Inside Pulse 12

International Iron Man #1 Spoilers & Review: ANAD Marvel Comics Debut Issue By Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Paul Mounts! Tony Is No Tiger!!

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover C2E2 sketch variant

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1

“” (21 pages)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

Color Artist: Paul Mounts
Letterer & Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Covers by: Mike Deodato & Frank Martin; Marco D’Alfonso (hip-hop); John Tyler Christopher; Gabriele Dell’Otto; Skottie Young

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

 

Tony Stark, around the world!!! Young, wild, and carefree!!!

Before getting to the heydays of a more adolescent Anthony, there is a double-page spread of the not-so-invincible Iron Man incapacitated by heavy duty armoured warriors in Bulgaria’s capital. Four of them posit theories on their ‘kill’.

[Appropriate acknowledgement: here are the first 2 of 4 images that I ‘pilfered’ from CBR (Comic Book Resources). You were immensely helpful!]

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 incapacitated 1INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 incapacitated 2

Two decades back, Tony was a student at the University of Cambridge in jolly old England. He finds love at the club, or tries, when a pretty young thing catches his eye. Like all other guys, he drops his name which doesn’t faze his ‘target’. Tony wants a hasty retreat when he sees hired muscle zeroing in on his twenty. He gets suckered-punch before his interest shows some feistiness. She grabs his hand and they rush off. The goons are the mysterious lady’s bodyguards.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 fighting female

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 fleeting moment

Introductions are made. In a long drawn-out convo, with some awkwardness, Cassandra Gillespie is in disbelief that the youthful Stark is unaware of her identity, and more importantly her family’s clout as well as dealings with his clan. The shoe’s on the other foot since he is renowned. Cassandra gives him a friendly warning. He is about to be tasered. Tony has to give the dilemma some thought: running off would be cowardly and ruin the opportunity to become more familiar with Ms. Gillespie. He decides to take one for her.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 Cassandra Gillespie

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 peck

Things pick up again in Economics class. It’s a real snoozefest for Tony’s brilliant mind. One of the bodyguards apologizes to him once he discovers who he tased. Cassandra remains attentive but after the lecture approaches Tony in the cafeteria. After some prompting, he admits that he did a Google search on her and came up with the most out-there profession. Star-crossed lovers are about to collide!! Cassandra’s mother and Tony’s father are business rivals. It doesn’t even concern the ladies’ man. Tony assures Cass that he doesn’t rely on his father for anything, including tuition fees. Tony wants a bona fide date sans the extra attention. Cass proposes a potential deal-breaker/game-changer: meeting her nuclear unit. Tony pauses, calls out her intentions, and accepts. The worst that can come out of it is embarrassment, or assassination ordered by her mother.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 meet the fam

Dinner goes well given the forced circumstances. It is afterwards that things finally pick up. The Gillespies are ambushed by Hydra. The immense insidious organization is ubiquitous. Mama Gillespie is in their line of fire. She has not upheld her deal with them.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 ambush 1

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 ambush 2

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 betrayer gets a bullet

What seems to be a reverse Bruce Wayne/Batman origin is prevented by the unlikely saviour of Tony Stark, amateur sharp-shooter! Being inexperienced, especially with gun violence, Tony is oblivious to the many tendrils of the mythologically-named group. An overzealous soldier clips the young buck in the right shoulder. Cass is more than just a pretty face. She takes down the man who had his weapon pointed at her mother and now her new beau.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 gun-toting knight

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 gung-ho gunner

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 point & shoot

The police arrive as Tony blacks out. Fade to the present. Cassandra, twenty years older with an eyepatch, crouches over the red-and-gold Avenger. She is the leader of the mandroids. Neither wants to tussle with the other. She emphasizes that fighting would be futile since that would not bring him any closer in his quest to finding his birth parents!!!

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 rough reunion

Girls! Globe! Guns! This one has it all, folks!! Intrigue! Mystery! Suspense! Mr. Bendis has clearly embraced the ‘international’ in this companion series. I’m not an admirer of Marvel’s supposed flagship hero. I’ve collected several issues from all volumes but overall, I don’t fawn over the insanely brilliant inventor. I prefer to follow his adventures on the big and small screens. That being said, I am enjoying Mr. Bendis’ take on the INVINCIBLE title. I’ll follow that until he decides to ditch it. Luckily, B.M. has a track record of longevity with articulate plans that naturally unfold over time. Thus, I will read this book as well.

