Infinity Warps: Iron Hammer #1

Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Review by Cameron Kieffer

We’re smack-dab in the midst of Marvel’s latest event series, Infinity Wars, which of course means there’s a veritable onslaught (see what I did there?) of tie-ins.  As a result of Gamora’s actions in the main series, the universe has become an amalgam of itself, creating all-new, all-different versions of familiar characters.  Not unlike the appropriately-named Amalgam Universe that saw hybrids of Marvel and DC characters, the Marvel Universe now consists of similar heroes and villains taking on traits and identities of one another.

Iron Hammer #1 introduces us to Sigurd Stark, a man who has become rich and famous with his knowledge of technology but has no memory of his life beyond the last few years.  Following an attack, Stark is near death and forced into servitude with Eitri, the Dwarf (yes, Peter Dinklage from Infinity War) and well, if you’ve seen the first Iron Hammer movie, you can probably guess what happens next.  To say much more would veer into spoiler territory, but suffice to say, the Iron Hammer is a force to be reckoned with.

Writer Al Ewing takes the now-famous Iron Man origin and incorporates themes and characters right out of Thor’s mythology to create something new, yet familiar.  The world here is strange, with mortals seemingly sharing the land with Dark Elves, dwarves, and Odin-knows what else.  Despite its predictability, the story is an entertaining one, and there are a couple of twists involving other character hybrids that promise to keep things interesting, for both the reader and our newest superhero.

While I’m a big fan of Ewing’s work, this was somewhat of a challenging read at first.  I very much enjoy the writer’s voice in books like The Ultimates and Loki: Agent of Asgard, but this was a very different animal, and it wasn’t until about half-way through that I realized why.  While it’s likely apparent from the very first page, Ewing is paying homage to the Golden Age with his frequent use of captions, the enthusiastic narration, and melodramatic dialogue. It’s actually a clever idea that would have worked far better with a different artist.  Ramon Rosanas does excellent work, don’t get me wrong, but his distinctly modern approach contrasts with the somewhat cheesier nature of the writing.  An artist with a more classic style, such as Alan Davis, or Walter Simonson, may have been a better fit to match the tone, but it’s a minor quibble.

Rosanas’ art is very atmospheric and really quite beautiful, made even more so with Jason Keith’s colors.  The setting is a dark oasis of ice and snow and every page, every panel both looks and feels cold.  This is a gorgeous book by all accounts; I just think there may have been an opportunity to mesh the art with the story a little differently.  The design of the Iron Hammer armor also leaves a lot to be desired.  It’s not much of a departure from any other of Stark Proper’s armor, but the hammer itself is a nice touch.  Regardless, this is a very attractive book, and the villain reveal is enough to want to see what happens next.

The Verdict: Check it out!

I’m hesitant to recommend buying any Marvel books that only promise to last two issues, but there’s a lot of potential with this first issue and still plenty of mysteries to uncover before the end.  The script is very much a throwback to the classic Marvel age of storytelling and it’s clear Ewing is having a lot of fun with this tone. Time will tell if any other Infinity Warps stories match this particular book’s quality.

Cameron Kieffer
Cameron Kieffer wears many hats. He is a freelance writer and artist, creator of the webcomic "Geek Theory" and is co-host of the Nerd Dump podcast. He lives in Topeka with his wife and increasingly growing comic book collection.

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