Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man #1: Review

Feb 1996
Terry Kavanagh, Hector Collazo

Story Name:

Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man

Review & Comments

3 stars

Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man #1 Review by (April 11, 2011)
This is an epilogue to the Crossing crossover, continuing from Avengers #395. **** Thor looks like he's wearing the outfit he will don to fight Onslaught in Thor #502 and related appearances. But this issue has to occur before Thor #496, part of the First Signs crossover that involves the new Iron Man. There was obviously some confusion around this time, as Thor wears a costume like this in the Iron Man #326 part of First Signs, but not in the other parts. He also sports one like it on the cover of Hulk #440, but not inside. During the Crossing crossover the costume also cropped up on covers of the 1-shots Avengers: The Crossing (where he only appeared in an alternate future, wearing that costume) and Avengers: Timeslide (where he was in the main action, but not in that costume). **** Masque is a clone of Madame Masque (Whitney Frost). How does she know about some of the other females she impersonated? Possibly from Madame Masque's excellent information network. Possibly via Marianne Rodgers's telepathy. **** This is the last appearance of Marianne Rodgers. **** Masque will continue to hang around with the Avengers until Avengers #399. Then she will disappear until Avengers v3 #32. **** Meredith McCall will reappear as Meredith Alden in young Iron Man's short run. **** The mystery villain is Stark's cousin Morgan Stark, who will be set up as a master villain in that short run. One of his threats that does materialise is Meredith Alden's ex-husband Frostbite in #327-328, a sort of successor to Jack Frost, although Morgan isn't involved here. But one of his operatives Calico in #330 is similar to Ghost. **** The unnamed hologram villain is Arsenal, who was built by Howard Stark, and found beneath Avengers mansion in Iron Man #114. **** Young Iron Man's future continues in Iron Man #326.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This epilogue to the Crossing crossover continues from AVENGERS #395.

This issue is a remembrance of Tony Stark's life as Iron Man, and a prelude to the (short) career of his 19 year old self, brought to the present by the Avengers in Avengers: Timeslide.

Ths story opens with a recap of the climax of Iron Man #325, where older Tony ripped the heart out of younger Tony. And the end of Avengers #395, where older Tony redeemed and sacrificed himself by destroying the weapon that would have given Kang control of a devastated Earth.

Now Giant-Man (Henry Pym) and other specialists have fitted young Tony with an artificial heart, and a chestplate like Iron Man's to keep it running. Only time will tell if he will recover from his coma.

A motley group of Avengers waits outside the operating theatre. Black Widow, Captain America, Crystal, Hawkeye, Hercules, Quicksilver and Vision were all in at the end of the saga in Avengers #395. Only Century and Wasp are missing from the roster of heroes in that issue. Beast, Black Panther, Deathcry, Jarvis, Scarlet Witch and Thor all had roles of varying sizes in the Crossing crossover.

Jarvis elects to watch over the patient, along with Happy and Pepper Hogan. Pepper recalls the previously unseen day when Stark made her his PA. Happy tells how he saved Tony from a crashed racing car, and became Tony's chauffeur, in Tales of Suspense #45. Jarvis picks a time between those, Iron Man's origin in Tales of Suspense #39, including Stark and his bulky chestplate distancing himself from his fiancee Joanna Nivena, as told in more detail in a flashback in Iron Man #244.

Captain America and Hawkeye reminisce about Iron Man's many armours, allies, enemies and battles. But they can't help being drawn to his final battles in the Crossing crossover. How he killed Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara) and Marilla in Avengers: The Crossing and Amanda Chaney in Force Works #19, and seriously injured Wasp in Avengers #393 causing her to evolve into her current insectile form. They also say he is also indirectly involved in the deaths of 2 others, by which they presumably mean Gilgamesh and teenage Luna.

They repeat how Kang (said that he) tried to corrupt Hank Pym, but Pym resisted, leading to his nervous breakdowns (e.g. the Yellowjacket Schizophrenia in Avengers #59-60, and the period leading up to his court-martial in Avengers #213). But Stark succumbed, and turned against the Avengers in the Crossing crossover. Hawkeye blames it on Stark's weak character, exemplified by his alcoholism and womanising.

Masque, who aided the Avengers during the crossover, slips into the recovery room and uses her image inducer to masquerade as a series of Tony's female acquaintances:- Kathy Dare (stalked him from Iron Man #233, shot him in IM#242), Meredith McCall (Tony's first love, seen in Avengers: Timeslide, who popped up again, married, in IM#28), Janice Cord (Tony thought about marrying her in IM#21, so of course she was killed in IM#22), Gretl Anders (a pregnant homeless woman whom drunken Tony befriended in IM#178, but who died in chidbirth in IM#182), Su Yin (temporarily cured Stark's neurological damage in IM#270-272), Whitney Frost (it's complicated) and Bethany Cabe (this one's complicated too).

Next Marianne Rodgers, another player in the crossover and in the older Stark's life, telepathically checks that young Tony is truly free of Kang's influence. But she also finds the same vulnerabilities as older Tony.

Finally a mystery villain appears by hologram to threaten young Tony, and taunt him with the 'return' of some of Iron Man's foes:- Blacklash, Ghost, Mandarin, Controller, a successor to Jack Frost, and an unnamed villain.

Until Tony awakens to find Jarvis still by his side.

The epilogues to the Crossing continue in FORCE WORKS #21.

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Hector Collazo
Rene Micheletti
Joe Rosas
Hector Collazo (Cover Penciler)
John Costanza (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Happy Hogan, Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Masque, Whitney Frost.

> Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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