Kieron Gillen said early on that the first five or so issues of his Iron Man run would be one off stories that link together. So far, that promise has been fulfilled. This was a fun comic, and it’s very easy to understand for new readers.
Tony Stark is tracking down a handful of Extremis shipments. This issue has him confronting Arthur, an idealist similar to Stark himself. He is building suits similar, yet different to Iron Man’s armor, and openly invites Iron Man to a “tournament” where the winner takes Extremis. Iron Man has to duel each of these suit pilots, one at a time. While their suits are inferior to Stark’s tech, their pilots are perhaps much more skilled. The payoff is just as entertaining as it sounds.
This issue also introduces another technologist, Meredith, who Iron Man has defeated in the past (don’t know if she’s a previously existing character or not). All of these different characters borrow names from Arthurian legends for their code names; Arthur sees himself as a crusader himself. A lot of time is spent exploring Lancelot, one of the suit wearers. The internal monologues are almost all from his perspective, and he’s an interesting character I wouldn’t mind seeing again. The parallels to Arthurian legends add extra depth to this comic, even though it would still be entertaining without them.
Greg Land is on the art, and it’s relatively inoffensive by his standards. There aren’t too many faces seen in this issue – it’s mostly just iron suits dueling each other. The excessive smiles and grins aren’t as bad as they usually are either. The colouring is good, the backgrounds are usually good and the dueling is easy to follow. It seems like Kieron Gillen knows how to utilize Land’s strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. That said, this issue won’t change your mind if you hate Land’s art.
This comic is a fun read. It’s a self-contained story with some actual depth. Everything you need to know is on the recap page, although the first issue explains Extremis in greater detail. If you’re interested in an Iron Man comic, this is worth checking out. I’m not sure if I’ll read this series much after this though – I’m not really an Iron Man fan outside of the movies. I’ll probably read the rest of the Extremis issues though.