Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Release Date: 6th January 2021
The desperate struggle of Tony Stark continues! With this issue serving as the end of the first Book of Korvac, we’re provided with the final piece of set-up before Christopher Cantwell takes Iron Man into a bold new setting. In doing so, Cantwell introduces several new supporting cast members while also reaffirming the core factors which make this one of the best books currently being published Marvel.
The previous issue ended with Tony having barely survived a battle with a Korvac-possessed Hellcat, so here we find Stark reaching out for new allies. However, if Korvac finds out what he is doing he will kill War Machine. As a result of this, Tony opts to bring together a bunch of C-list heroes to help him out, but it is clear that Tony has become desperate. Every move he makes this issue is entirely because he is incredibly low on options and even then, the choices he makes continue to get his friends hurt. If the last four issues were about tearing Tony down this issue continues that theme with Tony in an armour that’s barely held together confronting a world-ending threat while the person he cares about has to relive the worst experiences of her life.
Given the dark subject matter this book frequently deals with, Cantwell deserves the highest praise for handling these issues in the way he does. The stuff with Hellcat especially goes into some very painful places, but it all feels earned given the amount of focus and attention Patsy Walker has had in this book. I’ve not fully mentioned it in these reviews yet, but Hellcat is the secondary protagonist here, and this series wouldn’t be half as good without her contributions to the story and the incredibly strong emotional bond that Cantwell has created between Tony and Patsy. It makes you feel very strongly about the choices Tony makes in this issue involving her.
Contributing once again to this phenomenal series at the height of their artistic powers are CAFU and Frank D’Armata, who honestly take this book to a whole different level. CAFU provides some utterly stunning panels in this issue as always, but it’s the smaller emotional moments that he absolutely nails here – things like the visible eyes in the armour, which convey so much at once in a single panel. Likewise, D’Armata highlights and deepens the mood to an exceptional degree with his strong colour palette throughout.
Okay, so this is the end of the first arc, and in the world of trade-waiting, some people wait until this point to check out a series. If you are one of these people, you need to read this book. This is a creative team working at the highest level to create a run on a character that we will be talking about for years to come. And that’s not an ‘if’, anymore. It’s a fact. This is easily the best the character has been since Matt Fraction’s character-defining stint, and Cantwell is already reaching the highs of that run. If this book keeps on at its current level, we might be looking at one of the best Iron Man series of all time.
[PREVIEW – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen