Review: Iron Man 2.0 #1 By Nick Spencer

Iron Man 2.0 #1

Written by Nick Spencer

Art by Barry Kitson, Kano, and Carmine Di Giandomenico

Nick Spencer is the selling point of this book for me, as I continue my support of the new breed of writers coming in. I’m not a fan of War Machine, or Jim Rhodes, and never really have been, sure, it’s a cool design, but I wasn’t even an Iron Man fan until Matt Fraction tackled the Armored Avenger! So under most writers I wouldn’t even consider a War Machine ongoing series, especially one with a name like Iron Man 2.0, but in Spencer I trust.

The title opens up with a brief team up as War Machine and Iron Man team up to fight a Blizzard robot before laying down the groundwork for what’s coming up next. With Star Resilient building cars, and companies like Hammer releasing things like Detroit Steel, Rhodes, as War Machine, is the only option they have for supplying the military with an Iron Man. Better the real thing than some potentially horrifically evil or amoral knock off, right? Unfortunately, the General in charge is not a fan of Stark or Rhodes. During Rhode’s brief run with a solo title during Dark Reign, he was a one man army destroying installations which include the military base that General Babbage has him stationed on now. Rhodes may have been careful to ensure that there were no casualties, but Babbage can only point out the destruction of the base, the damage to the local economy, and the fact that soldiers were moved to tents. It’s a valid point, as Rhodes is supposed to be a good soldier, but it’s hard for me to hold any anti-Osborn actions against anyone.

The plot revolves around a man named Palmer Addley, who is presented initially as the threat Rhodey must face, only for him to quickly discover that Addley is already dead. Addley was a scientist that was in a deep immersion program, living on-site, no communications of any sort to the outside world including TV. He did nanotech, robotics, surveillance, pretty much everything, he was their top guy. Then he put a bullet in his own head. Life goes on though, and they got back to work, and then a few months later programs he worked on began to go down until everything he had ever touched had shut down…..only to start popping up all over the world, primarily in the wrong hands. And every location has a hint of his involvement, and from what we’re shown it’s the words ‘Palmer Addley is dead’. The question becomes how did this get out there? There were no leaks, he told nobody, and every variable has been covered from magic (Dr. Strange helping), mutants (using the X-Men’s Cerebro), and science (calling in Reed) have been covered. It’s the ultimate locked room mystery.

And it’s one that Spencer gives us the answer to in the most subtle way possible, and that’s actually the hook that makes this story for me. It’s clever, opens up a lot of room for a super science story that is suited for a character in the Iron Man family, and given that this book is called Iron Man 2.0 and not War Machine, I’ve got a few ideas for what’s going to happen.

The art is my biggest issue with this book. I’m a big fan of Barry Kitson’s (especially anything he’s done with Mark Waid), have enjoyed Kano’s art when I’ve seen it, and liked Di Giandomenico’s art in the Magneto Testament, but I really want to know why all three of them pencil this normal length issue. Any of these guys can be a solo penciller for a book, and yet the mishmash of art we wind up with leaves me unable to tell whose pencils I’m seeing at any given time. I had similar issues with Brightest Day at first before a few people were able to help me figure out which artists were doing which heroes, but this issue doesn’t even narrow it down like that. Best I could figure is the woman at the beginning and end is one artist, Tony and Rhodey against Blizzard is another, and Rhodey out of costume is another. It’s just too many cooks in the kitchen though, and it keeps the art from being as good as if any one of them was handling it on their own. Personally, I’d go with Kitson, but I also was craving a monthly title with him on art before this was even announced.

For a first issue, this actually does a pretty nice job. Despite having never really been a fan of Rhodes or War Machine, Spencer has me curious about what happens next. I like the characterization, and feel that the focus he’s giving to Rhodes out of the suit is going to make this book far more interesting than past attempts writers have given the character, but I’ll have to reserve final judgement until the first arc is in the can. The issue isn’t perfect, but it really does its job as a solid first issue.

Overall?

7/10

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