iron-man-20I was a little let down with ‘Iron Man’ #19′, which is a shame because I tend to love Kieron Gillen‘s writing. Thankfully what I felt was actually a lull in the second issue of this ‘Iron Metropolitan’ story arc which ended there. With the giant ring bearing hand that came up at the close of last issue, we are now moving forward at full force in this one!

Not only was this issue a step forward, but it blew away my expectations from the first issue and with the action, setups, ways the plot moved forward, suspense, character interactions, artwork, etc – this is one of my favorite issues to date. This entire book felt like two or three all wrapped up into one, but in a good way. This is the kind of superhero story I can get behind and it was an extremely refreshing read.

So what happened? Well as I mentioned above, the last issue ended with a giant ring wearing fist coming out of the ground and interrupting Tony’s speech about the brave new world he and his brother Arno plan to create. The ring in question was the Remaker. As Tony is scanning for the actual ring Abigail Burns realizes she can’t stay hidden for long and with her own ring, The Incinerator (Burns, Incinerator, how did I not catch that last issue?) she takes on the guise of Red Peril and starts trying to destroy Tony’s work while she escapes.

While she is able to use a nova flare styled ability which The Mandarin hadn’t previously used and knock out his extra armor, Tony was still in the fight. That is, until he realized Arno was in the area and his iron lung keeping him alive may have gone out too. While Tony went off to save his brother, Red Peril has a chance to escape. However, Arno, being just as smart as Tony, had reinforced his Iron Lung years ago to keep himself shielded from anything that would knock out power from it. It’s a very touching moment to see Tony’s concern and one I quite enjoyed with Arno for a change.

It was good to see Tony back in armor though. Speaking of being back in armor, he and the new Iron Patriot (Rhodey) take a trip to S.H.I.E.L.D. to inspect the Mandarin’s rings which were still supposedly under lock and key. They (Well, Tony to be specific) find out that the illusion creating ring was faking that all 10 were there while really the other 9 have been on the loose. Next, we’re left with Red Peril telling the world that she’s here to take out Iron Man. While she’s being a boisterous supervillain wannabe (that always works out so well for them in the end), the other rings are either already with their hosts for the upcoming battle or, for those without hosts, to find them quickly.

It’s a great setup for what’s to come. With the rings having used and been used by the original Mandarin for so long, I’m curious as to how long until we see Ezekiel Stane make an appearance. Will they want him dead? Will they use him as one of the ring holders? Will he be completely ignored (which I believe to be unlikely) in this story line? I can’t wait to find out! Thanks Kieron for giving us such a great issue!

atoms_5

IRON MAN #20
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Joe Bennett