Iron Man #17 (Marvel)


Rating: 3/5 – Tony’s life potentially changed forever…

Iron Man number seventeen has “the shocking conclusion that changes the world of Iron Man forever” written on the cover.  The conclusion does change his world, but I’m not sure if the impact had the emotional punch that writer Kieron Gillen was going for.  After a long storyline titled the “The Secret Origin of Tony Stark”, I felt as though the conclusion was just “added on” at the end, rather than being built up to it naturally.  It’s a bit tough to talk too much about this ending without spoiling it, but instead of it being satisfying after multiple issues, it felt more surprising (and not necessarily in a good way) that it wrapped up this way.

Fearing for their unborn child’s life, Howard and Maria Stark after dong everything they could for help, look to other means to save him.  Those other means turn out to be an alien android named Recorder 451 who helps save Howard and Maria Stark’s child by inserting alien technology into Tony while still in the womb.  This technology will eventually make Tony a savior of earth using technology and more, including armor that can even take on a celestial called the Godkiller.   The whole storyline seemed a bit…out there.  Ultimately it felt as though Tony’s origin, by being altered at birth and “bred” for this mission detracted from the character, and lessened Tony Stark’s history and all he’s gone through.  But with this conclusion, it’s not all necessarily what it seems to be.  I’m not sure if it’s better, but it does change Tony Stark’s world.

Kieron Gillen writes an afterword in this issue where he says “I hope you feel the need to re-read the run at this point.  There’s been a lot building to this point that may now be clearer.”  I think that says a lot.  Reading this the first time, it just felt kind of forced and abrupt.  By going back and reading it again, it may all tie together a bit better.  I’m just not sure if I have a desire to.  It will have interesting ramifications going forward and there’s some great stories that can be told by this change, but as a single issue and conclusion to a multi-part story, it didn’t quite work for me.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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