By: Fred Van Lente (writer), Steve Kurth (pencils), Allen Martinez & Victor Olazaba (inkers), John Rauch (colors) and Dave Nphear (letters)

The Story: Iron Man gets a second on-going series where the bad-guy is using (no surprise) stolen Iron Man technology against civilians.

What’s Good: Not a whole lot to be honest.  The best part of this issue is on the final page where the villain is revealed.  I won’t spoil who it is, but I was really disappointed in this issue until turning the page and saying, “Ok….that might be interesting.”

I also think that Fred Van Lente is a good writer, so I have some faith that this series will get its issues sorted out.

What’s Not So Good: Perhaps we can start with the questionable need for another Iron Man ongoing series?  I would have rather taken more frequent issues of Invincible Iron Man (a la Amazing Spider-Man).  I’m sure this series is mostly motivated by the movie coming out and the desire to have a comic that new readers can follow along with.

Another problem I had was that it wasn’t clear when the events of this issue took place.  It sure didn’t feel like it was in current continuity: Tony Stark is happily running his business and there is no mention of SHIELD, Norman Osborn or erasing his mind.  If you try to date it by what armor we see, we see an automated suit of armor that looks kinda like the Extremis armor (but it could be that he’s got an old model on guard-dog duty).

The story wasn’t really doing it for me either.  This series is going to obviously get compared to Invincible Iron Man, so I’m a little confused that they would have the bad guys using rogue Iron Man tech to attack civilians (which is how IIM started off 2 years ago).

I feel like I’m going down a list here, but the art also wasn’t quite right either.  Part of the problem is that Salvador Larroca has had 2 years to establish what Iron Man, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, etc… look like in the pages of IIM.  These characters aren’t really appearing in other Marvel comics right now so the image of Tony Stark looking like Sawyer from Lost is burned into my brain.  The art in this issue is similar in terms of style and color, but the characters all look different.  I should also add that this issue had multiple inkers and that always screams “rush job.”  I can understand how that can happen to Amazing Spider Man that comes out almost weekly, but this is a new #1 issue and should have been better organized.

Conclusion: Not a very auspicious start for a new series.  Especially when you consider that Invincible Iron Man is one of the best superhero comics on the shelf.  I know this is intended for movie fans, but it’s kind of a dirty trick to give them this and then have them find out they’re reading the inferior Iron Man title, huh?  I’m going to hang on for the first arc at least and hope it improves.

Grade: D+

-Dean Stell