International Iron Man #1
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Alex Maleev
Release Date: 3/16/16
First, I need to offer a little disclosure. I am an old Marvel Comics book fan. I did most of my reading of comics–X-Men and X-Men related titles–throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Since that time, I have picked up an odd issue here and there but haven’t followed any run. Aside from the Warren Ellis Extremis trade I picked up a few years ago (which is really good by the way), I haven’t read any Iron Man comics. What I know about Iron Man, like a lot of people now, comes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I am in love with the standard cover for International Iron Man #1 with its watercolor-like quality. And who I thought was Pepper Potts on the cover, seems to be Mary Jane Watson (at least according to this Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev interview.) That’s a bummer, but I’m intrigued that now Mary Jane is being associated with Tony Stark. That could be interesting…but not in this issue. 🙁 It is a set-up issue and there is no Mary Jane. There is also no Doctor Doom in the story, despite how he is on a cover too. I’m intrigued that these characters will be in the story at a later point, but disappointed that they aren’t found in this story.
While Iron Man is down for the count at the mercy of some armor-clad individuals in Sofia, Bulgaria, he flashbacks to earlier, happier times at Cambridge University, where he is at a party and meets a girl who is apparently surprised that he doesn’t recognize her. The girl, Cassandra, ends up taking him away from the party, busts the heads of her bodyguards, gets caught, and later on takes Tony to meet her parents, at which point it is learned that her mom is a global figure and in competition with Howard Stark.
International Iron Man #1 is a “talky” story. There’s some violence and at one point Hydra shows up, back when Tony Stark is an early twenty-something in college. In present time, Iron Man doesn’t regain consciousness until the last panel, at which there is a huge revelation!
I won’t be going into the continuity issues (as there are quite a few), but if you would like to see them, check out Bleeding Cool’s review.
Cassandra Gillespie has a fun attitude and is most likely the brunette on the standard cover. She’s British, and that’s a plus too-not to mention she can take care of herself with self-defense and a gun! Stick around until the end to get an idea of what Cassandra is like in the present.
I feel like I should know who this lady is, or at least who her future self is. She looks like other characters from the X-Men side of things. While I am curious, I am also already bored at the same time. Must we get a new character? And what about the characters who are supposed to be supporting Tony in this new endeavor and yet are no where to be found?
I’m quite happy with the artwork, despite how young Tony Stark doesn’t look familiar at all. My favorite scene is when Cassandra takes him by the hand and they are running away from the party. There is a sense of fun and adventure at work here.
This is definitely not the way that I would start a story, but Bendis apparently wants us to be in medias res. I don’t know if that is a style that he normally relies on or not. I feel like this issue would have been better served as a preview or an 0 issue to the ongoing series. I’m still bummed that we didn’t get Victor Von Doom and Mary Jane Watson in this story-even in just a couple of panels, something to set them in the story at least. I’ll stick around until the second issue to see if that changes and then make a decision on whether I will continue the comic or not. $3.99 for a twenty-one page story, even in digital form, isn’t worth it to me if the story is lackluster.