This, ladies and gentlemen, is how a comic book is done.
From beginning to end, Iron Man #9 is one of the best single issues I've read in quite a while. It's a fantastic 'jumping on' point that really does the phrase justice, the artwork is leaps and bounds better than the previous eight issues under Greg Land's airbrushing hands, and Death's Head might just be one of my new favorite tertiary characters.
Though this issue is technically a prologue to "The Secret Origin of Tony Stark", Kieron Gillen does an amazing job summarizing the last arc through Tony's conversation with Death's Head, a freelance bounty hunter whose written to sound like he's from the Old Country. It's a tactile way to rehash past events, and it doesn't come off as an overbearing information dump. Gillen's organic dialogue feels way more fluid than what most other writers in the industry are producing today. Basically, Iron Man #9 is an extended conversation between Tony and Death's Head that takes three huge turns in the very last pages that beautifully set up the forthcoming look back at Tony's origin.
I first took notice of Dale Eaglesham when he illustrated Villains United for DC as part of the "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" event. Since then, I've only come to enjoy his work more. The pages of Iron Man #9 are a testament to the man's talent and some of the best work I've ever seen from him. There's a subtle depth to his facial expressions as well as backgrounds and crowd scenes. All around, Eaglesham knocks this one out of the park.
Simply put, Iron Man #9 is a triumph. Rarely does a single issue so intuitively cater to both the dedicated fan and the new reader. We need more writing like this in the comic book industry. Sure, it's still about Iron Man zipping around the galaxy with a giant robotic bounty hunter looking for another robot who orchestrated genocide, but somehow, it feels incredibly relatable and down to earth.