Artist: Carlo Pagulayan
This series has a whole has been rather disappointing, with this story being much the same. It has however had some great moments along the way, but the bad ones have overshadowed them and all that I can hope is that this conclusion is amazing.
Tony Stark's true origin is revealed!
This was a brilliant issue and easily the best issue in the series so far. Kieron Gillen showed in this issue that he can be a brilliant writer, as although this issue makes the story up until now feel slightly irrelevant, it doesn't take away from the brilliant dramatic tone of this issue. Gillen would also do a great job of tying up some of the loose ends from previous issues, and answering some of the questions, like why Tony couldn't work the Godkiller. The pacing of this issue was also fantastic, with the build-up to the big reveal being very suspenseful. On top of all that I loved the narration of this issue, and how a recording from Howard Stark would set the tone and mood of this issue.
The artwork on this issue would once again be amazing with Carlo Pagulayan doing a fantastic job. The detail of Pagulayan's artwork is simply outstanding, with it being consistently perfect throughout. The best part of Pagulayan's artwork in this issue however had to be the way he showed the characters emotions, as with no action whatsoever the drama, intensity and suspense that he added would help to give a lot of depth and tone to the issue, setting a brilliant atmosphere throughout. Besides this the layout of Pagulayan's artwork was also amazing, as although it wasn't as unique or spectacular as some artist, it did it's job adding a lot of depth and tone to the issue, also making the emotions even more intense.
Everything that you thought you knew about this story would be turned on it's head in this issue, and most of this would result from a sequence showing Howard and Martha Stark deciding whether to trust 451 or not. Now I won't go into any details about what happened as to avoid spoilers, but I will say that I enjoyed seeing Martha and Howard again, as well as the fact that they didn't fully trust 451. I also enjoyed seeing what Howard got up to after this sequence, and it would set-up the revelation of their secret brilliantly, also being very emotion throughout.
The secret itself however was easily the most exciting thing about this issue, as you'd expect. Once again I won't go into much detail as to avoid spoiling this. What I enjoyed most about this revelation was how it changed everything that we thought we learned from the story so far, creating something completely different. It would however make the story up till now slightly irrelevant, though that wasn't a bad thing, as it was a brilliant surprise, being much more realistic. I also enjoyed that it wouldn't just be one surprise, but rather two, and it will be interesting to see just how big an effect it will have on the world of Iron Man going forward.
Tony's reaction to the revelation would also be extremely interesting, as well as very emotional, adding a lot of drama and intensity to the issue. Now once again I won't go into any details, but there would be an interaction between Tony and a certain character that would be extremely interesting, showing the ramifications of this revelation in a very interesting and emotional way. What I liked most about this interaction was Tony's attitude, as it would show how much this has affected him, and although he says that he "doesn't feel any different," towards his parents, it is clear that this isn't a good thing for Tony.
Although the Secret Origin of Tony Stark hasn't been one of the better Iron Man stories, this conclusion was amazing, being very emotional, showing just how good a writer Kieron Gillen can be. It also flowed smoothly, and although there wasn't a single bit of action, the depth and intensity of the story made it very exciting and entertaining. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this issue, as although it is probably more enjoyable to people who have read the rest of the story, it is still enjoyable on it's own, being much better than the rest of the story.