International Iron Man #1 Review

Writer: Brian Michel Bendis
Pencils: Alex Maleev
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel

International Iron Man is the second series centered around Marvel’s favorite billionaire, playboy, military industrialist turned superhero within the recent relaunch.  This series is written by Brian Michael Bendis who is also writing the other ongoing Iron Man series, the Invincible Iron Man.

If Invincible is a comic centered around the heroic adventures of Iron Man, then International seems to be focused on exploring the character of Tony Stark, delving into his past, and addressing his real family heritage.  How is he dealing with the discovery that the people who raised him aren’t his biological parents?  As this reveal came during the pre Secret Wars series during the Marvel Now imprint.

This debut issue primarily focuses in the past during Stark’s college years at Cambridge University.  Where at a party, which erupted as a result of a soccer game, he is drawn to a woman named Cassandra Gillespie.  The two of them hit it off immediately and their is instant chemistry between the two.  Through Bendis’ strength, cleaver dialogue, we discover that they have had similar upbringings and it becomes understandable why they’re attracted to one another.  The dialogue captures the charm of Stark and the mystery of Cassandra.

After a somewhat brutal climax the comic ends on a cliff hanger that’ll surely bring readers back for the following issue.

It’s obvious that Bendis has been inspired by Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal as Mr. Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and those have become of a fan of the character through the movies would enjoy this book.  However be aware that this is a character centered series and this issue is lacking in action.  Whether or not this trend continues remains to be seen.

Being an A lister at Marvel, Bendis has been able to team up with A list talent in the art department.  Unfortunately, while this art team has proven its talent in other series, their work here is a miss when meeting the tone and vibe that the writing calls for.  Penciler Alex Maleev has a very sketchy style and that’ll work for a character in the mystical arts like Doctor Strange or Magik; however it doesn’t work for a character driven story in realism like Iron Man.  It just comes off as incomplete at times.  Paul Mounts’ colors in this issue are solid at times but they are inconsistent, especially during the opening pages.  There are panels when characters cloths change colors.  Whether or not this is due to the lighting around them is unclear.  This story calls for clarity in its art, which this issue is sorely lacking.

Final Verdict

Nobody starts off a comic series like Brian Michael Bendis and International Iron Man #1 is no exception.  The issue instantly grabs your investment and interest with its intriguing and memorable characters.  The dialogue is engaging and captures their identity in effectively quick fashion.  The introduction of the mysterious Cassandra is a great tool to build upon the character of Tony Stark.  Unfortunately the artwork is lacking and the teams style is a miss for the type of story Bendis is going for here.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Review by Eric Bradach

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