Iron Man #1 by Ammar Al Subahi
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land
Colorist: Guru EFX
Inker: Jay Leisten
Premise: Extremis -- a gene altering weaponized virus that turns people into super humans -- once thought to be dead and buried, has resurfaced in the criminal underworld and is being sold to the highest bidders. This doesn't sit well with Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man.
Let me be sincere here: this book never had a chance to win me over.
Because it features two of the creators who I probably think the least of in the entire comic book industry: Kieron Gillen and Greg Land.
Gillen, okay, I admit, I'm biased here. I absolutely HATED his early stuff in Marvel (like Thor, UGH!) and since then I've renounced him and anything he touches. But I've heard he's improved a lot, and that his recently concluded run on Journey of Mystery was absolutely fantastic.
But Greg Land is a whole 'nother matter. He has got to be THE, creatively speaking, laziest comic book artist ever. Sure, unlike many other comic book “rock star” artists he manages to deliver on time (or so I seem to recall). But what he turns in is absolutely horrible, just straight up horrible. In a sequential art form, the man has made a career by producing lame still pictures, with no (e)motion or energy behind them, that kills any momentum going on for the story. Add insult to injury, this guy can't even come up with his own original material but instead traces from movies and PORN and just makes them look like whatever comic book character he's pencilling. He's so lazy, he even keeps RE-USING his own damn traces. Seriously, just Google him. Look it up for yourselves.
"So, Ammar, if he is as shitty as you say... how come he keeps getting assigned work?"
One word: Boobs.
Big, voluptuous, boobies.
Sex sells, no matter when or where.
But enough with the ranting. This issue is yet another installation in the Marvel Now initiative: fresh new take, fresh new #1. Oh, yeah, and Iron Man has a new colour scheme on his armor now.
Whatever. But what's it about?
After almost getting it on with a porntastic Land-blonde, Tony receives a message from an old colleague of his that spells DOOM. Okay, not DOOM, it spells EXTREMIS.
The Extremis virus was first introduced in Warren Ellis' and Adi Granov's short but extremely memorable (and recommended) run on Iron Man some years ago. Short version: it's a weaponized virus that turns people into super humans. Tony gets exposed to it, gains a cool upgrade from it, then manages to destroy it and kick the villain's ass. The end.
Or not. Because Extremis is back, baby. And Tony must now stop the virus from spreading and find whoever it was that re-made it and killed his friend and stop him/her.
And you know what? I thought this issue was... kinda okay, actually.
Don't get me wrong, Land is still horribly static, but I didn't feel as insulted by him as I usually do. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he is drawing a character who's fully covered in armor most of the time. Thus sparing us from his horrible facial expressions.
As for the story... eh, sure, why not? Gillen's Tony Stark is far from brilliant, but he manages to tap into that Robert Downey jr appeal that the character has been imbued with since the movies. So new reader will definitely recognize him, sure. What I'm worried about, from a new reader point of view, is that the story essentially kicks off from an older story, older continuity, that newer readers might not be familiar with. Maybe they will eventually. I thought he at least did an okay job of explaining the basics of Extremis.
The thing is, poor art in comics will always reflect poorly on the writing. And art that is static will make the story and the characters feel static. Perhaps then my assessment of Gillen's craft here is too harsh. But this is comics, and thus I have to judge the finished product/piece of art/whatever you want to call it.
A kind of 'OK' book for now... but heed my words: this ship is going to sink unless they replace the artist.