There are times when a creator is telling a story that goes in a direction that you think is a really bad idea. Kieron Gillen was doing this in the previous volume of this title as Tony Stark found out from crafty Rigellian Recorder 451 that his genius had been genetically engineered to give humans a fighting chance to join the interstellar community. The idea that Stark’s greatness was not his own, well… it diminishes the character. Of course, there are also times when the creator reveals that the direction he was going down was just a swerve to throw you off the track and you feel silly for not realizing what he was doing sooner. Gillen also does this here and I feel appropriately chastised for thinking that he was going to diminish Stark’s character. The revelation is actually set up pretty well 451’s plans being undone by some clever misdirection on the part of Tony’s parents, Howard and Maria Stark. It leads the A.I. to a disturbing end as he considers his monstrous actions, and some more surprises for the title character.
One of them shows him to be more like Steve Jobs than before, while the other… will be interesting to see how Gillen develops him in the remaining issues of his run. My gut feeling is that he’ll be pushed to the background after this, but the writer clearly has plans for this guy and I’ve learned to trust his instincts over the years. Aside from these character-and-origin-changing revelations, the rest of the volume gives us some good sci-fi action as Stark and his armory have to find clever ways to hold off 451, and the always-welcome-in-a-Gillen-book Death’s Head. All of this is well-drawn by Dale Eaglesham and Carlo Pagulyan, with Greg Land continuing to surprise at how well he does sci-fi. Overall, “The Secret Origin of Tony Stark” was a great action/adventure story with a lot of twists I didn’t see coming. It left me entertained and I can’t complain about that.