Friday, May 17, 2013

Iron Man #10

(w) Kieron Gillen     (a) Dale Eaglesham

Kieron Gillen is no stranger to long-form narrative. Just take a look at his run on Journey Into Mystery and how each arc grew from the last and influenced the next, like a novel with it's many chapters. One would think this is how most comic books are written, but it tends to be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Iron Man didn't start out as strong as everyone hoped it would, but six issues in, Gillen upped the ante by sending Tony Stark into deep space where he faced the consequences of his attempt at destroying the Phoenix Force in Avengers vs. X-Men.

"The Secret Origin of Tony Stark" doesn't aim to retell Iron Man's origins. Quite the contrary, in fact. Working inside the strict parameters of comic book universe continuity seems to be Gillen's inspirational constraint. It's one of the elements of the comic book industry that makes it so amazing, that a creator 40 years removed from the character's origin can still add something to said origin, have it make sense, and make it totally awesome.


Iron Man #10 plays out like a 60s spy thriller as Howard Stark assembles a team to steal the one thing all his power, money, resources, connections, and intelligence can't get him: hope for his already dying prenatal child. If it seems a bit dark, then Gillen has done his job. Tony's always had a medically spotty history, but this pushes that concept to a whole new level. The fact that alien technology plays a part in this plan means Tony's life was influenced by technology before he ever left his mother's womb. I really like the team Howard assembles, but I wonder just how Gillen plans on using them as the story moves forward.

Overall, I found Iron Man #10 to be intriguing. It's the first official part of "Secret Origin", and it reveals quite a bit about the story leading up to Tony's birth, but nothing is intersecting yet. It's like one of those new puzzles without edges that are just that much harder to start piecing together, but are so much more satisfying when completed.


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