This week has been an exciting one – we’ve seen Daredevil Season 2 released, a superb trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, the sides are set out for Civil War II, and the launch of International Iron Man!
This week in Marvel Comics!
Iron Man Goes International!
This week saw the first issue of International Iron Man – a comic that Brian Bendis promises will both take us across the world, and reveal the secret of Tony Stark’s parentage. It’s a fun issue, immediately taking us in a very different direction to anything anyone could have expected; we’re treated to an unexplained defeat in the present-day, and otherwise to a curious flashback that helps establish the history between Tony Stark and his new girlfriend. Unfortunately, the issue does have its subtle flaws; the most prominent is a conversation, twenty years ago, in which Tony is said to have “googled” the girl he’s interested in. Given Google search was launched in 1997, nineteen years ago, it’s a small error that rather amused me.
This may seem like a trivial complaint, but it hints at a broader issue; if you do a flashback, and actually specify a time-period, then you need to do your research on the time. Lazy writing assumes that the only chance is in the age of characters, when technology, culture, and even language change over time. It wasn’t until around 2002 that “googled” became used as a verb in relation to searching for content online, with its earliest known TV use actually being in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Brian Bendis is a first-class writer, and International Iron Man is supposed to support Shellhead’s role as the main star of Marvel Comics, so I expect better.
The art – by Alex Maleev – is good without being amazing, but given real issues due to the flashback. I found large parts of it highly confusing, struggling to get a handle on just which character was Tony Stark for a little while.
All in all, an intriguing opening, but some lazy writing.
The Best of the Rest – the X-Men and the Inhumans!
The second arc of All-New X-Men rumbled on this week, with the team finally managing to deal with the Blob. What’s more, I do like the throwaway realisation the Beast has – that he’s not changed, while the world has – as it explains in part why the kids are having such trouble with the Blob. Meanwhile, there’s also a wonderful character moment for Idia, really enjoyable to read. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late; I’m looking forward to when this arc’s done, and we can get on to “Apocalypse Wars”.
Speaking of “Apocalypse Wars”, Extraordinary X-Men #8 kicks off that book’s contribution. Interestingly enough, the way the arc starts off – with accidental time-travel – reads very differently to interviews with Jeff Lemire, making me suspect we may have some surprises coming. The time-travel arc is also used to advance the ages of several background X-Men, likely preparing them for increasingly important roles going forward. While I’m pleased for Anole, I will never understand why writers like Glob so much…
There’s a background story focusing in on the brewing magical plotline, with a cameo from Doctor Strange. All in all, this arc is already shaping up to be better than the first two, so I’m excited to see what happens next.
Meanwhile, the Inhumans get some fun too – the ‘Quiet Room’, introduced by Charles Soule in Attilan Rising – has made its way out of “Secret Wars” and into Uncanny Inhumans #6. It’s a fun issue, with good art, and worth checking out. Unfortunately, it’s also an odd fit with the previous arc; the change of tone is somewhat jarring. Much more entertaining is All-New Inhumans #5, which kicks off the new “Skyspears” arc and has a seriously entertaining guest-appearance from Spider-Man. Unfortunately, Andre Lima Araujo’s art just doesn’t seem to do the characters – or the plot – justice.