What drew me to this book was the art, which is somewhat unusual for me as I’m usually far more interested in the writing side of things. But I’ve been a fan of Frazer Irving’s distinctive style since his early 2000AD days, and while I was skeptical of Marvel’s decision to put him on an Iron Man series, I’m enough of a fan of Irving’s work to check out at least the first issue.
And while it still strikes me as an odd fit, Irving’s work here is as excellent as ever, with his usual great sense of storytelling and use of colour and shade, and he does draw a great Iron Man. Apart from a couple of neat moments, such as the Living Laser’s strange predicament, Joe Casey’s script is a bit bland and generic, but he does seem to know how to play to Irving’s artistic strengths and give him cool stuff to draw.
This is a solid but rather unremarkable comic, perhaps made to seem more so by Marvel’s decision to publish it as a separate title; as a mini-series event, The Inevitable doesn’t make much of a splash, but as a storyline in the ongoing and perpetually late Iron Man title, it would stand out much more. That said, the art is the star here, and this is a good Marvel debut for Irving.
Iron Man is popular these days. The fourth series for the Avenger was recently launched and is now supported by the new Ultimate Iron Man series written by Orson Scott Card (a major science fiction novelist). Add Iron Man: The Inevitable to that and you’ve got three Marvel series on Iron Man currently running. But remember, Iron Man: The Inevitable is a limited series, so jump on soon.
Issue #1 of the six part series opens with Stark buying a laser off of the black market. Iron Man then battles the same people from whom Tony Stark had just purchased a laser. Stark had planned from the beginning to trace them back to their hideout. Casey uses the rest of the story to foreshadow events in the future by introducing three of Iron Man’s old foes: Spymaster, the Ghost, and The Living Laser. The main plotlines revolve around Iron Man’s battle with the black marketers, Spymaster’s calculating plan to exact vengeance upon Iron Man, the reemergence of the Ghost, and the Living Laser’s tenuous grasp on life. While Spymaster and the Ghost are both fully capable of causing trouble the Living Laser is in a different predicament—he has become a sentient form of energy locked in stasis.
Written by Joe Casey (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) and drawn by Frazer Irving (Seven Soldiers: Klarion) Iron Man: The Inevitable is a good read, especially for the true Iron Man fan. The main positive in the comic is Irving’s rendition of Iron Man’s armor. While we only see a few glimpses of the classic red and gold armor it’s as good—and should be as popular—as the old red and silver type. The imagery used shows that Irving has an understanding of how a rich billionaire should look: charismatic but regal, dark but easy to approach.
Casey’s sentences are succinct. His dialogue is revealing. He uses dialogue to convey to the reader the majority of the story, letting Irving use imagery for the rest. There is obviously a connection between the writer and the illustrator in this issue, and will likely work its way into the other issues of the series as well. The pacing is perfect—though bear in mind there isn’t much action in this issue—and the colors and backgrounds suit the issues critical moments.
Highlights of Iron Man: The Inevitable include Casey’s style and Irving’s Iron Man armor. This is Irving’s first Marvel comic, and in each page he shows why he deserves your attention. Casey, on the other hand, is a Marvel veteran, having written the Avengers in the past. Combine them both and you get what looks to be a successful series for Marvel.
Issue #1 of Iron Man: The Inevitable isn’t a major event in comics, but it’s still a worthwhile read for any major Iron Man fan. It not only brings out some of the cooler Iron Man foes, but also will likely be a breakout series for illustrator Frazer Irving.
What happened to Iron Man? He used to be one of those solid mid-line performers in the Marvel Universe, like Thor and Captain America. Recently, though, the character has been drifting. He’s had a ridiculous number of new approaches in his series over the last few years, and his current series is absurdly, hideously late. Maybe the answer is that, like Thor, Iron Man has just fallen out of fashion. In this era where technology is ubiquitous, the idea of the best-armored and best-connected guy feels a little bit like a relic.
Joe Casey is a good writer, though, and he seems to have a nice approach to the character here. He makes a nice choice by presenting Tony Stark as a little bit like Bruce Wayne, a gallivanting playboy with a company to run. The big different between Tony and Bruce is that Tony’s a geek, and it’s also fun to see him take on the bizarre reconstruction of a villain called the Living Laser who has somehow become literally a living laser. Casey has a nice idea in also pushing the technology window in several scenes, presenting ideas that are just slightly outlandish while still maintaining internal consistency.
Fraser Irving’s art isn’t nearly as compelling as it was in Seven Solders: Klarion. In that book, his lush style helped add an air off odd unreality to Klarion’s strange world. Here, though, working in the real world, his style feels a bit more awkward, like he’s typing to break free but is held back by the story. There are a few scenes that have nice touches – there’s a party scene that’s a lot of fun, for instance – but I’m not sure that this is the best book for him.
I suppose by the end of the series, we’ll find out where the “Inevitable” tag comes from, but at this point it doesn’t make much sense yet. Overall this is an interesting first issue, competently done, but there’s still not quite enough to make Iron Man especially compelling.