I figure that since I am getting my comics all in one bunch now, it might make more sense to do a roundup sort of post with books in logical groups than try to do everything at once. And where else to start but with Iron Man? (I'll try this format, see what works. Maybe I'll just do Iron Man, we'll see.)
Invincible Iron Man #500.1 -- Tony Stark heads to an AA meeting and shares his struggles and triumphs with the group. What I enjoyed most about this "fresh readers" issue (done by the regular team of Matt Fraction and Sal Larocca) was that it did at least touch on lots of forgotten or otherwise obscure Iron Man continuity. A lot of it is encapsulated in the phrase "life got weirder," but at least is acknowledgement. This reminds me of the sort of story which would run as a backup in an Annual. I don't know that it really works as a "jumping on point" but its a good little character issue. Worth picking up for an Iron Fan though.
Invincible Iron Man #501 -- Shellhead against Doctor Octopus? Sounds pretty ridiculous, and also further indulging of Fraction's Spider-Man obsession, but it actually works in this case because it is not Iron Man fighting against a guy with mechanical arms. There's some nice developments with Stark Resilient and some good flashbacks as well. The first post-500 story starts off with an intriguing premise and hopefully will deliver.
Iron Man 2.0 #1 -- James Rhodes has become the Army's "Iron Man" and his first task is pretty bizarre -- a dead military research genius is seemingly deploying his secrets to anti-American agents all over the world. The last page seems to give away the twist, though, but maybe I will be surprised. A pretty average premiere, there's not a whole lot going on in this issue but it does establish a new status quo for Rhodey -- plus there is a psuedo cameo by the original Blizzard. Nick Spencer's script is straightforward, but somewhat heavy-handed, and Barry Kitson's art is inconsistent -- sometimes its clean and other times it gets too busy and angular. There's some backup material as well with a timeline of Rhodey's fictional life and a reading list.