(p) Greg Land
"If your ideas have at least one military purpose, you can get them paid for. You can realize your dream, as long as it's got enough nightmare to it."
Tony Stark's words ring true throughout Iron Man #1, as new writer Kieron Gillen brings about the return of the Extremis virus in the epic first issue of this new 'Marvel NOW!' series. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca have been handling the Iron Avenger for a few years now, so skepticism toward a new creative team is to be expected. Fortunately, Kieron Gillen and artist Greg Land seem to have a promising if not perfect formula for the title going forward.
Kieron Gillen is a prolific talent. He's the kind of writer that can put his own spin on almost any character he takes on, while still keeping said character's core qualities and personality. If you've never read Phonogram, read every issue you can before it fries your brain, then read Gillen's run on Journey Into Mystery to see what I mean. This same principle applies here to Iron Man as Gillen uses his unique style to give Tony Stark a fresh voice for the first time in ages. I don't want to sound like I disliked Fraction's take on Stark, but it was something that took a lot of getting used to, while Gillen's style has more instant appeal and witty swarth. The man is English, after all.
Everyone's favorite nano-virus, Extremis, is back for a second go-round with Tony Stark and bringing about a dangerous age of man-made metahumans. Gillen does an amazing job of blending character development, supporting cast introductions, and plot advancement that it's almost astonishing. I found myself noticing so much more about the issue on my second read-through -- the way Land illustrates emotion (at least for women; Tony looks donkey-toothed most of the time), how Tony's inner monologue is more actually about processing thoughts instead of giving readers narration, and the way Gillen effortlessly brings back one of the most popular threats in all of Iron Man history without it feeling forced.
Both Iron Man and Deadpool debuted this week as part of 'Marvel NOW!', and many buyers are considering purchasing just one of these issues. Do yourself a favor and get Iron Man #1. Kieron Gillen has, in one issue, built a fascinating situation for Tony Stark, as well as a clear direction for the character himself. This was not a title I thought I would be buying each month. In fact, I had no plans on even reviewing this initial issue outside the 'Extra! Extra!' section. But as always (and I should have guessed), Kieron Gillen blew me away with his masterful grasp of comic book writing.