For those who might not be aware, the setup of “Iron Age” is as follows: trapped in the past, Tony Stark must prevent the Dark Phoenix from destroying the world thanks to the machinations of Dr. Birch, the Phantom (not that one.) In this, the final act, we discover precisely how he does it.
For make no mistake, there was never any doubt that he would. DC might have spun their universe-ending story out of a Flash miniseries, but there was promotion and precedent. If Dark Phoenix was going to destroy Marvel Earth in an Iron Man miniseries, you can bet we’d know about it.
Still, let’s not criticize a plot conceit, especially when the story works so well under it. The series of interlinked “Iron Age” one-shots have been, on the whole, enjoyable reads, and this bookend chapter continues that trend. Although it doesn’t quite get to the “event story” scale it looked like it was going to, it’s still a pretty big ending, and one that couldn’t really have fit into a regular Iron Man series using the guest stars it does, at least.
Arguably, the book’s true success is down to Williams, who manages to take versions of characters from across Marvel continuity and make them sing in some kind of harmony. Place 70s-era Dazzler alongside anyone and the results could be jarring, but here Williams makes it work by playing it without irony.
The meta-arc, however, is little more than an exercise in nostalgia, which may leave some readers cold. It’s got scale, it’s got heart, but has it got anything huge to say about Iron Man or its cast? Maybe not. It’s a fun read nonetheless, the kind of comic that’s a good example of what it is, if no more.
A couple of moments do feel a little off in the conclusion: Dark Phoenix goes down far too easily, and the “twist” which Tony’s plan relies on undoes itself, which suggests that it wouldn’t have worked in the first place. It’s a strong enough story, though, to convincingly paper over those cracks. It’s understandable why things needed to happen this way. You can’t do a story with Dark Phoenix in and then deny your readers a fight with her, after all, but it’s a tough balance to strike.
With that in mind, “Iron Age Omega” is a good ending to a good series. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but with solid art and enjoyable writing, it provides a confident conclusion to a fun little mini-event. If you’ve made it this far, it won’t disappoint.