The stuff Kieron Gillen is revealing about Tony Stark’s origin really is messing with my head, my mind and my brain. This story is just crazy, and I can tell it’s only going to get crazier. We’re still out in space with Tony and 451, but the bulk of this story is set in the past, with Tony’s parents. It’s revealed that there’s something terribly wrong with the baby growing inside of Maria Stark, so good old Howard desperately searches for something to save his unborn child. We see him consult far and wide, from the High Evolutionary to the Seven Cities of Heaven, and appeal to characters who I assume are Nathaniel Richards and Mister Sinister, but I’m not sure. When all else fails, he is approached by Rollo, a classic ‘grey’ alien like Roger from American Dad, about pulling off a heist in a Casino run by alien gangsters. It must be said that Dale Eaglesham draws an awesome grey, along with everything else, but his grey… yeah, full of personality but still an alien.
This is all incredibly cool stuff to me, we’re in a time-period that’s not often explored in the Marvel Universe, the period in-between WW2 and the arrival of the Fantastic Four, and Gillen makes good use of stuff from this time-period, like the grey Aliens and a plot reminiscent of Ocean’s 11, which was of course, originally a Rat-Pack movie. This may not explicitly be the 1950s, but it feels like it. Howard Stark’s group isn’t as large as 11 though, he only has 7, but it’s full of characters we’re familiar with, such as Jimmy Woo, Dum Dum Dugan and the man who would be Rulk, Thunderbolt Ross. There’s also two female characters, ‘The Bear’ and Nessa The Kitten, who I’m not familiar with, are they new creations? Or classic Atlas Comics characters I’m just unaware of? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the item this group is breaking into the Casino for is… 451! Which is, as I’ve said before, crazy. The Stark Seven pull of a very enjoyable heist, very much in the classic heist-movie vein (only with aliens and robots), and in the end, Howard asks 451 with help delivering the baby.
This issue is brilliant in two ways, firstly, it’s a very exciting adventure caper in it’s own right, but the way it ties in with Iron Man and Marvel history is very interesting indeed. What exactly is wrong with the foetus that will become Tony Stark? How will 451 save him? If you’re into Iron Man, you really need to be reading this arc, Tony Stark is barely in it and it’s still awesome!