Every so often, a long-running comic book series just needs to get back to the basics…and Iron Man definitely needed that by the late ’90s.
Marvel killed Iron Man a few years earlier and replaced him with a teenage version of himself from an alternate timeline. Then that teen version died along with the rest of the Avengers in the “Onslaught” crossover, leading to the Heroes Reborn stunt in which popular Image Comics creators reimagined and relaunched the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Captain America, and Iron Man in a separate, new continuity. Then a year later, after that had run its course, those characters were restored to the proper Marvel Universe and relaunched with new first issues.
Seemed like as good a time as any to have the real Tony Stark return. The details are sketchy as to why and how the adult Stark returned rather than the teen version…and I’m okay with that. Why dig the hole any deeper? The creative team had an opening to efficiently get back on track, and they seized it in the relaunched Iron Man #1.
Of course, Tony Stark can’t just waltz back from the dead and reclaim his company as if he hadn’t been killed and replaced by his younger self for a while. A competitor had bought out Stark Enterprises, so the big question for the first issue is…will Tony try to reclaim his company? Or will he start something new?
The script by Kurt Busiek gets at the heart of the character. Tony Stark is always trying to build both himself and the world around him into something better. Here, he needs to figure out how best to do it.
Oh, and an unseen old foe wants to kill him. Got to have that physical peril thrown in there, too.
A fine restart all around, and a much-needed one at the time.
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciler: Sean Chen
Inker: Eric Cannon
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology
Appropriate For: ages 11 and up