’s style of art is not a good match for a title like Tony Stark – Iron Man. Any Iron Man title benefits from an artist who can deliver detailed artwork. Iron Man is a tech heavy Sc Fi styles franchise that is better matched with smooth and slick art that packs plenty of detail into each panel.
Schiti’s art lacks detail. Many of the panels seems slapped together in a cursory fashion and lack any real detail. There are some panels where Schiti barely even draws the faces of the characters. Schiti’s style is too rough and loose for this type of title. There are points where the art looks sloppy or rushed.
Overall: Tony Stark – Iron Man #1 was a frustratingly disappointing read. I wanted to love this issue and I do think that Slott has some really cool concepts for this title. But, Slott’s shallow story, poor character work and hellbent focus on getting out a message over delivering a quality story really hurts this title. At this point, I cannot recommend Tony Stark – Iron Man. There are too many other super hero titles on the market that offer a superior bang for your buck.