Writer: Vita Ayala and Danny Lore
Art: David Messina, Mattia Iacono, VC’s Joe Caramagna, and Skan
Release Date: May 20th, 2020
It feels like so long ago since we’ve obtained a taste of IRON MAN 2020, IRONHEART, CHAMPIONS, and even OUTLAWED #1. For those at home simply picking this up for something to read during these “dark times” of the empty void that’s been comic books for the past two months, let’s get you up to speed! Tony Stark is an A.I. His brother Arno Stark is now running Stark Industries as the new IRON MAN 2020 and is hell-bent on destroying all A.I. including his brother. If you’re interested in IRON MAN by Dan Slott or any of the IRON MAN 2020 event books leading up to this issue, feel free to click HERE. Meanwhile, kids/ teenagers are no longer allowed to be Super Heroes stemming directly out of OUTLAWED #1 which you can get your hands on by clicking HERE. So, I think that should get everyone up to speed. Now, let’s tackle the contents of IRONHEART 2020 #1 by Vita Ayala and Danny Lore and see what we got under the hood.
Marvel knew exactly what this series was from Jump Street, which is why they instantly decided to make this two-issue run digital-only. Think about it this way: when Marvel released the issues that would come out digital-only, they only switched series that were ending rather soon as well as stories that had low sales figures. Now, just because a series has low sales doesn’t mean it’s awful. For example, I’ve totally enjoyed the heck out of AVENGERS OF THE WASTELAND and HAWKEYE: FREEFALL. However, IRONHEART was the only series that never made it to the floor yet BUT was turned into digital-only. To this reviewer, that idea screamed out louder to me than the Screaming Goat Videos featuring Taylor Swift on YouTube from 2013. Technically, this series is part of the IRON MAN 2020 event. So, why not package it like the rest? Unless Marvel knew what they had here…
Well, to anyone following the IRON MAN 2020 event to date, you’d see that most of the side issues are filler and really don’t promote the overall plot of the story at all. Actually, there is very little connection between them and the main IRON MAN 2020 title so much so that I’m not even sure if they’re talking with Dan Slott about what’s in the books or what should be in the books with any purpose or direction. So, guess what? IRONHEART 2020 #1 is no different and with the distribution style changing to digital-only, this reviewer could see the writing on the wall before opening the pages. However, that’s genuinely not the biggest problem with the issue.
In a time where comic fans are craving anything new and interesting to read, you’ll leave this issue wondering it’s point other than to hook up Riri Williams fans with a mini-story involving their favorite character. Vita Ayala and Danny Lore struggle to capture fan’s attention almost immediately and create a slog of wordy conversations that overtake each page. The conflict is minimal and the stakes really don’t feel high until Riri spills the beans as to why she’s holding out on suiting up until the issue concludes. As realistic as her motivates are at adding some texture and depth to the issue, it doesn’t help if the readers don’t see that internal motivation until the narrative ends. But the absolute worst part of the issue was its lack of heart… or should I say Ironheart. What’s the point of the issue, for Riri fans or not, if there is almost no Ironheart anywhere in it? Sure, the issue is filled with Riri but I would think most comic fans were also interested in seeing her in the suit?
Plus, this issue isn’t new reader friendly at all. Other than mini introductions to the characters, new readers hopping onboard and searching for a new title during this comic hiatus will probably leave confused especially with the emotional change from Riri’s A.I. named N.A.T.A.L.I.E. who’s willing to defend hate mongers at the beginning of the issue yet is eager to instantly attack the so-called “villain” before getting the facts later in the story related to that very same hatred. Furthermore, if the writing wasn’t enough to turn you away, David Messina’s artistic license didn’t lend itself well to this issue either. His style wasn’t terrible but there were a few panels where the characters looked weird, like the child on page five and the very last cliffhanger page of the issue. To put it kindly, I feel like I’ve seen better work from Messina especially if you’ve read any of his STAR TREK work.
If you came to this issue looking for action, you really don’t find any. If you came to this issue jazzed to see Ironheart, you certainly won’t find that here. If you came here looking for something fun and exciting to read, that’s simply not inside this week. Heck, if you’re looking to get caught up on IRON MAN 2020, that really doesn’t happen this week either. The best this reviewer can say that transpires in this installment of IRONHEART 2020 #1 is that Ayala and Lore catch readers up on the status quo of Riri Williams and connect a few of the dots circulating since OUTLAWED #1. Overall, with the story being cluttered with heavy dialogue and average illustrations from Messina and his creative team, IRONHEART 2020 #1 just didn’t hit the mark this week. As someone starving for good stories since the COVID-19 hiatus, I simply can’t put my stamp of approval on IRONHEART 2020 #1 and would not recommend this issue to anyone. However, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for the read and continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.