Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Release Date: 16th December 2020
Broken, battered, and reeling from their encounter with Korvac, Iron Man and Hellcat are trying to figure how to deal with a man who is basically a god. But when a very close friend of Tony suddenly disappears, our hero realises just how trapped he is, all while Korvac makes his first big move.
So here we are, the penultimate issue of the first Book of Korvac, the first of four that Cantwell has planned, and this feels appropriately like the beginning of the end of the first act. The stakes are raised, new and classic characters come back into the story in a smart way and the threads established at the end of this issue show just how expansive the story is going to become. This is clearly the beginning of a cosmic epic. While this issue provides a slight lull in action, it more than makes up for it character development, resulting in another great issue.
The relationship between Tony and Patsy (Hellcat) is the key to this issue as it develops and potentially starts to show signs of fracturing. Given just how broken and battered (both physically and mentally) Patsy is, she’s clearly feeling the toll of trying to bring Tony back to Earth, making their relationship even more complicated as Patsy sees the good man Tony is trying to be. Cantwell has made us care about the relationship between these two characters and therefore we care about Patsy just as much as Tony. And, since only one of them has a semi-indestructible armour, the tension is kept perpetually high.
As much as Cantwell makes us care about Tony and Patsy, this emotional investment is helped immeasurably by CAFU bringing his usual spectacular quality to this issue. Both Tony and Patsy are significantly hurt from the previous issue and it shows. Patsy in particular has a brutal injury from the fight with Korvac and it looks legitimately painful. One of my favourite things that CAFU has done on this book is showing just how much damage Tony and Patsy take each issue. You can see it starting to pile up and take its toll, which gives Tony a sense of vulnerability that he hasn’t had in years. This combined with Frank D’Armata giving all the scenes with Korvac a strong gothic foreboding tone just makes him even more terrifying.
This is another really good issue which focuses on this book’s two key strengths, character and mood. Cantwell has spent the last three issues making us care about Tony and Patsy, and now as we start to reach the end of this act of the story, the characters themselves, rather than the action, take focus for an issue which is something I absolutely applaud. You don’t need massive fights to make a comic worth reading and this book is absolutely worth reading. With Cantwell, CAFU and D’Armata bringing their usual A game for this issue, it’s another easy recommendation. This series consistently breaks the high standards it sets for itself, and this latest issue is no exception.
[PREVIEW – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen