Artist: Dale Eaglesham
This series has been far from brilliant, with a opening story that was that bad that it forced me to drop the series. I couldn't however miss this story though, even if it's poor, as being an Iron Man fan, I have to see what this secret origin is, and although the secret origin hasn't been brilliant so far, it does show promise.
Still not wanting to believe 451, Iron Man (Tony Stark) has to help save the spaceship that they're on. Also 451 helps Howard, and Maria Stark save the unborn Tony.
This was yet another mediocre issue, and although the story so far isn't terrible, it's still to do anything to amaze me, and is very average. After reading the prelude issue I had faith that this may be a good story, and as although it was far from brilliant itself, the prelude did show some promise, and grabbed my interest. I do however have to give Kieron Gillen props for doing something different, and risky, it's just that I so hoped that the story would be much better by this stage, and although it's only two issues in, it feels like it's going to continue to progress at a snails pace. Gillen did however do a better job of some of the dialogue in this issue, making it much more natural, and when necessary funny, whereas there have been times in the last couple of issues were it's felt slightly generic, and predictable. Like what's been the case with most Iron Man issues I've reviewed, when I have one positive thing to say about an issue, there's at least one negative thing to counteract that. This is no different, as despite the slow pace, there wasn't a great deal happening in this issue, and although Gillen tackled the key development stage of the story, he didn't spend a lot of time developing anything else, which was a bit disappointing, and made the issue less exciting, and dynamic.
The art in this issue was once again great, with Dale Eaglesham doing an excellent job. To be honest Eaglesham being the artist on this storyline has probably been the best thing, as although Greg Land's art wasn't terrible, it had quite a few flaws, whereas Eaglesham's is much more natural looking, and all overall much better.The detail in Eaglesham's art was once again brilliant, and everything from the character's to the background looked perfect. The thing about Eaglesham's art that I probably love the most is his layouts. I've been enjoying them over the last few issues, but I think that it's the familiarity that makes it look better in this issue, as it really suits the tone of the story, giving a great retro feel, whilst also being modern. I've also loved how he's drawn the character's, and especially Tony, and Howard, as although you can clearly tell that they're different character's, you can also tell that they're related, which is essential, and Eaglesham shows this perfectly. Now the only piece of artwork in this issue that I wasn't sure on was when Land's cover was repeated half way through the issue. Now I'm not saying it was a bad cover, it's just that I don't really like it when the exact same image is repeated later in the issue, especially when it's a different artist than the one that's doing the interiors. In saying that it did suit the sequence, and was different, but I'll talk more on that a bit later.
Like the last issue in this storyline, this issue started with Tony talking with 451, and yet again not wanting to believe what he's saying. In fact this time round Tony has to help 451, by helping save the spaceship from an attack. Now as I said earlier, the dialogue was much better this time round, and although Gillen's gradually been showing the friction between Tony, and 451, you really got to see these two interact in a brilliant way, with some surprisingly amazing dialogue. What I probably liked most about this sequence was that you got to see that 451 was a deeper character than he's appeared so far, and although I'm still not won over to liking this character, he is becoming more interesting. There was also a brilliant reference in this when Tony says that 451 has a Commodore 64 for a brain, which was amusing.
We also got to see Tony interact with his A.I., P.E.P.P.E.R. Now P.E.P.P.E.R. was one of the few things that I loved about the series when I originally read it, and I was so hoping for the funny interactions it had with Tony. It does however look like the A.I. has grown up since I stopped reading, and the conversation was a bit dull, and predictable. I did however like that it was similar to what a conversation would be between Tony, and the real Pepper if she did something that would upset him as much as the A.I. has.
451 had a much bigger role in this issue than the last, as in the past he helps Howard save his unborn son. Now this was something that everyone probably saw coming, so it was no surprise, and I'm sure that this will have upset a lot of Iron Man fans. I'm more open to new things, and this small change in Tony's origin isn't enough for me to hate the story yet, but what I did find more interesting was the change in 451's attitude. Now in the last issue I said that his characteristics in the past were slightly different from how he's been acting in the present. Well this appears to change, and in this issue he seems much more like his current self, being much more pushy, and demanding, even if he does seem to want to help. Overall I actually liked this, and although it wasn't enough for me to rate this issue higher, I am looking forward to seeing this progressed throughout the story.
As I said earlier there was a double page spread of Land's cover showing the development of Tony now that 451's helping his development. Now as I said I wasn't sure if I was happy about the art being added, but I did love seeing the progression with the alien language next to it. Now I do know that this will probably upset fans, and it may still turn out to upset me, but this actually had me intrigued in the idea that Gillen is developing in this story, and although it's still miles of from being brilliant, it is something unique, and I look forward to seeing how Gillen develops this.
Like the previous issues in this storyline, this issue was far from great, and was actually rather slow. The events that happened in the issue were interesting, and different, but the pacing problems really hurt the overall quality of the issue, and if the story continues to develop at this slow pace it won't be good. Like last issue I would recommend this to anyone already getting the series, or people who like origin stories, but otherwise I'd recommend waiting to see if the story picks up, as so far it's been very average.