GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1 BY BRIAN MICHEAL BENDIS AND MARCO RUDY
Plot
Art
Characterization
Summary
GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1 bucks the GENERATIONS trend as Riri Williams meets a future Tony Stark. The story doesn't work as well, with Brian Michael Bendis spinning an empty yarn about staying the course. Inconsistent art from Marco Rudy doesn't help.
67 %
EMPTY UTOPIA
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GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1 continues the unique stories of current heroes meeting their predecessors. Jean Grey met the Phoenix in the 70’s, Amadeus Cho met Bruce Banner in the 60’s, and now, Riri Williams meets Tony Stark… in the future.

GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

This idea seems ok at first. Iron Man/Tony Stark is a futurist, always looking ahead and seeing a better tomorrow. Writer Brian Michael Bendis tries to realize that tomorrow to show the best version of Tony Stark. However, he misses the point of GENERATIONS by doing so.

READ: This isn’t Bendis’s first time with Tony Stark! Click here for our review of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2!

Divergent Timeline

Riri awakens in a strange, futuristic city, with her armor’s systems down. She is confused but commits to finding an answer. Bendis shows that he still understands character, as Riri’s personality remains consistent. She is unnerved but keeps trying to understand the situation. Things only get weirder when the Mighty Avengers (the young heroes from Marvel’s animated NEXT AVENGERS) arrive and offer to take Riri to someone who can help. It’s odd to see these characters again, and their presence doesn’t do much for the story, other than adding an Easter egg.

The art doesn’t serve them well either. Marco Rudy brings a rough, almost penciled in style to the book, which ranges from photorealistic to rough and unfinished. The book has ten credited artists (including pencilers, inkers, and colorists), so it may be a case of too many cooks. Regardless, there are many two-page spreads as well, making the book more difficult to read, particularly for digital readers.

GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1
One of the many two-page spreads, which can be difficult to get the full scope of while reading digitally. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Mighty Avengers do bring Riri to someone who can help, and you only get one guess who it is. Tony Stark lives once more, and again, Bendis captures the characters perfectly. Riri is overjoyed to see her mentor alive again. Old Tony acts like the man we know, but with a new calmness and sense of peace. Bendis succeeded in creating what might be the most likable version of Tony Stark: a kind, smiling old man with all the personality and good nature, but less of the arrogance.

Unfortunately, one thing ruins it.

READ: GENERATIONS works properly in HAWKEYE AND HAWKEYE #1! Here is our review of the comic!

New Job

Tony seems all knowing and wise in GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1, and there’s a good reason for it. Take a look at him and try to guess just why that is.

GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Yeah, that’s right. This is a world where Tony Stark is the Sorcerer Supreme. The man who embodies technology and human achievement now champions all of magic. It’s the first real sign of trouble, and things don’t improve from there. Tony fixes Riri’s armor (with magic of course) and then shows her the amazing utopia humanity created. The artwork improves here, with bright colors and some fantastic ideas (a giant alien plant that eats pollution). Tony speaks the whole time about how humanity learned to better itself and how Riri is going to do amazing things. He then sums up his message for his young protege: keep building.

Let’s think for a minute here.

Amadeus Cho learned that he can’t think his way out of everything. Jean Grey learned to not let her past affect her future. Riri Williams? “Good things are coming, so just stay the course.” Looking past time travel rules (i.e. Riri knowing about the future could lead to her accidentally changing it), Tony’s message is basically not to change anything. It flops in comparison to the previous GENERATIONS, where the heroes’ past influenced their present. Instead, we get a future hero telling his protege not to change. Riri gets no lesson and nothing to influence her when she returns home. It’s a wasted opportunity, especially considering how interesting an earlier version of Tony Stark meeting Riri could have been.

Final Thoughts On GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1

GENERATIONS: IRON MAN & IRONHEART #1 is sadly a misstep for an enjoyable series. Bendis demonstrates his ability to show great character, but his story misses the point. There’s no lasting impact beyond a vague “things will work out” message, and no sense anything will change. The artwork has solid moments but is spread out in odd ways and varies overall. Overall, the issue was a good attempt to honor Iron Man and advance Riri Williams, but it just doesn’t have any weight.

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