International Iron Man #1(Marvel Comics)
Spin-off series are always a bit of a hard sell. Sure, when you have one or two series for a character like Spider-Man or Batman it makes sense, since other series can cover more aspects of the character, but most times the spin-offs don’t really justify their existence, which is definitely the case for International Iron Man, the new Iron Man series from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
From a title like International Iron Man you’re probably expecting a series that focuses on Tony Stark as a globetrotting adventurer, and you wouldn’t be wrong thinking that. Unfortunately much of this opening issue flashes back to Tony Stark’s days at Cambridge University, and it drags the book to a halt. Bendis spends a lot of time with this version of Tony Stark, and while it all ends up being necessary to the plot by the end of the issue, it’s not very compelling. In fact, this issue reminds me of some of the worst aspects of Bendis’ storytelling. It feels very padded and boring. Hell, you only see Tony as Iron Man in the opening and closing panels of the book, and some armored goons knock him down.
Alex Maleev’s art is pretty good for this issue, but then again, there’s not a lot of action for him to draw. A large chunk of this issue is made up of talking heads between young Tony, the woman he’s dating Cassandra, and her family. That’s it. And while that’s fine for Maleev, it also doesn’t do the man who made a huge splash on Bendis’ Daredevil any favors.
It’s a bummer that International Iron Man’s opening issue is such a dud. I’ll check out the second issue to see where all this set up goes, but I’m really worried that this is another example of Bendis padding out a story to fit into a graphic novel collection. Hopefully International Iron Man can live up to it’s awesome spy sounding name soon, cause if not, this may have been better suited as a back up tale in Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man.