Artist: Dale Eaglesham
I originally had high hopes for this series, but the first story, Believe was very poor, and I dropped the series. I have however decided to give this Secret Origins story a chance, and although the prelude wasn't brilliant, the story does have has potential.
After being immobilised by a mechanism called 451, Iron Man (Tony Stark) is forced to hear the story of how his father, Howard Stark, along with a group of friends went on a mission to save the unborn Tony.
This wasn't a bad issue, and in fact is one of the better issues I've read in this series, but like all of Kieron Gillen's work on this series, it has it's flaws, and is far from brilliant. This issue was all over the place, and although there were good bit's, the start was a bit too rushed, which took away from it's tone, and pace. Gillen did however show some promise for the future of this storyline, as although it could still be a disaster, there are a lot of ways he can go which would make this a brilliant story. One of the main things I liked about Gillen's writing in this issue was that he stepped back on the humour, as although this hasn't been a humour based comic, there have been some references, and jokes that have just felt forced, so it was nice that this issue didn't have any of that. It also allowed for Gillen to add more emotion to the issue which was nice, as with the story centring around a father trying to save his unborn child, it was bound to have a lot of emotion in it, and although GIllen could have handled it better, he did do a decent job of it. Gillen also did a half decent job of making this issue dramatic at times, as although the pace at the start was all over the place, the rest of the issue was at times very dramatic, and exciting, and hopefully Gillen will manage to turn this into a good story.
The art from Dale Eaglesham was once again brilliant, and I'm very happy that he's doing the art on this story. As I've said in my previous reviews, the previous artist Greg Land's art wasn't terrible, and there were things I liked about it, but there are things that I hate about his art (way he draws women, and smiles mainly). Eaglesham's art, although not quite as nice looking is however much more consistent, which makes it much more appealing than Land's. The detail in Eaglesham's art is also something that put's his above Land's, as although Land's has some decent detail, it's not detailed to the level of Eaglesham's, which isn't far of perfect. The thing about Eaglesham's art that I loved the most however had to be the way he drew both the past, and the present, as although there wasn't a great deal of difference between the two, they had very different tone's, showing the time periods that they were in, which was perfect. I also loved the Eaglesham's layouts, and especially in the past sequences, as they were very unique, and made the story that much more dynamic. Eaglesham also drew both the character's, and the facial expressions perfectly as well, as you could really see what they were feeling by their expressions.
Following the video that 451 showed Tony at the end of the last issue, Tony is very shocked by what he's seen, not wanting to believe that 451 knew his father. I loved the emotion in this sequence, but it's not necessarily a great jumping on point for new readers, as there are a lot of people that may have missed the prelude that are opening this issue up, automatically getting confused, which is never a good thing about a comic. I did however enjoy the interaction between Tony, and 451, and although I'm still not fond of this new character, he is unique, and by the looks of things very powerful, which could be interesting in the future of the story.
When the story jumps to the past we see Howard, and Maria Stark having trouble trying to have a child, with their doctor saying that it's probably for the best. As I said earlier in my review, the way this started was a all over the place, which didn't give me as a reader the chance to have any feelings over these panels, and although you could see the emotion, and determination in Howard, it would have been so much better if it was either the amount of activities was shortened, or the sequence was slightly expanded. I also liked how Howard was willing to travel all over the place to find the answer to saving his son, and although I slightly questioned how he knew about places like the Eternal City, or of people like the High Evolutionary, I just settled for the assumption that he has connections.
During his quest to find the answers that will save his unborn child's life, Howard is pointed in the direction of a person in Nevada, who turns out to be a grey alien named Rollo, who looks like your stereotypical alien, that uses a image inducer to make him look human. The only thing I really questioned about this addition was whether Howard already knew that Rollo was an alien, as his change into alien form was very sudden, and Howard didn't seem too be all that shocked (although the first panel you only see the back of Howard so he may be shocked then). Besides all that I found Rollo very humorous, and in a good way, as although I said there wasn't much humour in this issue, this is the exception, and the humour was very appropriate for the sequence. The best thing about Rollo, and his involvement was however the fact that he worked as a casino named Area 52, which was a nice touch that I appreciated.
Although it was already established at the end of the last issue that 451 possibly knew Howard, this issue would continue this by showing them interact. I won't go into to much details on what happened as although it wasn't much, it would spoil the issue, I will say some of my thoughts. As I said I'm still not a fan of 451 as a character, so I didn't feel much of the character in this sequence. I did however notice that he seemed slightly different than before which was interesting, and I look forward to seeing if this is the case. I also question what involvement 451 will have in the birth of Tony, and if 451 has a bigger connection that he originally appeared to have. I look forward to seeing how this is developed, and hope Gillen produces something good.
The thing that interested me the most about this issue was when Howard had to bring a group together to help him complete heist. This just reminded me of Ocean's Eleven, which is probably what it was meant to do. Now I wasn't entirely sure if I loved the reference, as although I liked it, there was a small part of me that felt it was slightly cheesy. I did however love the team that Howard put together, especially considering some of the names that he enlisted. As it's been announced already in previous articles, I don't think it would be spoiling to mention the people involved, who are, Jimmy Woo, The Bear, Nessa the Kitten, Dum Dum Dugan, Thunderbolt Ross, and obviously Rollo. Now the big names that stuck out were Dum Dum, and Thunderbolt, but it was also nice to see the likes of Jimmy Woo added into the mix, which was nice. I also liked seeing the younger versions of Dum Dum, and Thunderbolt, and am looking forward to seeing them work with Howard in the future issues of this story.
Although this wasn't a brilliant issue, it wasn't terrible, and was a half decent start to the series. The issue started at a weird pace, but following that it became very interesting, setting-up some interesting pieces which I personally look forward to seeing developed. I would recommend this to anyone who's getting the series, or like origin stories, but would air on the side of caution, as although it shows promise, it's not great yet, and could land up being a terrible story. Basically, if you're in no rush to get this I'd probably recommend waiting to see if the story gets any better.