This week it’s a double dose of Marvel as Tony Stark goes global in International Iron Man, and “Apocalypse Wars” kicks off in Extraordinary X-Men!
International Iron Man #1(Marvel Comics)
Spin-off series are always a bit of a hard sell. Sure, when you have one or two series for a character like Spider-Man or Batman it makes sense, since other series can cover more aspects of the character, but most times the spin-offs don’t really justify their existence, which is definitely the case for International Iron Man, the new Iron Man series from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
From a title like International Iron Man you’re probably expecting a series that focuses on Tony Stark as a globetrotting adventurer, and you wouldn’t be wrong thinking that. Unfortunately much of this opening issue flashes back to Tony Stark’s days at Cambridge University, and it drags the book to a halt. Bendis spends a lot of time with this version of Tony Stark, and while it all ends up being necessary to the plot by the end of the issue, it’s not very compelling. In fact, this issue reminds me of some of the worst aspects of Bendis’ storytelling. It feels very padded and boring. Hell, you only see Tony as Iron Man in the opening and closing panels of the book, and some armored goons knock him down.
Alex Maleev’s art is pretty good for this issue, but then again, there’s not a lot of action for him to draw. A large chunk of this issue is made up of talking heads between young Tony, the woman he’s dating Cassandra, and her family. That’s it. And while that’s fine for Maleev, it also doesn’t do the man who made a huge splash on Bendis’ Daredevil any favors.
It’s a bummer that International Iron Man’s opening issue is such a dud. I’ll check out the second issue to see where all this set up goes, but I’m really worried that this is another example of Bendis padding out a story to fit into a graphic novel collection. Hopefully International Iron Man can live up to it’s awesome spy sounding name soon, cause if not, this may have been better suited as a back up tale in Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man.
Extraordinary X-Men #8 (Marvel Comics)
The first X-Men crossover in All New All Different Marvel has arrived, and interestingly enough, it focuses on Apocalypse (I wonder why). With the exception of his young clone Genesis, not much has been seen of En-Sabah-Nur in recent X-Men history. But all that changes now with the start of “The Apocalypse Wars”, which kicks off in Jeff Lemire and Ken Lashley’s Extraordinary X-Men #8.
Or at least, it would, if this issue didn’t focus more on wrapping up the loose ends from the previous Extraordinary X-Men arc. A good half of the issue is spent having our various X-Men discuss recent events and come to terms with one another, and it’s not until about midway through the book that we start to see the start of the event. Lemire’s script may not set up too much for “Apocalypse Wars”, but he definitely showcases that he’s got a great handle on the various mutants’ characteristics, and we even get some more insight into the M-Pox virus that’s been affecting mutants.
Extraordinary X-Men #8 may feature a Humberto Ramos cover, but unfortunately Ramos isn’t doing the interior artwork. In his place is Ken Lashley, whose last work that I remember was in DC’s Suicide Squad relaunch. Lashley mimics Ramos’ style pretty well this issue, but he also doesn’t completely come off like a carbon copy of Ramos’ art. In fact, Lashley’s such a good fit for this book that I’d really like to see him take over the series whenever Ramos decides to leave.
So far “Apocalypse Wars” is off to a pretty slow start, but the final page that shows off the new Horsemen is pretty damn impressive, so I’ll definitely check out the next installment. With a crossover that goes across the other X books All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men I’m hopeful that the storyline will move along at a quicker pace. We could use a good X-Men crossover.