Comic Review: ‘Invincible Iron Man’ #1

Written by:  Brian Michael Bendis / pencilled by:  David Marquez

What’s it about?

Tony Stark returns to action with a new suit of armour as a new threat from an old face looms…

In review

Marvel’s All-New, All-Different initiative is now underway and the comic book publisher (and overall entertainment behemoth) have teamed up the successfully tried and tested Ultimate Spider-Man creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez to lead the charge for what is intended to be their flagship title, Invincible Iron Man.

With so many corporate minded resets/relaunches within the comic book industry these days, it’s hard for even a writer of Bendis’ calibre to deliver a brand new first issue of a title that feels fresh and innovative – especially when dealing with a character that has now been around for over fifty years.  Despite some feeling of familiarity, Bendis and Marquez deliver an entertaining and tantalising (re)launch issue that brings readers into a post-Secret Wars (Marvel’s multiverse destroying event series which doesn’t actually conclude until December) world where it’s more or less a case of business as usual.  Time is taken to reacquaint readers with Tony Stark as he builds his newest version of the Iron Man armour, established readers will have seen this many times before across numerous Iron Man runs yet with new readers in mind it’s also necessary and at least there’s no elaborate retelling of the modern age Iron Man origin story (see Iron Man: Extremis by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov).

Since Robert Downey Jr’s lighter interpretation of Tony Stark won over the film going masses, Marvel have sought to tweak the persona of the comic book character to match that of his cinematic counterpart.  It’s something that’s been difficult to achieve without Stark coming across as too much an out and out a-hole and Bendis proves more successful here than Kieron Gillen did during his pre-Secret Wars tenure.  Bendis continuously straddles – and spontaneously hops over – the line between the serious, as Stark contemplates futurist ideals, and the humorous, where there’s playful exchanges with holo-A.I. FRIDAY, to decent effect and is sure to build a version of Marvel’s Howard Hughes-inspired industrialist billionaire that will appeal to long term fans and the masses alike.

David Marquez provides some great visuals, his action scenes have a big budget widescreen feel to them (with one particular sequence reminiscent of classic Anime feature film Ghost in the Shell) whilst delivering detailed surroundings and expressive characters.  Most significantly though, Marquez unveils a pleasing new Iron Man suit that is sleek, angular and modern whilst still incorporating the basic design elements of classic armours.  We’re yet to see a full demonstration of the enticing ‘morph’ aspect of the new suit’s design which will allow it to incorporate elements of previous Iron Man armours on command, but this will surely come into play in subsequent issues.

Despite those afore-mentioned elements of familiarity, with an intriguing new threat from (spoiler) iconic Iron Man villain Madame Masque and a tantalising finale there’s plenty to be excited about for the future of Iron Man.

The bottom line:  With snappy dialogue from Brian Michael Bendis and solid visual storytelling provided by artist David Marquez, Invincible Iron Man is off to a promising, if at times familiar, start.

Invincible Iron Man #1 is published by Marvel Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.

Cover art for Marvel Comics' 'Invincible Iron Man' #1 by David Marquez. Image belongs: Marvel Comics.

Cover art for Marvel Comics’ ‘Invincible Iron Man’ #1 by David Marquez. Image belongs: Marvel Comics.