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Review: Iron Man 2020

Written by Rui Esteves on Saturday, June 08 2013 and posted in Blog
Review: Iron Man 2020
In the far future of 2020 the Iron Man mantle no longer belongs to Tony Stark. Arno Stark, a self centered, playboy and arrogant distant cousin has bought the rights to Tony's legacy. This book collects all of Arno Stark's Iron Man adventures that were originally printed in:
  • Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20, 
  • Machine Man #1-4, 
  • Death's Head #10, 
  • Iron Man 2020 #1, 
  • Astonishing Tales #3; 
  • What If? #53.

How is it?Because this book is a collection on so many stories, by various creative teams and from very different time periods, it provides very uneven reading experiences. Through out these six stories Arno's characterization goes back and forward, so do his power levels, objectives and place in society. To better do justice to each story, lets look at each one independently.Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20Man of the Year was the first story I've read about Arno Stark. This is the story that made me want to buy this book in the first place. Arno Stark is up for the Man of the Year award. He has everything, a family, a major company, the Iron Man armor and the adoration of the society. On the day he is getting is Man of the Year award his company is targeted by a terrorist. The terrorist plants a bomb that can only be defused by scanning his retina. However Arno blows the terrorist up before he could get his retina scanned. Luckily Arno was working on a time machine and he uses it to get back in time to when the terrorist was just a kid. There he tries to find it but runs into Blizzard and Spider-man. Both will get in his way.Will the Man of the Year get the scan he needs to defuse the bomb or will he loose everything he cares about?
Machine Man #1-4Machine Man was shut down and disassembled somewhere in the past. In 2020 he gets reassembled and introduced to a world he no longer recognizes. Society is in a new golden age where robots aid humans in all aspects of their lives. The manufacturing of these robots is done by one single company. For most people this is fine and dandy, but for a group of young rebels its not. One of these rebel groups finds the remainings of Machine Man and put him back together. Machine Man ends up befriending the rebels and helping them fight the established powers.Arno Stark is nothing but a minor villain in this story. A hired gun that exists only to give Machine Man a punching bag. Iron Man is nothing but a cardboard cutout of a henchman. He could have been replace with any other character and it wouldn't have affected the story one bit.
Review: Iron Man 2020Attacking the Rebel Base

Death's Head #10

In The Cast Iron Contract a shady millionaire plays the Iron Man and Death's Head against each other in a sick game to entertain himself.

This is a meaningless story, riddled with cliches that adds little to nothing to the Iron Man 2020 story.

Iron Man 2020 #1

Review: Iron Man 2020
Ironman vs Ironman

The daughter of a rich entrepreneur is kidnapped and Arno Stark is hired to get her back. This takes place after the Machine Man mini-series and Arno is still recovering from the ass-kicking he got at the hands of Machine Man. He is insecure and unsure of his actions and that will be his greatest enemy.

This story is awfully familiar, assuming you've read those 70s and 80s Iron Man stories. Even an Iron Monger lookalike makes an appearance.

All in all its not the worst story in this collection, but it shows its age very badly.

Astonishing Tales #3

This is the most recent Iron Man 2020 story put to print. In it Arno Stark is portrayed like a ruthless Tony Stark. A smooth playboy with a power armor that has close relations with SHIELD. The only difference is that Arno obliterates any obstacle that stands in his way with all the firepower at his hands.

There isn't much this story adds to the Arno Stark story. But at least it entertains.

Art wise this story stands out. Its drawn in a modern style with great coloring. Its probably the best looking of the book. 

Review: Iron Man 2020
Arno Looking Like Tony

What If? #53

Talking about the plot of this story would spoil the ending of the Man of the Year story published in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20.

Its a typical What If? story, exploring alternative story plots with (usually) tragic endings. This one also has the worst art of the book.


I read the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20 when I was 8 or 9 years old and I remember that the Iron Man 2020 scared the bejesus out of me. When this got reprinted I had to read that story again. I was struck with the nostalgia bug.

However, like many old comics, this didn't age well. To be fair this was not very good to begin with and now its not worth your money. The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20 is an ok story, but the others range from awful to mediocre.

Unless you have a uncontrolled urge to read about every Iron Man incarnation there is, do yourself a favor and skip this one.

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Year: 2013
Pages: 304
Authors: too many to list

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Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels


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About the Author - Rui Esteves

Rui Esteves is definitely from Peru and has a blog!  Rui tries to find the good in everyone, which is difficult when he has to work for this hive of scum and villainy, but he makes do.   Rui does so enjoy graphic novels, as evident from the name of his blog:  Reading Graphic Novels, twitter handle: @RGNblog, and Facebook page: rgnblog.


More articles from Rui Esteves
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