Marvel’s Avengers: Iron Man #1 review – Been here before

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Marvel’s Avengers: Iron Man #1 begins to set the stage for the upcoming Square Enix game based on the popular superhero team.

Marvel’s Avengers are getting a video game! No silly, not those Avengers. Well, actually yes and no. You see, Square Enix is indeed making a game based on Marvel’s mightiest superhero team, The Avengers, due out in May of next year. However, it is not based on the movie version of the team that has been so popular it’s the focus of a massive movie universe culminating in over 20 films and the highest-grossing movie of all time.

No, in fact, Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers is best seen as an original adaptation of the comic book source material the movies are also loosely based on. You’ve got the same characters with the same abilities and personalities, but don’t expect it to strictly adhere to known comic lore and storylines.

So how does a video game that is based on a popular property that some might mistake for being based on the popular movie version establishes itself as something different? Well, Square Enix’s and Marvel’s answer is a series of prequel comics.

Ideally, these will introduce us to their versions of Marvel’s Avengers and the world they inhabit and the stakes. This is starting with Marvel’s Avengers: Iron Man #1 which is available both digitally and in any place you can buy physical comics if you prefer it that way.

This issue focuses on Tony Stark/Iron Man and the basic premise is that it appears someone has been able to scan top-secret Stark technology for nefarious means. Is it a flaw in his security, or has he been betrayed by someone close to him?

If this sounds all-too-familiar, well, that really is the problem here and probably an indicator of bigger story problems as a whole. We’ve been here before, a lot.

For a game that isn’t based on the movies or on any specific comic storyline, and a comic that is supposed to establish what’s different about this version on Marvel’s Avengers, there’s just way too much familiar territory here. It’s plotlines and threads you’ve seen multiple times before in the comics, TV shows and movies, and even in a few previous video games as well. Granted, The Avengers have been around for decades and it’s hard to tell a completely fresh story, but a familiar story with some original twists doesn’t seem like too much of an ask.

Honestly, it’s a serious question of who this comic is even for? It seems a little ludicrous that as a promotional comic for an upcoming video game, and one of several (all the main Avengers featured in the game are getting prequel comics leading up to the release of the game), it’s selling for $4. That is, to my knowledge, a common price for ongoing comics, but as something strictly meant to sell and promote a video game, this seems like it should either be significantly cheaper. Or all the comics should just be released as one collection for at most $10 and it should probably just be a freebie to people who pre-order Marvel’s Avengers.

I can’t imagine the person who would excitedly pay the full price for this. Anybody who is excited about the game still probably doesn’t care about a prequel comic and who is buying this that isn’t interested in the game?

Again, if it set up some really interesting threads and premises and maybe it’s a very different Iron Man then we’ve seen that would be something but it doesn’t. This may speak to larger issues with the actual game itself if the comic can’t even establish anything original or distinct.

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Maybe the future comics will do a better job, but Marvel’s Avengers: Iron Man #1 treads way too familiar ground without offering anything that would get you excited about the upcoming game and seems excessively unnecessary. Marvel’s Avengers releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC May 15, 2020.

A copy of Marvel’s Avengers: Iron Man #1 was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this article.