Graphic Novel Review: Iron Man: Iron Metropolitan

14:56 10 June 2014

Iron Man: Iron Metropolitan

Iron Man: Iron Metropolitan


Tony Stark and his newly discovered brother Arno set about building the city of the future - but reckoned without opposition from the Mandarin’s rings

(Panini Books)

Tony Stark should be reeling in the wake of two life-altering revelations. Not only is he adopted, and therefore Howard and Maria Stark are not his birth parents, but they had another progeny who has lived his entire life in an iron lung, his brother Arno.

But instead of allowing these dramatic discoveries to force a reassessment of his place in the world, Tony has resolved to do what he does best – build for the future. This time, however, it isn’t weapons, cars or suits of high-tech armour he’s focusing on, it’s something a whole lot bigger.

Following the death of his arch enemy, the Mandarin, the villain’s base of operations, an island state off the Chinese coast known as Mandarin City, has deteriorated into a slum of crime and vice, making it an ideal location for Tony and Arno’s vision of a new, self-sustaining city of tomorrow.

But although the Mandarin is dead, his powerful alien rings survive, and have gained sentience for the first time, prompting them to seek out new hosts who can continue their goals of world domination, and bringing these new ring-bearers into direct conflict with the Stark boys…

One of the obvious themes of writer Kieron Gillen’s run on Iron Man has been that of identity. From Stark’s decision to take a sabbatical alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy in deep space, his later discoveries about his own origins, and now his resolution to leave a legacy based on the creation of a better way of living, it’s almost as if Tony has an itch which he can’t quite scratch.

Instead of confronting any of the revelations he has encountered during his bout of soul searching, he has brushed them aside in a quest for that next big challenge. That can’t be healthy, and is sure to result in a narrative pay-off further down the line.

Iron Man remains one of the more interesting characters in the Marvel Universe, a far cry from the generic playboy of his earliest appearances and thanks in no part to Robert Downey Jr’s movie portrayal, and these latest stories are no exception.

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