After spending the last few issues of Iron Man twisting my brain around and turning everything we thought we knew about Iron Man upside down, Kieron Gillen switches things up with this one and goes for a much more simple, action-oriented issue as Howard Stark and 451 re-unite the Stark Seven to go after the Greys. As I said, this particular issue wasn’t as mind-bending as previous ones, but it was still very good.
The action here was very well-done, and I especially liked how Gillen managed to work in some very interesting character details in there. I am particularly intrigued by The Bear. In her previous appearances, that codename seemed very odd, she’s a glamorous blonde, what does that have to do with bears? But here, we find out why. When the Greys kill some of her Corgis, she reveals that she can turn into some kind of bear-monster. She’s an interesting character for sure. I also continue to find 451 to be a great villain, the twist he pulled at the end, where he tricks Howard into thinking he let the Greys go free, when instead he murders them was great stuff. He’s so manipulative and evil, so much fun to read, especially since Gillen also finds opportunities to use him for humour.
In the end, the Greys are defeated, and baby Tony Stark is born. Hooray! And man, he’s a pretty cute baby. Even amongst all of the explosions and people turning into bears, I think the two page sequence where we see baby Tony is Eaglesham’s best work on this issue. There’s a lot of attention to detail in those pages, I especially like how Maria Stark bites her lip.
So, it looks like it’s happily ever after for the Starks right? Noope, as in the framing device back in the present, we find out another added wrinkle to 451’s schemes, he needs Tony Stark to pilot a massive space robot called ‘The Godkiller’. So now the title of the Voldi 3-parter has a new meaning, not just because Tony ‘killed’ their God, the Phoenix, but also because he was pre-destined to pilot the Godkiller.
This story is crazy, I have absolutely no idea where it’s going to go next, even more standard issues like this were full of great ideas and interesting teases. Gillen may be getting a lot of praise for Young Avengers, but I think this is by far the best thing he is writing at the moment. It’s fun, it’s dark, it’s clever, it’s doing something new with the character… what more could you want?