If you're an Iron Man purist and you want no crazy change-ups in his history, then you probably want to avoid this one at all costs. But, if you're open to some wildly entertaining material, then odds are you'll be pleased. What Kieron Gillen offers pretty much boils down to sci-fi meets Oceans 11 -- and it's super fun.
Howard and Maria are having trouble producing a child. As a brilliant man with a vast amount of connections at his disposal, Howard then goes through a hilarious segment of seeking out help from various sources. Eventually, he meets someone who can help him: a Grey alien. The extraterrestrial reveals that his fellow aliens are running a casino in Las Vegas (dubbed "Area 52") and they're holding a being which can solve his problem: 451. The duo forms a plan and Stark enlists a team consisting of characters like Thunderbolt Ross and Dum Dum Dugan (in yet another hilarious bit) to infiltrate a alien run casino. It's an incredibly refreshing adventure and lays the groundwork for some huge -- and I do mean huge -- changes in the following issues. Needless to say, my curiosity is at an all-time high with this book.
Dale Eaglesham is a terrific artist and will feel like a breath of fresh air if you're one of the people avoiding this book because of Greg Land. It's simply a great look for the series. It manages to deliver a more animated and fun atmosphere, yet still feels grounded and detailed. Plus, where else are you going to see a severely obese and mafioso looking Grey strutting around in a suit?
There's a few relatively minor hiccups in the quality of the art. For example, in one scene Howard looks like he has a lazy eye. He's a drunk mess and you should feel bad for the guy, but that minor element makes it almost comedic. Aside from that, I really didn't have any major gripes with this one.
I never thought I'd see the day where I'd give an issue from this series five stars, but here it is, folks. This story about Tony Stark's origin is waaaaay out there. It's wacky, great looking, fun, ridiculous and you know what? I kind of love it a whole lot. If you're looking for a spot to jump back on this series, this is it, friends. However, just be aware there's clearly some massive changes heading the Avengers' way.