By Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, and Justin Ponsor
Invincible Iron Man #1 was a solid beginning to a new story. The last page especially grabbed your attention. It was a tease pointing toward the ending of Secret Wars that readers have been clamoring over for months. Unfortunately, the intrigue and curiosity that were piqued by the initial chapter slowly drift away here. Bendis, as he so often does, gets riddled down in his on winkingly witty dialogue. While everyone loves a good, sarcastic punchline, it’s best not to have to read multiple pages of over-taxed dialogue to get there. To quote the great teen comedy, The Girl Next Door, make sure the juice is worth the squeeze. For much of this book, it just isn’t.
Bendis is setting up a lot of pieces early on, and these may pay off eventually. This is something that Bendis has always excelled with. That being said, it feels a tad bit overbearing here. In the lengthy, overly wordy exchange between Tony Stark and a former foe that won’t be spoiled here, there never is any tension. In this particular instance the reader should be on his or her seat edge, instead we’re left straining to see the best part of the comic, the art, behind massive word bubbles that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Later, we get less dialogue and more action in an exchange between Iron Man and Madam Masque. Here, the story really propels itself forward. Also of note, here is where the art team shines its brightest.
David Marquez is on top of his game here. His visuals are much better at telling the story than Bendis’s words. Marquez’s line work, along with Ponsor’s colors, are dynamic in every sense of the word. Marquez’s art is slick and cinematic. Yet he still captures emotive responses, especially during Tony’s interchange with Madam Masque, whose face is never revealed. That shows just how great the art team is here.
In any form of art, the best advice is to “show, don’t tell.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case here. While there is still a great deal to go before we can truly know what to expect in this story arc, this chapter felt stale. This is due to the over-focus on dialogue. Toward the end, we get a little steam building though. Bendis is starting to work toward something that could be quite exciting. While this isn’t the strongest issue, there is an odd character pairing with similar goals that may make for an exciting finish. Or it could just end with Bendis writing his own take on a character that doesn’t jive with what readers have come to expect from decades of characterization.