Characters Appearing: Benj Brennan, Captain America, Chap Walters, Crystal, Deathcry, Henry Pym, Jarvis, Kaze II, Kris Degann, Quicksilver, Teen Tony, Thor, Wasp
Iron Man #326
Issue(s): Iron Man #326
Unlike the Thor issue, this does spend a fair amount of time dealing with the current Iron Man status quo, which means showing us that Tony Stark has now basically become 1960s Peter Parker (except at college).
We're actually introduced to a few new supporting characters (another thing that should have tipped me off), like "Benj" Brennan (the Flash Thompson), Kris Degan (the love interest), and Chap Walters (a kid who tricks Tony into signing up for the wrong class) but they won't matter much due to the aforementioned universe-wiping. Also, Meridth McCall, last seen as one of the Masters of Silence (Kaze II), is now just a professor.
Terry Kavanagh does fine writing the cliched teen drama stuff (which makes sense since he's doing basically the EXACT SAME THING with the effectively de-aged not-really-Peter-Parker on the Spider Clone stuff). The question is why Marvel thought this needed to be done on Iron Man. In addition to Ben Reilly, Marvel currently had the new Green Goblin for teen stuff, as well as plenty of other such books in the past (Darkhawk, the 90s Ghost Rider, the New Warriors and all their spin-offs). Adult Tony Stark was a pretty unique character and there was always plenty to do with him. Even if you want to write off his recent behavior as controlled by Kang or whatever, why totally change the theme of the book?
Anyway, it's not until halfway through the issue that First Sign intrudes. The anti-tech forcefield seen in the first two parts causes a blackout at the school. Tony puts on a portion of his Iron Man costume to light the way out, but something causes his tech to go haywire. It's also draining his power, and we are back to Tony needing his chest plate to keep his heart going. So he finds a lab on campus and shields his chest plate from the energy drain. That leaves him with just some underpowered gauntlets, though.
Tony traces the source of the disturbance to where Captain America and Thor are fighting the Zodiac goons. Thor has apparently traded his shirtless look for some "He-Man at the S&M Club" attire.
The three Avengers steal the Zodiac's skimmer, which has the power to punch through the barrier surrounding the city. They are therefore able to let in the rest of the Avengers. And if you've been blissfully unaware of The Crossing and didn't know about Teen Tony, i don't know how to prepare you for what's happened to the Wasp.
I just... I'm trying to be reasonable. It's not fair to pick up these books after skipping them for a while now (although that's effectively what First Sign was asking us to do) and then complain that the Avengers are unrecognizable. But they are! They are unrecognizable! Powerless, fashion crisis Thor. Teen Tony! The Literal Wasp! (And, i mean, Deathcry!) Like, ok Onslaught, come burn it all down!
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part three of First Sign. Part four is in Avengers #396.
A note that i will have to place earlier if i get more issues with Teen Tony: The MCP tags this Tony Stark as Iron Man V from Earth-96020. I'm just going with "Teen Tony", thank you very much.
Crossover: First Sign
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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