The Invincible Iron Man on Comic Book Weekly
The Invincible Iron Man
Having been a DC man for so long, the biggest learning curve I have faced is the Marvel Universe. Even though I hadn't read a DC comic for a generation, I was still strong enough on their staple output and more than strong enough to pick up on threads and get into my stride. Marvel was an unknown factor for me and I mistakenly thought Iron Man would be an easy route in.
Tony Stark and Iron Man
The problem with using Iron Man as a starting point to the universe is I clearly didn't even know this story. Probably the most well known character in that world and from the start I was obviously picking up a long way back.
Tony Stark is an alcoholic - did not know that.
Tony Stark had lost it all and had to bounce back - did not know that.
Tony Stark can sort of predict the future - did not know that.
Actually, thinking about it, the only time I had read Iron Man was in Civil War and a couple of very, very, very old back issues. From that all I worked out was he was rich beyond belief, was pretty arrogant and had very few saving graces. I never warmed to him, never cared if he was in trouble and couldn't really see why people cared about it. Matt Fraction, another brilliant Marvel author, changed that.
Iron Man wipes his mind
So, in a post Civil War and post Invasion world there is clearly a lot of hate for Tony Stark. He has taken the blame for two of the most dangerous periods in the Marvel world and he clearly knows it. Matt Fraction brought me up to speed on that arc pretty quickly and though I had no idea about Norman Osborn I picked up on the conflict between the two pretty quickly. I absolutely don't buy Osborn getting control of SHIELD. That's a pretty big leap for anyone to accept and though it drives this series, it just wouldn't happen. But, and it is a big but, if you run with it you then have to accept that Tony would choose to wipe his mind. As well as rebooting the universe he is going to reboot his mind. That clears the cache for his brain and takes the super hero identities out of Osborn's reach. Based on everything I know about Stark (please note above, this is nothing) I just could not accept he would do that. So that is my struggle with this series - as it is the foundation of the run, it is a problem.
Iron Man film
With all the reboots taking place across Marvel and DC, as well as the comic book film transfers, it is a great time to get into a character. They know that people like me will be encountering the comics for the first time but this does mean a lot of exposition. Great for me but would love to know if hardened comic book readers are getting frustrated with it all? For me, I have been brought up to speed on War Machine and Pepper through this series, as well as a whole world of characters that it would have taken me months of reading to understand. There has to come a point when this exposition is dropped though. The impact of the film though and the new audience being created is fantastic for me but I would absolutely say this is not a great starting point to get into Iron Man. You are going to have to understand Invasion which I am still struggling with and Iron Man's role in that fiasco. You are also going to have to make some huuuuuuuuge leaps to believe the story. I am hoping it is worth it because I am enjoying the read and am really enjoying Matt Fraction's work. As an introduction to Iron Man it hasn't won me over but I get the feeling the effort is going to pay off with Iron Man. He seems so important to the Marvel Universe that its not a wasted read, I just hope it hits its stride.
Matt Fraction's website - http://mattfraction.com/
Matt Fraction's Twitter - http://twitter.com/mattfraction