This here is the final issue of the first arc in the new Marvel NOW! Iron Man series. Tony is finally coming face to face with the last possessor of the Extremis tech that he vowed to hunt down after Maya Hansen, the creator of the virus and an old flame, was murdered. While the previous adventures took the Armored Avenger all over the world, this latest one brings him into outer space to encounter a figure from his past.
In this issue, Tony goes into orbit around the Earth to find an old friend named Eli who used the Extremis kit to make his crew literal space men, as in they could be in space without the use of suits or machines. Being as the two have a history, our hero drags his feet on completing his mission, especially since he wants to help his friend.
The best word that I could think of to use to describe this issue is anti-climactic. After four issues and the hint that something big is supposedly at the end of this search and destroy mission, we basically get nothing. Yeah, Eli is a guy from Tony’s past, but we know nothing about him except that he wants to be in space. As far as I know, Eli was created for this story. Maybe if Gillen gave us more backstory between the two to show that their bond was greater, then the battle would have meant something more. Or maybe if the last enhancile ended up being someone we recognized like Justine Hammer or Ezekiel Stane or someone like that then this finale would have packed more of a punch. As for the battle itself, it was essentially two shots: One on Tony and then the kill shot in return. After Stark mentioned in issue four that he didn’t want to go to this particular Extremis kit right away, I anticipated something really important, but what we actually got was a semi-half-assed threat and filler to get us to the new Godkiller armor that Iron Man will be using during his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Lastly, another thing that didn’t settle well was that this Eli guy was doing something that Tony wanted to do. Instead of destroying the life-altering tech because it could fall into the wrong hands, why not help protect it? Or upgrade it with fail-safes? Or something other than destroy it!?! Tony Stark is one of the brightest minds in the whole universe and just because someone else has a cool toy that he didn’t come up with, he destroys it and tells them to make a new one? It’s petty and it’s definitely not something you’d do to a friend, right?
Iron Man has been really weird in this title. It started off okay, but in these last two issues things have just been off. This last issue before heading into a new story had the potential to be good, but it ended up falling flat. It’s a shame that one of Marvel’s top heroes had such a meh start in Marvel NOW!. Maybe things will get better once he joins up with the Guardians, but we shall see.
IRON MAN #5
Written by KIERON GILLEN
Art by GREG LAND, JAY LEISTEN, & GURU eFX