Writer: Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage
Art: Pete Woods and VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: January 15th, 2020
Well, it’s the new year, all aboard the new number one hype train. Marvel is about to hit us with more number ones than a Sunday driver receives in downtown New York traffic. With Tony no longer in control of Stark Unlimited, technically dead with an A.I. construct implanted as Tony’s persona, he is no longer Iron Man. This makes Tony a Nothing and his brother Arno Everything. I told myself going in, IRON MAN 2020 #1 is the reset button this comic needed Let’s hope Slott, Cage, and Woods don’t disappoint…
We open in a fever dream of Arno Stark’s, and in this dream, we are introduced to what has been the behind the scenes driving force for Arno. He believes he has been getting visions from the great beyond in the form of dreams warning him of this creature that is going to absorb all sentience on Earth. Human or A.I. it doesn’t seem to matter.
I like this opening sequence for many different reasons, but the main one is, I hardly know Arno. We got one issue featuring him in Slott’s last 19 issues. Otherwise, he has been just chilling in the background receiving a couple of panels here or there with no real character work given to him. Here, Arno is more front and center. We see his fears with this monster that’s eventually coming to Earth and we also see his mental scaring as he’s talking with his new A.I. parents. Arno has brought them back to life the same way Tony came back, but he will not let them leave his compound the same way he couldn’t leave his Iron lung that his parents put him in also locking him away similarly.
Next, Arno races off in the Iron Man armor to stamp down an A.I. led hostage situation. This is the main crux of the issue. The A.I.s, droids, robots, gobots, robocops, Kitts, R2s, and even the D2s are unhappy with their current situation in life. They’re tired of the Man keeping them down.
Luckily, Arno is here with the voice of reason and tells these walking garbage disposals to get back to work or be destroyed. Thankfully, they resist and Arno goes HAM on the robots destroying them easily, perhaps a little too easily we find out.
As Arno contemplates who could be the leader of this robot uprising we get to see its Machine Man. Or is it? At the very least, Machine Man fights for Jocasta and all robot kind’s freedom with a little help from Mark!
Slott and Cage as usual work seamlessly together. This issue has a lot packed into it. For a number one, it really is pretty good. However, did we need all the previous issues to set this story up? Woods’ art is excellent, his backgrounds are teeming with life and energy, and I really look forward to the battle of wits that are no doubt about to go down between Arno and Mark.