Iron Man Volume 1: Believe

Collecting Iron Man #1-5

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Greg Land

Marvel Comics, $24.99, color, 136 pages

I hate to say it, but I think this whole  book is just a set-up to get Iron Man into space, where he can team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

That happens, yes? I haven't read the new Guardians series yet, but it appears from the promos that Iron Man is in it, at least at the beginning.

So how does Kieron Gillen get him there? Actually, not very well. He has Tony asking himself some metaphysical questions at the beginning, and at the end, the answer to those questions is apparently to fly out into space. No, it doesn't make any more sense in the comic book.

In between, Tony goes on pursuit of his and Maya Hansen's Extremis tech, which has been stolen, and zapping everyone who has it. Ever seen "Armor Wars"? How about "Armor Wars II"? Yep, same thing. We've seen all this before.

And speaking of Maya, you know how she was murdered by A.I.M. in Iron Man 3? Be assured that she is murdered by A.I.M. here, too. In the first issue, so that's not a spoiler. I just wanted you to know that we had seen that before, too.

Which is a real disappointment. I usually enjoy Gillen's work a lot more than this. He did have a heart-tugger around issue #4, which was more his style. I guess he was just executing his marching orders as best he could, assuming those orders were "get Tony into space by issue #6."

As for seeing things before, the art is by Greg Land, which means we have seen all this before. The knock against him is that he lightboxes everything from fashion magazines, so all of his characters not only look vaguely like some celebrity you've seen before, all of his panels look vaguely like some photo you've seen before. I don't always think that's a bad thing, but in this case, it looks a bit rushed, so the flaws in this style are even more evident. Especially since at least two different women (one of them being Pepper Potts) look exactly like the same model.

Still, despite all that, it's not awful. Yes, we saw "Armor Wars" before, but everything was less sophisticated then. Believe it or not, this Iron Man still looks and reads better than the 1980s Iron Man. I'm not so put off that I won't try the next volume. But I better see something I haven't seen before!

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I gave this first arc a try and wasn't impressed. I had read all of Matt Fraction's run prior to this. That ends (Spoiler) with Iron Man in space. What we get here is some dull stories, imo, and then he goes into space. Why not just start with him in space at the end of Fraction's run? Oh well. I will probably check out some of this run later on since Iron Man is one of my favorite characters.

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