“Ultimate Comics Iron Man” #1 is a solid superhero smash of an issue. Tony Stark is established as a multi-faceted man and his threat for this mini series attacks him at his core. The dialogue is fun and punchy and the story works at a decent pace to make the action happen with a personal undercurrent flowing behind it all.
Nathan Edmondson understands that Iron Man is a soldier in a very high tech battle suit. As such, Edmondson treats him like one in the opening sequence. Iron Man enters the fray to bring down a team that looks straight out of “The Activity” (a creator owned book from Edmondson) and the high stakes kinetic energy flows from the suit right across the page. Mattea Buffagni begins well but the explosive conclusion feels obfuscated, as the panels don’t capture the scope of the proceedings.
A flashback to Stark and Josey Gardner, a past love, grounds the character well and will likely be used throughout the rest of the series. As most characters introduced come back to play a part, it feels like a safe bet for now that Josey is connected to the villainous reveal at the end. Whether she turns out to be this maniacal menace or simply informing him will wait to be seen but the ground road is laid to walk that path easily.
The major problem with this issue is Mattea Buffagni’s art. The characters are defined well enough, though perhaps a little too plain and inconsistent in design. The young Tony doesn’t look as much like the older, and more iconic, version as it should. Buffagni pulls a great turn of panels in showing the Iron Man transformation sequence. The lack of defined backgrounds and layers make this world feel like a hollow set at times.
“Ultimate Comics Iron Man” #1 is a superhero book you could hand to just about anyone. This feels like it would be perfect to slip into a teen’s hand and give them ten minutes to read. Tony Stark is fun, the action is goal oriented and the conclusion makes for a very nice cliffhanger. Edmondson and Buffagni set up all the pieces they wish to play with in this mini. From the last page, it looks like they’ll have a lot of fun and so will we.