I generally like it when there are new takes on classic characters as long as they remain true to the characters. While the current run of ‘Iron Man’ had Tony once again partially on the run from his problems in order to “get a new perspective”, it still felt like classic Tony. Only, it felt like Tony in space (which as much as ‘The Secret Origin Of Tony Stark” and everything that came from it shouldn’t have worked – it did!  Well, aside from the big reveal at the end).

If you are behind on the series, this is a spoiler but it should be common knowledge by now that Tony isn’t actually a Stark (he never did have a Dire Wolf in the comics) and in fact has a brother named Arno who actually is a Stark. Boy genius brothers are diving head first into the deep end of building a new world for a better tomorrow, and it’s all planned to start with a single city.

In the last issue we learned two important things. The first is that Arno is extremely against relying on AI and builds an entire virtual scenario to show a future Earth full of greatness brought down by AI. The second piece we find out is that the Mandarin’s rings are seeking out 10 candidates to each wield one in order to join together and kill Tony Stark.

I guess that’s one way for the Mandarin’s legacy to continue on.

I hate the premise of Arno and Tony working together to build a city when so much else is going on in the greater Marvel Universe. It just feels out of place. Still, they have a dream to build a new “Iron Metropolitan” super city that will change the world. So where to build such a thing? Clearly in the ruins of Mandarin City that’s still infested with all kinds of tech armored hoodlums that we see Tony spending part of the issue taking out.

On top of that, when Tony tells Pepper Potts about his grand vision he also introduces her to his latest AI, P.E.P.P.E.R. What happens is probably unfortunate for Tony as they really do seem to hit it off. Of course the AI gets a name change later in the book as Tony upgrades her with a vastly superior new home in the form of not his armor’s AI but what I believe will be helping control the creation of his new city.

“How sweet is that?” asks no one as we just had an entire issue where we focused on not trusting AI. Sure it was AI based off of a certain android’s “corpse” that Tony is now in possession of, but I’m pretty sure with that warning there is only one way this is going to go. The creation of Ultron for the next Avengers movie! Well, maybe not quite that but the timing does seem like it would work for a good long term plan.

We close the issue as Tony is telling the world about his new vision when his press conference is suddenly interrupted. A giant hand with a single ring comes out of the ground. War has been declared. I’m just glad that it’s not another return of the original Mandarin who was killed at the hands of Ezekiel Stane. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the rings find a way to bring him back to life once again, just hopefully not in this run.

Overall, a great setup issue. As much as I dislike the idea behind Arno and where part of this is going it’s caught my interest and I want to see where this ends up gonig with the new group of Mandarin and how the AI will eventually turn against them.


Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Joe Bennett