Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Release Date: 16th September 2020
Tony Stark. That name means something. Fast cars, supermodels and expensive tech. These are the pillars of modern Tony Stark. But after years of this established status quo, Christopher Cantwell has decided to come along and cut all these things away. With only a classic-inspired suit of armour, an apartment in New York and a 1978 Dodge Aspen, Tony’s rebirth into a world without his old safety net starts here!
Taking Tony back to “basics” (as much as a billionaire in a battle suit can be) was probably the best decision Cantwell could have made. For me, Tony has always been at his best when he was working with limited resources, winning day with his brain rather than just his latest shiny new suit. There’s a strong effort to bring Tony back to reality here, having him deal with classic villain’s like The Unicorn, teaming up with Hellcat (who’s a big reason why this issue works as well as it does) or even dealing with trolls on social media. All the glamour is gone with Tony, making him refreshingly human for perhaps the first time since Matt Fraction’s iconic run.
What Cantwell has done here is essentially take all the things that made modern Iron Man unengaging and remove them. Tony can deal with threats that aren’t universe-threatening again, and while there are hints towards threats of that scale for later, this king of suffocatingly epic scale doesn’t dominate the book.
This new Tony is emphasised brilliantly by CAFU’s artwork. Everything feels darker and moodier, which reflects this new, more human feel to the story. This new design approach extends into the new armour where you can see Tony’s eyes, just like in the early days of the character. CAFU is vital in getting the new approach across. It’s darker, but in a way that highlights the story instead of merely using it as an attempt to seem grown up or ‘edgy’.
The word I seem to keep coming back to when describing this book is human, which is precisely why the book works as well as it does. Tony isn’t invincible, and perhaps as a result of this, he isn’t cracking jokes every fifteen seconds. It’s a fresh start with a character clearly at the beginning of a big journey, and with the writing and art quality we’re getting, it’s a journey you should get on board with now.
This is what Iron Man has needed for years, and hopefully serves as the beginnings of a new era for the character. One that will allow him to be unique and engaging again whilst taking him in totally new direction.
If you want to start reading Iron Man again, start here.
[PREVIEW – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen