ULTIMATE COMICS IRON MAN has a great creative team behind it: writer Nathan Edmondson (THE ACTIVITY, DANCER), and artist Matteo Buffagni (DAKEN). Nathan sets up what seems to be the introduction to the Mandarin, which is pretty exciting. We also get to see the early Tony Stark years, where he is forced to follow in the footsteps on his father. These few scenes give great insight into who Tony Stark used to be, who he is now, and why he turned out the way he did. These few scenes were the highlight of the issue for me.
Matteo Buffagni's art and style are great here. I really enjoyed the line work and great attention to detail throughout the whole issue. His redesign of Iron Man took a bit of time to get used to, but I found myself really enjoying it. It's sleek and makes sense. It has a few accents to it to make the suit stand out.
The thing most fans are waiting for, which we get a teaser to, is ultimate Mandarin. At this point, while he could be a physical person, there's a hint of mystery and the character could be anything from a robot to a virus. There's lots of great possibilities for this character.
I didn't find myself connecting to this story until the last few pages. This was a tricky issue for me because I think it has a good set-up to a story, solid dialogue, and great art, but overall, I didn't like it. I found myself wanting so much more. The Ultimate universe has gone through so many changes, and I was hoping this would somehow have a tie-in to the United We Stand story line, but it doesn't. I think a part of the problem is that its release was bad timing. It's a very solid book that somehow disappointed me.
I felt this issue moved a bit slow. Understandably, there needs to be quite a bit of set-up in order to get a new series rolling, but the opening really didn't grab me in the way that it should have for a first issue.
I'm a bit down the middle on this issue. It's a tough call. I can tell it's a good issue, but I just couldn't find myself enjoying it or connecting to it, until the end. The scenes with Tony and his father were the stand out scenes of this issue, as well as Buffagni's art. Edmondson's slower start to this issue was solid, but it could have had a little something more to draw the reader in.
Overall, it's an ok issue, and I'm sure it will pick up next month.