Tony Stark is the epitomical douchebag. Rightly so!! His character cannot be anything but that. Nevertheless, there are varying degrees which have been off-putting over the years: Civil War, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., World War Hulk, Illuminati, his Superior persona due to Axis. Aside from his life of wealth and privilege, Tony is extremely down-to-earth and human!!! I like this guy. He’s a true gentleman. He’s not the purported lothario from the days of yore. He’s human through and through!! He is essentially a loner until he gravitates towards someone of his ilk.

I did not read Kieron Gillen’s earth-shattering revealing storyline but it did raise my eyebrows. Why was Anthony adopted by the Starks? Who are his progenitors? Is this to say that he didn’t inherit Howard’s brilliance despite the switcheroo? One of Mr. Bendis’ trademarks is dialogue. He definitely flushes it out for six-sevenths of the issue as Tony and Cass meet, greet, flee, and fall. The last page brings their history full circle in the most extreme manner. Things truly soured between them. That fuels my curiosity even more!!

If you were expecting action and witnessing Iron Man in all his splendor and glory, you will be sorely disappointed. Aside from the inclusion of Hydra, this is all about acquainting. It just hit me: Tony and Cass could be the new Daredevil and Elektra!! They obviously had an intense relationship before being on opposing sides. Admittedly, I also assumed that there’d be fast-paced sequences to satisfy my fanboy nature but I’m pleasantly surprised by the radical departure.

Alex Maleev is reunited with his long-time collaborator!! The distinguished duo had an explosive extended run on DAREDEVIL {2nd Series} which continued with MOON KNIGHT {3rd Series}. In fact, their partnership goes back seventeen years over four other works. How apropos that the first page opens in Bulgaria, Mr. Maleev’s homeland!! I’m sure it’s an intentional nod to the illustrator from Mr. Bendis, or his own idea to include and acknowledge his country.

Mr. Maleev provides realistic renditions of his characters without too much grim nor grittiness. The rugged lines do not diminish the attractiveness. Tony is practically unrecognizable with the longer locks and the absence of facial hair.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 Tony has his hair down

Cassandra’s femininity undergoes a 360: prim, proper, elegant, composed transitioning to physically ‘deformed’ and battle-hardened.

[Credit: here are the last 2 of 4 images that I ‘borrowed’ from CBR (Comic Book Resources). Much obliged ^_^]

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 I see you, baby

Tony and Cass are fully brought to the forefront once they get down to brass tacks in the cafetorium. The body language speaks volumes in their interaction.

Paul Mounts provides an equilibrium of the light and the dark. The nightclub is accurate.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cavorting

The subtleness of the shadows is appropriate to the alluring anonymity. The best scene is the conversation in the caf. The soft glow not only radiates the room but their faces. Hardcore fans will be let down with the minimal appearance of the Iron Man suit but the colours are easily identifiable.

Clayton Cowles is one of several letterers supreme under the VC (Virtual Calligraphy) umbrella. He is credited with production which makes me surmise that he created the simple yet suave logo.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 logo

Speaking of which, it changed somewhat on the final cover versus the preview image.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover slightly different

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover re-designed

Mr. Cowles is a busybody with the typeface in the credits page, the orangey lyrics from the club, the terse narration, the robotic voices, the various sound effects. He expertly fills in the numerous word balloons like a boss!!

All in all, I praise the intentionally altered flavour of this issue. It should be distinct from the main book. Why bother with the moniker if this took place on American soil? Dare I suggest that this be re-named after Austin Powers?? Or perhaps reassign him as His Majesty’s Top Secret Agent??

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover E

Who are those women on the cover? Mary Jane? Pepper Potts? Cassandra? One must read on to be further enticed.

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover A

In modern times, one can travel the globe in less than 80 hours. As such, I give this book 21 out of 24 time zones (87.5%)

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 global pesky Stark

 

Thanks a bunch to my local comic shop for providing me this issue. They have the following variants:

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover D

INTERNATIONAL IRON MAN #1 cover C

I always drop by my fave store ^_^

Gotham Central ad 2015 feat. Deadpool

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