Welcome to the brand new shiny world of Marvel.1!
Starting with Iron Man, Marvel have created brand new jump-on points for readers with many title having a .1 editions. Whether or not the same formula and format is used in other comics, this style has given a very definite and concise insight into the world of Tony Stark and subsequently Iron Man too. This means that avid fans will relate while new readers can also feel like they know who they are reading about without having read the 500 previous issues.
Working in a narrative fashion the issue is given to the reader by Tony himself in a frank, open and almost humble dialogue. Beginning at a point of obvious weakness and expressing himself to complete strangers you get to hear - straight from the horse’s mouth - how he became the giant he was, the business empire, the genius, the head of a superpower and more importantly the self-destructive cycle that takes it all away time and time again.
This has all been epitomised by the title that was strangely hidden at the very end, “What it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.”
Matt Fraction has written quite an in-depth piece in such a small amount of space, producing an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow storyline. Complete with both Larroca and D’Armata as artist and colourist there has also been a great continuity in style from the preceding issues as well. If I’m honest, the artwork hasn’t really been a hit with me but the story has carried it along instead. The lines are fine and detailed but lack the depth and clout that I have come to associate with Iron Man. It feels a little too clean to be the Tony Stark I know, but would a new reader think the same?
The issue itself is completely separate from the current storyline, coming across as a sidestep from the norm which was made easier by the break and relief that issue #500 created. Now in essence this is a good thing, as you are given everything you need to understand the character, but I am left wondering how they will bring this back into line with the current story arcs without the need for wasting a large proportion of the next issue on flashbacks and catch ups - especially without losing or confusing new readers.
For the avid fan I can see this on par with a one-shot, something to collect and treasure. For the new reader it’s a valuable edition to fill in so many blanks and get a good taste for what is happening and where to look for great storylines to catch up on. For those who fall in between, well, I’ll let them decide for themselves as I can see it being loved or left alike. I have it as I now fall into the former category and it’s helped me play catch up easily. All I can say from seeing the final advertising spread is roll on the new stories, as the promise it shows us and teases us with is great!
Matt Puddy is one point ahead of the opposition