The last couple of years have seen some excellent Marvel superhero video games thanks to a quality-over-quantity approach. Between 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man and 2019’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 — plus a few others here and there — we had a plethora of fun games to play. We also have Marvel’s Avengers to look forward to in 2020 from Square Enix. And to prepare us for what will hopefully be yet another good addition to the Marvel games roster we are getting a series of comic book one-shots.

Veteran creators Jim Zub and Paco Diaz team-up to bring us the first of these one-shots. Marvel’s Avengers Iron Man focuses on this world’s version of Tony Stark and his armored alter-ego, and presumably sets up some of the villains we may see in the game. Tony Stark seems to draw heavily from the movie version, which makes sense given his popularity. The only main difference of note is that he still seems to be at odds with his teammates like in the first Avengers movie, rather than the leader and friend he would eventually become. This is shown in some antagonistic interactions with Bruce Banner and Nick Fury which would probably not happen closer to Infinity War or Endgame. On the villain side, we have some D-grade introductory villains like Titania and Beetle who may act as ‘canon fodder’ in the game, as well as Spymaster who could potentially play a bigger role.

Writer Jim Zub crafts a fairly straight forward story here which isn’t particularly groundbreaking. Since each one-shot will focus on a single Avenger there isn’t much space to work with, so it makes sense that there isn’t too much significant here. There’s a chance that the proliferation of Tony’s tech will play a role in the game, but we can’t be sure about that just yet. Still, as an introduction to the state of the Avengers it works well enough.

Artist Paco Diaz brings the comic life, and it is done with the competence you would expect of a seasoned artist. This is being presented as an introductory book, so Diaz clearly opted to keep things clean and easily readable. That does make the book accessible, but it does also mean there’s a bit of blandness to the presentation. The action scenes lack a sense of weight and movement, which hampers them. There are also some stiff poses throughout which make some scenes awkward. Facial expressions run the gamut from well done to making some characters look like they’ve recently suffered strokes. The latter happens more frequently towards the end of the issue, which suggests it may have been a matter of looming deadlines.

Marvel’s Avengers Iron Man is a comic that has a specific task to complete, and it does just that with a very little flair. As an introduction to Marvel’s Avengers it works well enough, but it likely won’t wow readers all that much. We do have to assume that the target audience for this is people who don’t normally read comics, and from that perspective, it’s perfectly fine. Given the limited storytelling space available to Jim Zub and Paco Diaz they turn in about a good a book as you can expect. It’s not flashy or particularly amazing in any way, but it is a perfectly entertaining book. It’s a bit hard to recommend at $3.99, but assuming the other Marvel’s Avengers one-shots maintain the quality level here I think the inevitable trade paperback collection could be well worth a look.