Graphic Novel Review: Superior Iron Man: Stark Contrast

Superior Iron Man: Stark Contrast

Superior Iron Man: Stark Contrast - Credit: Archant

The fall of Tony Stark...

(Panini Books)

Tony Stark rose to dizzying heights of greatness.

As the superhero Iron Man, he saved the world innumerable times, explored the universe alongside the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and defeated swathes of evil opponents.

As a futurist and inventor, Stark made the planet a better place, challenging his vast intellect into fantastic new discoveries which brought the world of tomorrow into the present day.

As a man, he overcame alcoholism and various crippling physical ailments, found the long-lost brother he never knew he had and welcomed him into the fold, and was a loved and valued friend, partner, teammate and boss.

Now all that has gone, and there is nothing left. He may have once risen, but now Tony has fallen - so very, very far.

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It was the Axis event which changed everything. Superheroes and villains saw their moral compasses switched by magic in order to save the world from the Red Skull. But whereas most of his teammates saw their original personalities restored, the allegedly superior version of Tony Stark forged in the white heat of chaos wanted to survive, and evaded being returned to his former self.

To begin with it seemed as though he was just a bigger jerk than before. He took more risks, was more arrogant, partied harder and had less regard for the consequences of his actions. But then things began to get worse, culminating in his decision allow the deaths of a percentage of the planet’s population to prevent the Earth from inevitable destruction. These were not the actions of a hero, they were those of a selfish, calculating monster.

Tony’s former girlfriend, partner and confidant, Pepper Potts, used a back-up consciousness Stark downloaded eight years ago to activate assorted old Iron Man armours, in a bid to bring down her ex-boss and somehow reverse what has been done to him.

But nobody outwits Tony Stark, and when the chips are down he’s definitely at his most dangerous… However, the outcome of the battle of the Iron Men may just cost him everything he once held dear – his friendships, his reputation, and his sanity…

The final chapter in the saga of Superior Iron Man takes Stark up to the events of the Secret Wars, and brutally highlights how different this version of the character is from his previous personality. It’s shocking stuff, but the reset button is just within reach, and with Brian Michael Bendis set to take over the next volume of Iron Man comics later this year you can be sure it’s going to get pressed. But for now, sit back and enjoy the ride, there’s never been an Iron Man like this before.