International Iron Man 1
Marvel Comics, May 2016
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Review by DG Stewart, 9 April 2016
This title has been promoted both by its cover art and in marketing copy as having an espionage flavour to it. There is little evidence of that in this first issue aside from a flashback action scene. Instead, it is almost certainly the most interesting Iron Man concept to come from its US publisher, Marvel Comics, since British writer Warren Ellis’ work on the “Extremis” story in 2005-2006.
Marvel Comics’ property Iron Man has been long portrayed as both a billionaire industrialist, and as a gifted inventor who has created a series of weaponised mechanical suits. There has been repeated a updating of Iron Man’s origin by Marvel Comics over the years (the character’s spark of inspiration to build a mechanised suit of armour came when as a hostage of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War). The character was depicted during the 1980s as struggling with alcoholism, has had a succession of unsuccessful relationships, and has been replaced in his persona as Iron Man on many occasions. Iron Man is a foundation member of Marvel Comics’ premier superhero ensemble called “The Avengers”, has saved the world countless times, and a few years ago was depicted as Secretary of Defence in the US government. But the fictional life before the kidnapping event which caused the title character of this series to become Iron Man has been a void, until now.