TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1, by Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti and Edgar Delgado
While TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 doesn't do anything bold for its debut, the first issue is still an enjoyable read for newcomers and veterans alike. It gives a good rundown of Stark's character, establishes his dynamic with others, and has a giant robot versus monster fight. What's not to enjoy?
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Good Start

After a lengthy period of being dead and only existing as an A.I. consciousness, Tony Stark is back. Although INVINCIBLE IRON MAN created a compelling replacement in Riri Williams, eventually the status quo would have to reset itself. And, while such resets are scoffed at by Marvel readers, TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 is nevertheless an engaging read. Despite lacking the subtext of previous series, there is still a nice blend of action and personality that will keep new and old readers alike entertained. Despite Brian Michael Bendis’ departure, one can read TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 and feel confident that the franchise is in safe hands.

Tony Stark: Iron Man — Rebirth, with an Ego

After opening with a flashback where young Stark bests a division champion at robot soccer, we cut to present day. The robot designer, Andy Bhang, is down on his luck and operating from a less than favorable location: his garage. However, a now very alive Tony Stark tells Andy that his concept of group-tasking A.I. is genius. With some light persuasion (i.e. buying Bhang Robotics), Andy is brought to Stark Industries to test his I.B.S. system on a larger scale. However, that scale might become larger than life as an old Iron Man foe resurfaces: Fin Fang Foom!

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1
TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1, pg. 7. Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Ultimately this series is going for a return to form, touching upon Tony Stark’s personality beats before having him fight a dangerous enemy. Andy Bhang offers an outsider’s perspective of this dynamic by perceiving Tony Stark as how he used to be. After all, Bhang last saw Stark twenty-five years prior as child genius whose actions suggested emphasizing ego over partnership. Comparing his current lifestyle with the lavishness of Stark Industries and Iron Man would only further prove such a point. Honestly, this IS a man who welcomed his new co-worker to their job with a well-concealed hologram.

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Yet, as his actions since becoming Iron Man suggest, this is no longer the Tony Stark Bhang encountered. This is both a metaphorical and literal statement, since Stark’s character was recently reborn in the previous storyline. He has a fresh start and, despite keeping traces of the old Stark ego, wishes to change the world for the better.

Kicking Tail, in Style

However, Dan Slott successfully portrays Tony’s ego as one of many personal driving forces rather than an all-consuming one. Tony is a futurist who wants to help change the world and does so in style with a badass suit of tech. Not to mention a bigger, multilayered Transformers-esque suit of mechanical parts that he dubs the Fin Fang Foombuster. This allows TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 to have its cake and eat it too, tying Stark’s rebirth directly into the Iron Man spectacle. Not to mention a sense of humor about the whole ordeal, complete with a nice jab at the Hobbit trilogy.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1
TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1, pg. 21. Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Visually, while there’s nothing that necessarily stands out, the artwork accomplishes what it set out to do. Color artist Edgar Delgado effectively balances the conventional imagery with mundane colors and vibrant aesthetics for the dynamic scenes. Alongside Valerio Schiti’s artistic direction, these designs are most successful during the battle against Foom, emphasizing scale through pure visual imagery. After all, this IS a comic where Iron Man fights a giant monster in a Voltron suit while quoting his moves like he’s playing Street Fighter. To quote Stark himself, it’s stylish.

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WE Are Iron Man

TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 plays out like a popcorn flick but still suggests bigger things to come. While light on character development, the issue is simple enough for newcomers of the Iron Avenger to become invested. After all, this is the continuation of a longer narrative where Tony Stark was reborn, met his mother, and learned about his Ironheart protégé. After all that emotional drama, an Iron Jaeger vs. Fin Fang Foom battle feels downright cathartic.

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