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Comic Book Review – Iron-Man: Believe (#1-5)

By: Adam Basciano

Iron Man #1 Cover

“Tony Stark — Iron Man: visionary, playboy, engineer, Avenger. But when Extremis, his greatest invention, is let loose and up for grabs to the highest bidder, it’s up to Iron Man to contain it. That means creating a new suit of armor…NOW! Marvel Now! has Tony on the hunt for the rogue Extremis Units, leading him to the island of New Camelot! Introducing The Circle, a mysterious high-tech brotherhood of mech-knights! It’s Iron Man vs. the secret Russian Black Exoskeleton Academy’s greatest pilot! The new stealth armor debuts! Deep in Columbia, a cartel boss’ daughter is “modified” by EXTREMIS. Will Vibro, Firebrand, and The Living Laser stop Tony from saving the world from the deadly nano-virus? Tony’s hunt for Extremis takes him to the ancient Catacombs of Paris where absolute horror awaits! Things man was not meant to know Vs. the man who wants to know everything. Plus, the new Iron Man heavy-duty battle-suit debuts. Extremis plus the final frontier equals universal doom! Will Tony have to betray an old friend? Plus, the all-new space armor debuts!” (Marvel)

Iron Man is the weakest book of all the Marvel Now titles I’ve read.  Instead of offering something new and fresh like many of the other books, it re-treads on story points dealt with already, and done much better by the likes of Garth Ennis.  This story amounts to not much more than Tony Stark tracking down black market Extremis kits, and putting them out of circulation, and without too much doubt about his overall success.  So why has Marvel decided to regurgitate Extremis? My guess is because it will be featured in Iron Man 3.  Sometimes using movie elements in the books works, like in “Avengers Assemble.”  Other times, it doesn’t like here in this book.  It just feels forced and unnatural for my liking.  This book also offers Marvel an excuse for Tony Stark to change armors.  I don’t mind it if the armor changes from time to time, but when it changes every single issue its redundant and annoying.  The only time Kieron Gillen’s writing impressed me was when Tony Stark put away his usual persona to show some compassion, saving two potential victims of the Extremis virus.

Marvel Now Iron Man

While I was disappointed by the story, the art by Greg Land had moments of greatness mixed with moments of disaster.  The good news is he can draw various types of Iron Man armor with ease.  Even though I couldn’t stand the revolving door of armor’s, each one of them looked great thanks to Land.  There are also several great splash pages, especially the one of Iron Man in space.  My problem is with characters not in armor.  The men have SFD…same face disease.  With the exception of a fuller beard, you couldn’t really tell Tony Stark apart from Arthur.  As for the female characters, they’re all drawn in the vein of a stereotypical “bimbo!”  I appreciate beautiful/hot depictions of female characters in comic books, but this was a little excessive.

Most of the books I’ve read have benefitted from the Marvel Now creator shuffling.  However, Iron Man was not one of them.  For the first time in five years of steadily reading an Iron Man monthly, I’ve been underwhelmed and downright disappointed with a book about the Armored Avenger.

Iron Man #5 Cover

Overall Grade: 4.5/10

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