Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Before this series started I had high hopes as Kieron Gillen did a brilliant job on Journey into Mystery, and a decent job on Uncanny X-Men, but since Marvel NOW! has seen him on new series, his work has became very poor, and I actually dropped this series after issue 5, and have only given it another shot sue to the story line (couldn't miss an Iron Man origin story, even if it turns out to be bad).
Iron Man (Tony Stark) hires an alien bounty hunter named Death's Head to track down a mechanism called 451, who he holds responsible for many deaths.
This wasn't a bad issue, but it wasn't great either, and no better than the series was when I dropped it. The main reason I think this issue didn't appeal to me too much was that although being the start of a new story, it appears to continue from the previous story, which confused me at the start. I did however get into the issue, and kind of understood what I needed, so that doesn't really spoil the issue too much, but what did was the pacing. The entire first half of the issue was slow, and dull, and when I was wanting to open the issue, and get thrown right into a story that was either interesting, or exciting, or better both, I got none, and was thinking if this was a wise decision to get this issue. The second half was however exciting, and interesting, and the perfect prologue, to what I still hope is an amazing story. I also found the issue humorous at times, but some of the humour was just plain painful, and made me question why it was added, but I'll talk more on that later. Gillen did however somehow manage to add a bit of drama, as although the better part of this issue was dull, and slow, when it picked up, it was surprisingly very suspenseful, and dramatic, with a brilliant ending, which gives me hope for the story in the long run.
This issue sees the first time Greg Land hasn't worked on the series, as Dale Eaglesham's taking over artwork for at least this story. Now although there were things about Land's art that were horrifically painful (way he draws women, and smiles mainly) I didn't hate his art, but putting that aside, I do much prefer Eaglesham's art, and was glad to see him on this story. The detail in Eaglesham's art was amazing, as everything looked so perfect, and neat, whether small details, or large details. The only thing about Eaglesham's art that isn't better than Land's is that it's not as beautiful, but at the same time, it's also minus the annoying awkward expressions that come with that, and overall although not necessarily as pretty looking, it was still awesome, and I'd take that with the non-awkward facial expressions any day. Eaglesham's also did a fantastic job on both the scenery, and layout, as the layout added so much drama, and dynamic to the issue, whereas the scenery made it feel like the perfect sci-fi story, reminding me of the brilliant classic sci-fi movies from the 80's. I also loved how Eaglesham handled the facial expressions, as you could really see what the character's was feeling, seeing anger on Tony at one point, and even mischief from the mechanism 451 as well, which was wonderful, making the issue feel more alive, as well as more suspenseful, and dramatic.
Star-Lord from the Guardians of the Galaxy made an appearance in this issue, and to be honest I wasn't sure if this was a good thing, or a bad thing. Now as far as I'm aware this is the first appearance from any of the Guardians in this series, and although I've been loving the Guardians of the Galaxy series, which Brian Michael Bendis has been doing an amazing job on, I don't think it was the best idea to include them the now. Don't get me wrong I'd have loved to have said that this was an epic appearance, and that it was the right thing, as it's a good idea to show that Iron Man is part of the Guardians, it's just that I felt that this Star-Lord felt a bit different from the one Bendis has been writing, and that if this is anything to show of how Gillen would handle the Guardians I wouldn't ever want him working on the series. Although I'd still like the Guardians to make a decent cameo, or prolonged appearance in this series, but only if done right, and not forced, like this was.
In this issue Iron Man hires a bounty hunter named Death's Hand to track down a mechanism named 451. Now I don't know much about Death's Hand apart from the fact that he was created for the UK series, The Transformers. Now I actually didn't mind Death's Hand, and although he didn't do a great lot in this issue, he seemed very interesting, and at times humorous. There was however a bad bit of humour that was added as when Death's Hand asks if Iron Man code for killing doesn't include robots, Tony replies saying that some of his best friends are robots, and asks if that sounds robot racist. Now after initially thinking what, and why this was added I saw that it was an interesting addition, and that it probably will get some chuckles from the right audience, but I still overall found it painful, and couldn't get over the fact it was added in the first place.
Now The character that Death's Hand was hired to find was as I said a mechanism called, 451. Now I haven't read the last few issues, but by the looks of it 451 did something really bad in one of them issues, causing the deaths of innocents, which upset Iron Man. Now to be fair I can't really judge too much on 451 as a character as I haven't seen him prior to this issue, and he doesn't appear much in this issue, but I will say what I thought from this issue. Now 451 seemed like your typical robot/A.I. villain, but at the same time he seemed very unique, and interesting, and the interaction between him and Tony in this issue was entertaining, and although nothing special, it was dramatic. I also liked how 451 hacked Tony's suit, controlling his A.I. P.E.P.P.E.R., which made him seem more like a villain, and overall I look forward to seeing more of 451, and how he plays into this story.
When the issue finally got into the Secret Origin of Tony Stark I was hooked, and then disappointed that it only lasted a few pages, with not much to show. In saying that, this was probably what was so good about this, as with it being only a prologue you don't want it giving too much away, as anyone that skips this issue, getting the story from next would be mighty disappointed if the main story had actually started. I also think that giving little information, whilst still giving something makes for the perfect cliffhanger, as it has readers (me at least) hooked, and eager to read the next issue, which is what a prologue should really do.
Although this series doesn't seem to have changed much since I dropped it, the set-up for the Secret Origin of Tony Stark story was very interesting, and although I'd have liked more of it, it was probably the right thing to give less. Besides this however the issue was very slow, and dull, with some good humour, and some terrible humour, and if it wasn't for the ending I wouldn't be optimistic for this storyline. I'd only recommend this to anyone that's either already getting this series, or likes are like me, and likes to get prologues to stories, as besides that it's better just to wait till the proper start in next issue, which I'm hoping will be amazing.