Writer: Dan Slott & Christos Gage / Artist: Pete Woods / Marvel Comics                                                                                          

Marvel is fond of trying to make “fetch” happen. They have also cornered the market on lending a cultural connection to their heroes that makes it easier for them to fall into the collective consciousness. Having said that, I’m not entirely sure about how this month’s “fetch” Iron Man 2020 will fare establishing itself now in its titular year.

According to Slott logic, Tony Stark has been dead for years with an artificial intelligence living out his life in a cloned body…or something. In the wake of this reveal, Arno, Tony’s long lost adoptive brother has helped someone formerly known as Madame Menace take over Stark Unlimited while Arno becomes the new Iron Man. Throughout the lion’s share of the book, despite his cast-iron stomach for being in proximity to unconscionable things, Dan Slott’s hard sell on Arno Stark as a more villainous Iron Man doesn’t quite feel earned unless you’ve read all the content leading up to this title.

Iron Man 2020

A new reader with a passing curiosity wouldn’t see much difference between the two Starks. And the fact that a considerable amount of the book seems devoted to either waging war on A.I. {for some unearned reason} or reminding us that something is coming instead of establishing who the title character is in comparison to the title character we all know…is concerning. There should be way more meat on the characterization bone if Slott is going to sell us on this muted Superior Spider-Man rehash. That said, everything around this issue isn’t terrible.

The big bad guy is engaging enough and there’s enough of Slott’s goofiness attached to the villainy that it makes for a decent enough read. And the dialogue is fun enough. I wish the artwork stood out a little more given that Iron Man books over the years have had some truly great talent involved with them, but honestly, the linework and color palette is perfectly serviceable.

Bottom Line: All in all, not a bad book, per se, but still suffering from the art, the lead character and the story being far from memorable. Fetch might happen in an event tie-in collection in three or four
months from now, but not this month.

6.5 confusing family ties out of 10

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