Mild Spoilers Ahead
Iron Man has been flung back in time to 1,000,000 B.C. There he meets the Avengers of the time, who proceed to attack Iron Man and destroy most of his armor’s systems. Tony retreats to a cave, where he is approached by early humans with offerings of wine. Tony turns them down, but the offerings are followed by brutal attacks. After rebuffing these assaults, Tony Stark learns who has been testing him: none other than the devil himself, Mephisto.
Avengers #31 throws a few more shocking twists to the Tony Stark story. We learn that, in addition to being adopted and possibly being just an AI recreation of himself (Iron Man 2020), Tony Stark may have an intimate connection to Mephisto.
I don’t want to elaborate much on that, as it is some surprising stuff that may shift the story of Iron Man going forward, at least in the Avengers title. That said, Jason Aaron seems to be intent on upending everything we know about Tony and Howard Stark.
Watching Iron Man withstand the attacks and temptations of Mephisto is some compelling stuff. Tony has always been divorced from spiritual and religious matters, so he is far outside of his comfort zone in dealing with the likes of Mephisto.
Tony narrates the comic, so we get a detailed look at how Iron Man is responding to all of this. There is an expected mixture of humor and bravado, but it’s accompanied by some existential horror at what he discovers.
We also get a new, albeit short-lived, Iron Man suit out of the ordeal, and it’s pretty damn sweet.
Gerardo Zaffino, Geraldo Borges, Szymon Kudranski, Oscar Bazaldua, Robert Gill, and Mattia Del Iulis split the artwork of this issue. While some of their styles jive pretty well, there doesn’t seem to be much in-story reason for the assortment of artists. That said, each artist puts in some excellent work and I can’t criticize anyone’s individual work in this book. Rachelle Rosenberg and Mattia De Iulis provide the color work and they do an excellent job as well.
Avengers #31 turns Iron Man’s life upside down with some unholy revelations about the family Stark. Tony is forced to process this horror while surviving in a world without technology that’s in the midst of an ice age. It’s a shocking and grabbing comic and it easily earns a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Avengers #31 comes to us from writer Jason Aaron, artists Gerardo Zaffino, Geraldo Borges, Szymon Kudranski, Oscar Bazaldua, Robert Gill, and Mattia De Iulis, color artists Rachelle Rosenberg and Mattia De Iulis, letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna, cover artist Gerardo Zaffino, and variant cover artists J. Scott Campbell; and Tianqi Hu.
Final Score: 8.5/10