I always enjoy new middle-ground characters. Neither good nor evil, they can be utilized by a good writer as either one. Kieron Gillen has his cake and eats it too, by giving us a new group of antagonists for Iron Man with the new knights of Camelot, but he confuses the issue by making one of the knights the point of view character for the issue. It’s hard to totally dislike someone when you hear their own thoughts.
Iron Man is still tracking down Extremis-leaks across the globe, and he finds one cluster in Symkaria, home of the Silver Sable. She’s not mentioned by name, but the country’s neighbor, Dr. Doom, is. It seems Symkaria has allowed this new roundtable to form in its borders, and the knights sort of relish their role as outlaw heroes.
Their approach to armored action varies in another important way; they feel the emphasis should be on the pilot, not the power armor. This leads to some fairly generic suits of armor, but unique fighting styles amongst the group.
Having “Merlin” have such deep ties to Stark’s past is a neat approach too. You know Stark has burned a lot of bridges and made a lot of smart enemies over his lifetime. They are footnotes to him, but Tony Stark looms large in their lives.
One other thought: It’s pretty interesting to have JARVIS go down and start learning his ABCs in the middle of this Extremis quest, isn’t it?
Greg Land’s art works quite well in the armored combat sequences. The black and gold armor looks fantastic, and I love the utilitarian look of Iron Man’s load-out trailer. I still can’t stand the faces. Merlin looks ridiculous, and Stark’s face looks like squeezed into the Iron Man facemask.