"Iron Man" #5 from Kieron Gillen and Greg Land is another good issue for the series. While other Marvel NOW! books have grabbed headlines for running the extended spectrums of being amazing or terrible, "Iron Man" has hidden in the background doing some very cool things without as much fanfare. The main reason being that Kieron Gillen delivers great scripts that are brought down by subpar art from Greg Land.
This issue is another standalone tale that rounds out a connected arc. Tony Stark has been chasing down Extremis kits used and housed by other people. He tracks the last one down to an old friend and makes the choices he feels need to be made. This issue's complication and resolution are delivered quickly but that doesn't stop Gillen from dropping some smart moments in the short space taken. Gillen shows that he understands the level on which a genius like Stark needs to be operating. It's nice to see the techno-mumbo-jumbo used effectively for both character and audience.
The meat of the tale is shortened and the last third of the book serves as a coda to the arc. Every writer and artist wants to put their own stamp on Iron Man. They want to redesign the suit or design a new suit. As the years go by, Stark's armor has become a fashion change that switches with the season. This creative team is no different, but they certainly want their big moment to be driven by the narrative. Gillen caps this arc with a mission statement involving character, suit, location and overall heroic capacity. It's a great idea that should yield interesting plot points in the future.
Greg Land has become the elephant in the room for "Iron Man." His art is excessively subpar and downright bad in some places. Land can draw the suit well -- his technological skills are up to the job for this book -- but when a real human enters the page, it all falls apart. Pepper Potts continues to look like a plastic idea of what a woman might be and Stark's face continually changes from panel to panel. The inconsistencies are just as annoying as the copy-paste faces for other sequences. There is no human flow on the page.
"Iron Man" #5 is another enjoyable one-shot in this overall arc from Gillen and Land. Gillen has structured these tales to be tight and effective and his coda at the end here is a very cool way to set up the future of the title. It is a shame that the art from Land is so ineffective and distracting. He delivers on some cool moments -- just look at the cover for what he can do -- but overall it's hard to take the book seriously when it looks like this. Nonetheless, "Iron Man" has been enjoyable and written and structured well, so hopefully readers will continue to enjoy that aspect of the title.