We head back to the Marvel Universe to take a look at the first issue of the Iron Age mini-series event and the latest installment of FF. One of these books was thisclose to a perfect score... If you're curious as to which one, read on!
Iron Age #1(of 3):
Summary: With the Earth destroyed in the present thanks to the machinations of Dr. Birch, it's up to a time displaced Tony Stark to try to undo the damage to the present, starting in the past. To that end, Tony needs to find several pieces of the time platform which brought him to the past and figures what better place to look for help than from his younger self... Unfortunately, Tony's younger self is in the middle of his raging alcoholic stage, and can offer no help to his older self. Disgusted by his drunken younger counterpart, Tony grabs a spare Iron Man outfit and flies off towards Avengers Mansion to seek help from his Avengers teammates. Tony enters the mansion and comes across several of his former teammates and asks to talk to Captain America and Thor. The team points Tony to the meeting room, where Cap, Thor and Wasp were discussing what to do with Tony in light of his recent(for them) alcohol-driven behavior. Tony is unprepared for the shock of seeing the Wasp alive again, and winds up falling over since he wasn't used to piloting his older, clunkier armor. Tony gets up and starts to tell the trio of Avengers that he was a future version of Tony Stark and he needed help in saving the future... Can you guess what the three Avengers think after hearing that? Figuring Tony was on a drunken bender again, Thor tells him that he wouldn't allow Tony to run around in his armor, possibly endangering others. Realizing he was in major trouble, and not wanting to waste any time being imprisoned by his teammates, Tony decides to fight his way out of the Mansion, BARELY succeeding. With no help coming from the Avengers, Tony tries Reed Richards at the Baxter Building, but learns Reed was out exploring another dimension. Wracking his brain for a genius to help him fix the time platform that brought him to the past, Tony decides to meet with Hank Pym, who had left the Avengers during this time due to personal reasons... Reasons that included Tony shacking up with his ex-wife, Wasp! Needless to say, Pym isn't happy to see Tony, but Tony manages to convince Pym that he was actually a future version of Tony Stark, not the current drunken gigolo version. Pym reluctantly decides to help Tony search for the broken time platform components, and their search leads back to New York... And Ultron!! It seems that Ultron has discovered the piece of the time platform and is in a pitched battle with the Avengers since Ultron wanted to use the piece of the platform to head back to the dawn of humanity and kill the first humans, thereby destroying all of humanity... That is SO awesome! Tony and Pym arrive on the scene and join the battle, and thanks to Tony's knowledge of this particular version of Ultron(this is Tony's past and all), Tony is able to guide Pym through Ultron's body, allowing Pym to retrieve the piece of the time platform and destroy Ultron from the inside out. From there, Pym hands the piece of the time platform over to Tony, and Tony is suddenly shunted through time again, since the time platform was attempting to reassemble itself. Tony now finds himself in England, and has to take on the STRIKE organization in order to reach the next piece of time platform. Eventually Tony convinces Capt. Britain to help him, and the two heroes manage to retrieve the piece of platform, which sends Tony into the timestream again, ending this issue.
Thoughts: Can you tell which story I enjoyed more? First things first. The Avengers story was written by Christos Gage, while the Captain Britain story was done by Rob Williams. On top of that, I am a HUGE Avengers fan(especially the old school roster in this issue), and have never been that fond of Capt. Britain, who has always come across as whiny, arrogant and annoying to me. Now, if this issue only contained the Avengers story, it's an EASY perfect score. Probably one of the easiest perfect scores I've given out all year. The story was PURE 80's Avengers perfection. I mean you can tell Gage KNOWS those Avengers characters! It was literally like picking up one of my old Avengers trades or back issues and reliving a past story! That's how good this issue was! Every character's voice sounded just right. Thor, Cap, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Capt. Marvel, Wasp, even Starfox! I mean I can't compliment Gage's work enough here. Add the AWESOME dialogue between Tony and his younger self, throw in a battle with Ultron(my favorite Avengers villains, fyi), and you have a perfect comic book... Until you reach the second story... I hate to say it, but the second story annoyed me so much that I found myself skipping large portions of it simply so it would end. I don't like Captain Britain. I don't care about STRIKE or whoever this Vixen woman was supposed to be. There was one good moment where Tony came across the unconscious form of a younger Dr. Birch and had to weigh whether he should kill him in the past in order to possibly prevent what Birch does in the future, but that was the only part of the second story I enjoyed. To close this review out all I'm gonna say is this... Christos Gage has been awesome as the writer of Avengers: The Initiative and Avengers Academy... Isn't it about time he gets a shot writing one of the main Avengers series? I know Marvel loves Bendis and all, but damn can Gage write himself some AWESOME Avengers stories!
Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.I loved EVERYTHING about this page! From Hawkeye's banter with Ultron, to Ultron's plan, to Cap calling Ultron insane.
Summary: Sue confronts Mole Man and Evil Reed #1 at the site of Old Atlantis, and is blasted by Evil Reed #1, since she thought he was her husband. Whoops. While that's going on, Alex Power is getting his arm broken by some of Mole Man's creatures, leaving Spidey to deal with Mole Man's army of creatures. That goes about as well as would be expected(that's to say not very well at all!), and Evil Reed #1 finishes a big ray gun that destroys Old Atlantis, since that helps the Coalition of Evil Reed Richards's's's somehow... I'm still a bit foggy on the details... Anyway, with Old Atlantis destroyed, Evil Reed #1 and Mole Man take off, leaving Sue to contact Namor for help in relocating the now homeless old Atlantians. From there Sue, Alex and Spidey return to the Baxter Building, where Sue voices her displeasure about Reed keeping secrets from her, namely the fact that he knew there were evil alternate versions of himself running amok. From there, the Evil Reeds and Mole Man head to the Forever City and make some sort of a deal with the denizens of the city. Before they can begin working on whatever it is they're working on, Attilan returns to Earth and begins to land at the site of the Forever City. Oh yeah, and leading the Inhumans on Attilan? The supposedly dead Black Bolt.
Thoughts: Boooo! Of all the Fantastic Four's various allies and enemies, I think I dislike the Inhumans the most. I was perfectly fine with Black Bolt being dead, because as I just stated, I don't like the Inhumans. So that page really hurt my enjoyment of this issue. Well that and the fact that I'm still not completely clear on what the Coalition of Evil Reeds are up to... I THINK they're trying to destroy this Earth to get to another dimension or something, but obviously I don't care enough about this storyline to remember what was going on from one issue to the next! Hey, when you read like 60 new comics a month and a zillion back issues, a few small details end up getting forgotten!
Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Evil Reed #1's line here pretty much made this issue for me.