Brian Bendis recently debuted his second Iron Man series, International Iron Man, but last month volume one of his initial series, Invincible Iron Man, hit shelves. Serving as the first volume since the reboot, this great jumping on point showcases a new suit, an old villain, and a truly bizarre new ally. So is it good?
Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1 (Marvel Comics)
Bendis has a lot on his plate right now with Marvel’s Civil War II event underway, but his work with the reboot began with Invincible Iron Man. This first story arc, which consists of the first five issues in the series, documents Stark’s attempt to rebrand himself as a better person. We see Tony take a stab at a committed relationship while simultaneously taking his superhero game to the next level — so we get a healthy mix of both sides of the billionaire. This story arc received plenty of buzz due to the role of Voctor Von Doom who not only isn’t the main villain, but is actually an ally, or so he claims. Together, Iron Man and Doom attempt to stop Madame Masque who has begun to rifle with items of mystic powers.
So What Worked?
This arc feels like an appropriate beginning to a freshly rebooted series. Bendis throws in a lot potential for future development, whether it’s Stark’s love interest, his suit adaptations and determination to further develop its technology (which doesn’t sound like anything new, but they make a point of it in this arc), or this apparent change of character with Dr. Doom. There isn’t anything drastically new about our hero or the storyline and while most people expect huge alterations following a reboot, this first arc serves its purpose with presenting a fresh, but familiar dynamic.
It’s also really funny. You wouldn’t peg Iron Man as a comedy by any means, but Bendis makes a strong case of it with Stark’s royal sense of sarcasm and his interactions with both villains and fellow heroes. At times the humor can distract from the storyline, but I did laugh out loud multiple times throughout the volume. In addition to those already named we get a couple other notable cameos which is a nice touch. Bendis has a knack for making the most out of character interactions, especially when he has such an entertaining character like Stark at his disposal.
While most of this review has centered on Bendis’ contributions, one of the aspects I most enjoyed was actually by David Marquez. In most reviews I usually just point out whether the art is good or serviceable, but what stuck out to me more than Marquez’ illustrations was the panel structuring itself. This arc gives the reader so many different perspectives and page set-ups which keep the story fresh and the reader engaged. Yes, the panels themselves are great, but the way they’re structured was very impressive.
What Didn’t Work
Bendis is a good writer. If he wasn’t a good writer he wouldn’t have two of his own series starring one of the, if not, biggest Marvel heroes in the game right now while also spearheading the next highly anticipated crossover event. His talent is not in question, but while this is a solid book it isn’t something that blows you away. This first volume debuts some cool superhero moments and new Iron Man capabilities, but the writing itself isn’t terribly deep and the plot is fairly basic. It’s a superhero comic and it does a good job of telling Stark’s story, but there’s still potential for more. Okay, now for something a little more tangible. Tony is known to be snarky, but sometimes Bendis gets a little too tongue and cheek for me with Stark’s constant offhand remarks. It’s true to the character to say the least, but dialing back the wit would make the comic less cheesy.
Is It Good?
This is a solid beginning to the series gives Tony a fresh look and supporting characters. With a handful of other character cameos, this surely an enjoyable read. It’s not mind blowing, but a quality book nonetheless.