The grand irony of Tony Stark’s former life was that he was a futurist who lived for the moment. Born into power and privilege, Tony’s only thoughts of tomorrow involved the technological marvels he could create to increase his family fortune and personal glory. Everything changed when a terrorist attack left Tony at death’s door, forcing him to begin thinking about saving lives—not just his own, but millions of others who might not live to see tomorrow because of his inventions. Both problems were solved by a technological marvel: a mechanical suit in which Tony devotes his life to helping others as the invincible Iron Man!
It is Tony’s conscience which spurs him into action after he receives a text from an old colleague, one that is sent to a phone number intended for emergencies only. Sure enough, it’s an emergency. By the time Tony can investigate matters, his colleague is dead and one of his old projects—a techno-virus dubbed Extremis—has fallen into the hands of some very bad people. Tony must scour the globe, facing enemies old and new as he races to locate the rogue Extremis units before his work can be corrupted and used to hurt innocent people.
Only those who know Tony Stark through the Marvel Universe movies will find themselves on familiar footing with the first volume of the Marvel NOW! Iron Man series. Not only is the threat in this book the same one utilized by the villains of Iron Man 3, but also writer, Kieron Gillen, goes out of his way to make this story accessible to those who have never read an Iron Man comic book—or any comic book—before now. Gillen’s script is filled with a good deal of sly humor and dry one-liners that fans of the movies will hear in Robert Downey Jr.’s voice in their heads.
Greg Land, who provided the artwork for this book, is an infamous figure among modern comics fans. Land has a reputation for two things: always meeting his work deadlines and his willingness to trace photographs in order to get his work done on time. While many artists use photographic reference materials, Land has been caught copying previously published images for his artwork on numerous occasions. Strangely, Land is a good artist when left to his own devices and one can see evidence of that throughout Believe. His designs for the Iron Man armor are unique, apart from an early scene that involves one of Tony Stark’s dates, and there is no sign of “the hack Land” at work.
This volume is rated T+ for audiences age 13 and up. There’s very little adult content to be found here and what is included falls perfectly in line with the PG-13 rated Iron Man movies: Tony makes reference to his alcoholism at one point and we see him trying to arrange a one night stand in the first chapter.
Iron Man, Vol. 1: Believe
by Kieron Gillen
Art by Greg Land
Marvel Comics, 2013
Publisher Age Rating: T+ (13 and up)