Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Marco Rudy, Szymon Kudranski, Nico Leon / Marvel Comics
The Generations series by Marvel provides a lot of interesting possibilities and mashups for possible stories, though not particularly for any real continuity. So far, they have served as one shots and out of context adventures, even though they were originally billed as a series that would help serve fans new and old to multiple “generational” characters. With the Iron Man’s it’s a weird conundrum as Tony Stark is very present in Invincible Iron Man, whether it be his mysterious shadow and physical absence that informs her story or the AI he created in his image that serves as Riri’s companion. This is by definition, the first time that Riri and Tony meet, sorta, so it is noteworthy in that respects.
With explanation as to why (it seems intentionally so), Riri is “far-flung” into the future where a Utopian version of her world awaits. Everything is Valerian and City of a Thousand Planets pretty, not pollution or crime or corruption it seems. We see new version of the Avengers, who seem to be children and grandchildren of the Avengers we know, and of course, Tony Stark, who is remarkably old and in a new role. The majority of the book has Tony telling Riri how a perfect world was crafted from the war-torn days of old, which I can buy, but it felt a little too perfect for me. If this were an ongoing series where we saw more of this perfect world, I would expect a darker origin or underbelly to expose itself. But in this one shot, it really does seem to be “people got their shit together and we eliminated everything bad.” Since this is Tony Stark we’re talking about, it would’ve been nice to see some impetus on personal sacrifice or making some really tough and controversial decision, but that doesn’t really happen.
As for the art, it is beautiful and strange and befitting the tone of a book the centers on a young girl being sent to a weird and unrecognizable future. We definitely get a decent amount of Alice in Wonderland from Riri’s perspective. Even with three artists, the art doesn’t feel too disjointed, though there are some very deliberate style changes, which may have been different artists or the need to streamline the narrative towards the end.
Essentially, Generations, the Iron Man version is interesting and cool to look at and envision without a whole lot, if anything, at stake. We may find it referenced in future books, but it would’ve been nice to see something a little more consequential with all the potential that a Utopian future provides.