Three years after the MCU’s debut with Iron Man Marvel decided to try something interesting. Putting their flagship character’s… including Iron Man, in a 1930’s depression era US setting. So the reason you don’t see Cap is because hes sort of already done it. So in 2011 Scott Synder (the same responsible for the New 52 Batman run yes) as writer and Manuel Garcia as penciler tackled the enigmatic, selfish and billionaire Tony Stark and his Iron Man… and it is great!
The 4 issue arc does everything parallel universe comic stories should do, give the character an in interesting redesign, change other characters and locations and details. Whilst making them all familiar enough for comic readers to jump on board. However the main thing that sets Iron Man Noir apart, at least from my reading, is the depiction of Tony Stark. As mentioned it adheres to his ‘stellar’ character traits such as selfishness and foolishness. But it also enhances them, develops them, and changes them in a way that coincides with the 1939 WWII setting. He selfishly goes on adventures for a set of escapist stories, uses people like Rhodey. Even then these things change, successfully too, which is difficult to do in a 4 series arc. Snyder makes the character feel so familiar from the get go, clearly pandering to RDJ’s depiction, as most comics did after 2008. Not to mention how Garcia makes the sci-fi steampunk sort of atmosphere almost beleivable too.
At times I also thought i knew where the story would go, only for it to embarrass me with its reveals that had me going “well of course this is it”, I wasn’t disappointed, but pleased that Snyder could point my comic reading nose one way, only to leave a scent in the other direction.
For those wondering then, if you want a unique way of depicting Tony Stark and analyzing his character look no further than this short and sweet series. And no I haven’t delved into the rest of Noir yet, but I’m excited to see what other writers can do to our favorite superheroes.