Words: Gail Simone /Art: Paolo Villanelli /Marvel Comics
Dan Slott has had one hell of a run on Tony Stark: Iron Man. The creative team on TS:IM has redefined readers’ entire understanding of Tony Stark. From his company, his inner workings, his relationships, his DNA…Everything. Slott helmed the book that (re)reinvented one of the most iconic characters in popular culture. How do you one-up that level of comic goodness? How do you further ground this character, anchor him and his foils, and raise the stakes? How do you test whether the world building stands the test of time amidst the fabric of the Marvel Comics tapestry? Simple, you run him through the War of Realms and give comic legend Gail Simone the keys to the whip.
If you are not up on the War of Realms, the Dark Elf Malekith is raising all types of hell and catching bodies across the whole ten realms. He is a whole ass mood right now and Simone uses him expertly.
Issue #12 of Tony Stark: Iron Man puts the crew at Stark Unlimited in Malekith’s crosshairs at the advent of the war on Midgard. *SPOILER* Malekith sends a DRAGON from Jotenheim straight to the Stark Unlimited lobby like a bike messenger with an interdepartmental memo!
Keeping in stride with the Iron Man Slott built, Simone takes the story in a bold direction. With Tony working desperately to curb his demons after virtually succumbing to alcohol while in the eScape in issue #8. One of the most interesting narrative devices at play in TS:IM are the different layers of Tony Stark’s life. On one end, Malekith uses Tony’s wealth to lure the dragon Sadurang to Earth. On another Rhodey is doing his best Jiminy Cricket to convince his best friend to make better choices (*whisper tones* Tony developed a piece of tech to deal with his alcoholism).
Meanwhile, through all this madness Tony is having an existential crisis about who or what he really is after coming back from the dead. If you are just jumping into Tony Stark: Iron Man at the start of this new arc – go back and catch up, it’s worth it. *SPOILER, AGAIN* Even it is just to see Iron Man give the business to Fin Fang Foom JUST so he can name drop that achievement in issue #12.
Paolo Villanelli inherits artistic duty with the visuals and does not disappoint. Villanelli’s dark lines and flashy poses pop panes off the page and provide an amazing landscape for Gail Simone’s witty dark humor. Simone and Villanelli is a tag team I can rock with.
8 Godzilla references out of 10