Tony Stark Gets Back To Basics: Reviewing ‘Iron Man’ #1

by Brendan M. Allen


A new era of Iron Man begins! Does it stick the landing?


Big Iron! Tony Stark is looking to restart his engine. He decides he’s going back to basics, putting away his high-tech toys and high-profile image so he can get his hands dirty again. It’s time to dig into the guts of real machines, put on some old-fashioned metal and fly. But can he really lay that Stark-sized ego down?
Life isn’t that simple, something that old friends and frustrating foes are quick to point out. If you strip down a billionaire to his bolts, does he run solid or just overheat? Tony’s going to find out once a threat to the entire universe rears its head from the past. As he suits up again, Tony remains sure of one thing: he’s still Iron Man down to his flesh and blood core.

Iron Man #1 kicks off with an action scene that really sort of sums up the identity crisis that’s eating away at Tony Stark. All in the moment while he’s battling Terrax, he’s also checking his email, dealing with his recent separation, diversifying his stocks, and finalizing his resignation from the board of Stark Unlimited. Everyone’s fighting for a piece of Tony Stark, and he mostly wants to be left alone. Sort of. It’s enough to make anyone crack. 
Christopher Cantwell uses some fun devices to present a highly conflicted man under siege. Stark is constantly trying to connect with common folk using an app that looks a hell of a lot like Twitter, only to be shut down repeatedly by trolls. You can tell he’s bored to death of the high life, but every time he tries to live down his reputation and move on, it blows up in his face. Rich people problems. 

The artwork by Cafu and Frank D’Armata is very cinematic and does an excellent job setting a dark, grounded tone for the series. Imagery is nearly photo real, with highly detailed backgrounds and sets. Action scenes are dynamic and easy to follow, and characters emote deeply through both obvious and subtle facial cues, posture, and ambulation. This is a gorgeous book. 

There are a couple little hiccups in the book, which, whatever, the thing can’t be perfect, but this is an incredibly strong relaunch. I have honestly never been more interested in getting my hands on the next chapter of any Iron Man series, ever. 

Iron Man #1, Marvel Comics, 16 September 2020. Written by Christopher Cantwell, art by Cafu, color by Frank D’Armata, letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna, Iron Man armor designed by Alex Ross.

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