Iron Man Vol. 2 #1
Marvel Comics (November, 1996)“Heart Of The Matter” WRITERS: Scott Lobdell & Jim Lee PENCILER: Whilce Portacio INKERS: Scot Williams & JD COLORIST: Joe Chiodo & Martin Jimenez COMPUTER COLORS: Wildstorm Effects LETTERER: Rich & Dave EDITOR: Mike Heisler
After the attack by Onslaught, members of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers ended up in a parallel dimension, although thought dead by the regular Marvel universe. In this reality Tony Stark became cold-hearted after the death of his friend Rebel, who was testing a prototype battle armor before it blew up in mid air. Having escaped criminal proceedings, he has little compassion for anyone. But he still has a biological heart, and when Hydra tricks Bruce Banner into gaining access to the experimental “gamma bomb”, Bruce sacrifices himself…and a green monster forces Stark’s helicopter to crash. With his heart damaged, Tony’s only chance is the armor he abandoned, Project: Prometheus Rising.
What they got right: The comic takes advantage of having more pages to flesh out Tony Stark a bit more. He’s cold, self-serving, and a bit cruel. They’re setting up more of a redemption tale than the tragic story Stan Lee attempted and while I personally think it’s a bit much, from a general perspective, it’s the 90’s and they’re following the Image/Wildstorm style so it could be worse and I don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea. How well it’s done in future issues remains to be seen.
What they got wrong: Too many characters thrown in. Doc Samson does nothing but give us some more Tony being a jerk moments, and the same for Pepper. Happy Hogan is now Tony’s publicist. I do like the backstory with the Atomic Knights (basically Rebel and all the FF and Avengers geniuses that were zapped into this universe) but it doesn’t really seem to matter. Maybe it will in the future?
Then there’s the art. My god, the art is horrible. The women can’t be told one from the other (except for Madame Hydra, who looks like a dude) and they dress to show as much of their misshapen bodies as they can. Bruce is the only male with a normal physique (which is quickly made up for by the Reborn Hulk) but I think he’s supposed to be the skinny pencil-neck type. It almost makes me want to go back and look at the Nightwing comic.
Recommendation: There are some good story ideas, but I have my doubts about them being pulled off. Sadly, I’m also missing issue #2 so I don’t know where this will go. The art is some of the worst the 90’s had to offer. I really can’t bring myself to recommend this book.