Welcome to the future.
This is an interesting comic. Now that we’ve entered 2020, the theme of the future is more present than ever. Marvel is fully cognizant of this fact and the newest volume of Iron Man capitalizes on this idea.
To bring us into the future, the new Iron Man is now.. Arno Stark. Yes, you read that correctly. The casual comic book reader may not know that Tony Stark is out of commission and has been for a long time. During his fight with Captain Marvel in the “story” Civil War II, Iron Man was critically injured. His original body never came out of the coma, and a pre-made “back-up” of his consciousness was installed in an artificial body. He’s fulfilled his duties as Iron Man in this state since that time. Now, onto Arno..
Arno has had a tough go of things. Since his debut back in 2013, he hasn’t been a popular character. His existence literally rewrote the history of Tony Stark (I won’t fully reveal how, here), and left many fans considerably upset. I was definitely one of them. However, as time as passed and I’ve seen that Arno is actually capable.. I’m okay with it. Arno was definitely an unforeseen character, but he’s not all bad.
The comic, itself, opens as Arno perceives (in a dream) an enormous technological threat to the Earth. The current state of Earth-616 houses AI just about as intelligent as humans. However, they’re tired of being under humanity’s boot heel and are planning to rise up. Arno must stop this from happening.
During the issue he suits up and takes out a group of rogue AI holding a bunch of construction workers hostage. Here we get to see Arno’s Iron Man armor is just as overwhelmingly fast and powerful as any of Tony’s armaments.
He eventually meets up with his own Pepper Potts, a corporate powerhouse by the name of Sunset Bain. She is the shrewd, intelligent, and well-dressed leader of Baintronics, the chief competitor of Stark Unlimited. Bain is actually one of the better aspects of this issue. She has a fresh, energetic demeanor and adds levity to nearly every panel she appears in. I’m usually not a fan of the “robotically efficient CEO” character, but I enjoy Bain in this book.
Arno and Bain eventually uncover who’s behind the AI uprising (I also won’t spoil that here). During the standoff between Arno and the leader, the head robot escapes and reveals yet another leader fully behind the scenes. Moments like this one are why I love comics—I was legitimately surprised, and I’m sure you will be, as well.
Marvel continues to deliver, and I couldn’t be happier. The art and storytelling are as beautiful and captivating as ever. I’m a big fan of the Marvel shows and movies, but it’s always nice to get back to solid, hold-in-your-hands media.
Comic grade: B+
—The Cavalier Nerd