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Tony Stark: Iron Man #1: Review

Jun 2018
Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

Self-made man: Part 1 - What's the big idea?

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 Review by (June 23, 2018)
Tony Stark's longtime pal James Rhodes died in Free Comic Book Day 2016 - Civil War II. But Tony resurrected him in Iron Man #600 - the end of the Search For Tony Stark Legacy run. He went into action there in the War Machine armour which Iron Man will presumably have reclaimed from Punisher in his #228 - the end of *his* Legacy run.
We still wait to see what if any of the strands from Brian Michael Bendis' issues will be picked up apart from the return of Rhodey.

Bethany Cabe has possibly been in as many Iron Man issues as Pepper Potts (I'm not going to count them), usually as the Stark company's security chief. She was introduced by David Michelinie and Bob Layton in #117, and in the next issue they débuted Rhodey. So this is a return to those heady days. Michelayton also pioneered the idea of special purpose armours such as the Space and Stealth suits.

Fin Fang Foom dates back to the pre-Marvel Age Strange Tales #89 but he entered the Marvel Age in the It strip in Astonishing Tales #23-24. Then he was forgotten about until John Byrne used him in IM#260-275 (recently documented on our site by T Vernon) where it was revealed that he was 1 of the alien Makluans whose Power Rings were Mandarin's main weapons. Since then his appearances have been varied and confusing, of most recent significance the Monsters Unleashed limited series and its follow on series.

Jocasta is a sentient robot created in Avengers #162 by Ultron (himself created by Henry Pym). This is the 1st time she's referred to herself as Jocasta Pym, and also her 1st app in the post-Secret Wars III universe. She's often been associated with the Avengers but her previous specifically Iron Man connection was when her intelligence was used as the AI for his armour IM(1998)#18-48.

Controller is a minor Iron Man villain dating back to #12 of the 1st post-Tales Of Suspense series. His only post-SWIII apps have been as a Pleasant Hill prisoner in a couple of issues in the Avengers Standoff event, and in the Avengers issue of the Monsters Unleashed event.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
25 years ago teen Tony Stark entered a team for the International Robot Soccer Championship (humanoid division) and wiped the floor with the reigning champions run by Bhang Robotics. His flamboyant gameplay included a soundtrack and the final goal scored with a Pelé bicycle kick. His mother Maria Stark told him to stop showing off.

Now Bhang Robotics is just the much older Andrew Bhang operating from his garage where he's developing robots with artificial intelligence that can solve problems by cooperating non-hierarchically. Tony Stark comes to see him to say he loves the idea so much he's bought the company from its investors. But they'll have to do something about the concept name Idea-Based Structuring - its acronym has unfortunate connotations. Tony whisks him away in his flying car to Stark Unlimited HQ in Washington Square Park, New York.

They are greeted on the roof by Head of Security Bethany Cabe who wants to know what this unvetted person is doing on the premises, what with all the data being leaked lately. Tony introduces Andy as the new MVP (most valued person?) of the Robotics Division. Cabe updates the system and does a full body scan. She advises him to see a doctor about his prostate, and says he'll have to have his mobile phone wiped before he leaves. Tony brushes aside Bhang's protests about losing all his family photos.

Stark shows off some of the current projects:- Breathable water. Anti-gravity ping-pong. Talking cats and dogs. (We see a cat accused of drinking all the milk again and blaming Jerry from Accounting. When told there is no Jerry in Accounting he blames the dog.)

Tony leads Andy to the Robotics Division and introduces him to Tony Stark, and then fades away. The Stark in the flying car, etc was a hologram. The real Tony takes Andy into The Foundry where Iron Man armours are created to suit every need. Bhang wonders what the silvery female armour is for, but that armour introduces herself as the living robot Ms Jocasta Pym. She also says she's his superior because he'll report to her as the Chief Robotic Ethicist.

They trial Bhang's software in some Stark-Ware robots. They set them a task - make preparations for a little girl's birthday party. 4 minutes later everything in the room is wrecked, including the robots. The system still needs some work.

Then an alarm goes off which Stark recognises as signalling a 3F event. Not an F3 hurricane but an attack on NY by Fin Fang Foom. Tony contacts Colonel James Rhodes, his official military liaison, to get authorisation to deal with the monster - and then launches his forces without waiting. Automatic repulsor cannon craft attack from the air, on the sea and under it. (But Jocasta broadcasts a message to them to the effect that if any of them have become self-aware they are free to choose not to fight.)

Meanwhile Stark flies to the scene in another flying craft. He realises that Fin Fang Foom isn't acting normally. He's just growling rather than speaking eloquently. And he's not wearing (purple) pants. When he gets to the site his plane links up with all the cannons to form giant Iron Man model 3FB - the Fin Fang Foombuster. A fight ensues in which Iron Man executes martial arts moves while announcing them out loud. But it is the Big Triple-F who gets in the critical hit.

The Foombuster falls and Tony exits clad in a new normal-size Iron Man suit. Andy Bhang notes that he concentrates his fire on 1 location to create a weak spot on the monster's tough skin. (Andy makes a Hobbit reference which Jocasta doesn't understand so she downloads and absorbs the book and all other relevant material at high speed. She says she likes the book but splitting it into 3 films was too much.)

Stark's plan was to make an opening to inject a remote-control Nano Iron Man. But while he's guiding the nanobot towards FFF's brain and battling antibodies Foom swipes him with his tail and sends him to the bottom of the harbour. The nanobot battles on and Andy asks why Tony didn't send in thousands of them. Stark replies that he did but he couldn't figure out how to make them work as a team.

But Bhang reminds him how he won the Soccer competition. He's realised that the music teen Tony played during the match was actually part of the system, and asks Jocasta to broadcast the tune to the nanobots inside FFF. This allows the bots to synchronise their movements and defeat the antibodies. The bot Tony is controlling makes it to the brain and finds a control disc attached. Which at Andy's suggestion he smashes with a Pelé bicycle kick.

Fin Fang Foom regains his control of his senses and doesn't know what he's been doing. He stalks off saying he'll be no-one's puppet.

But Tony Stark himself has to ask for help because his armour is disabled on the sea-bed.

Later Bethany Cabe does a medical scan of his bruised and battered body, declaring he'll live. Rhodey comments that he should take care of his new body. (I don't think Tony's body *is* new, just repaired and rebooted during the Legacy Search For Tony Stark.) Beth reports that there's been another security breach during the battle, an on-site hack of Tony's new eScape system. Fin Fang Foom was a distraction. They agree to keep this quiet for now.

Tony Stark holds a press conference where all the major players of this issue are present. (Jocasta wears a suit for the public appearance.) He assures everyone that the Stark Solutions subdivision will repair any damage from the fight. They want to know if the armour he wore is the new Iron Man look, or if the multi-sized combo is the way of the future. Tony replies that Iron Man is an idea not a particular suit. He'll wear whatever is right for the job.

In an epilogue we see the Controller, who figures Stark must have recognised the control disc and realised who is behind it. Then Bethany Cabe delivers him the eScape files. It becomes clear that she is under Controller's control, but only some of the time. The danger is that normal Bethany will figure out what is happening.

Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Edgar Delgado
Alexander Lozano (Cover Penciler)
Alexander Lozano (Cover Inker)
Alexander Lozano (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes


Plus: Andy Bhang, Bethany Cabe, Controller (Basil Sandhurst), Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Maria Stark.

> Tony Stark: Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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