Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews

Iron Man: The End
Marvel Comics
Michelinie, Chang, Layton & Cavallaro

Tony Stark is an older man. He’s in his seventies and he’s suffering from some form body erosion through his nervous system that gives him the shakes. Tony is looking for the next generation of Iron Man because he just can’t do it any more. This is a story about Tony coming to terms with being old and deciding how and who to carry on the Iron Man legacy. It’s an exploration of Stark and his triumphs as well as his demons. This comic doesn’t cover everything about Stark that you’d wonder about, but it sure hits a lot of them.

Stark and his company, now Stark Universal, are in the midst of a huge project. Tony is trying to create a mass transit to the space station. That way any man can afford to reach the stars. Unfortunately Tony’s project is costing a lot of time and resources and is dragging on longer than anyone really wanted it to. Tony is in danger of looking like a failure. When part of the construction goes wrong and Iron Man has to save some innocents, he does, but not as easy as it should have been. Tony doubts his mind, reflexes and abilities.

Tony confides his problems with his wife. I won’t spoil who it is, but she is part of the Iron Man mythos and she tries to help Tony out, but he wants no part of it. Tony as Iron Man charges into an investigation that leads him to fight a battle with an opponent who he is not prepared to fight. Iron Man is schooled in a big way. Tony turns to the bottle for help. It’s great to see this come into the fray of this story.

Finally, Tony gives in and finds a replacement. What he finds is someone a lot like his former self. In the end the teacher learns from the student and the world is left with an Iron Man, but who is under the armor?

Of all the “End” stories that Marvel has produced I liked this one second only to Hulk’s. It looks at Stark’s world not as a dystopian future or a life filled with death, but it looks at it as a prosperous life filled with success that needs to find a way to succeed in the future. Stark is old, but not done. Someday he will be done and then what happens? That’s what we get insight into. The story is an excellent bookend to Stark and Iron Man.

It’s not perfect though. It leaves some questions, such as, who knows Iron Man’s identity is Stark? It would appear that no one does except his wife. Some of his cast is also missing and receives no mention, where are they? What happened to SHIELD? I realize it all can’t be answered, but a note here or there would have made this issue compete.

The artwork is brilliant in capturing Tony, his age and his illness. I enjoyed the action, the suit redesign and many of the other components, but the portrayal of the man made this issue pop in the art department.

One drawback here is the price. It’s $5 which is steep. It’s got forty eight pages which is a good page count, but the price tag might scare some off. If you have room in the budget then I highly recommend this. The story isn’t how I would have envisioned the end of Stark’s run as Iron Man or his life, but this is very clever and executed brilliantly.

5 out of 5 geek goggles