Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Release Date: 14th July 2021
Trapped on an unknown world! For the past two issues, Tony Stark has been absent from his own series, trapped on an alien world. Given the fact this series had a one month hiatus, it has now been a quarter of a year since the last time we saw Tony. So… what’s he been up too?
While I’ve adored every issue of this series, it’s good to finally have Tony back in the picture, and this issue works well to establish Tony’s current situation. He’s dealing with a broken neck and the beginnings of a morphine addiction, and while yes we’re dealing with Tony being an addict again, it feels natural here, and series Christopher Cantwell has earned more than enough trust so far for me to have faith in him pulling from this very real subject matter. Tony is also more than aware of his issues creeping up on him given his previous struggles, which adds an interesting new wrinkle to this story.
However, this issue best shows one of this series’ hidden strengths. Cantwell is clearly a massive classic Marvel fan, any look at his Twitter proves that. However, when Cantwell brings back concepts, characters, or ideas from older stories he manages to connect them skillfully so that they manage to add to the narrative without the reader needing the Marvel Wiki to understand them. These moments make you want to learn more about these characters as Cantwell makes them so engaging, even joke characters like Frog-Man (or another character that appears this issue) have some real added depth. It takes a lot of skill to do that while keeping the story focused – something Cantwell has consistently managed to do.
When you’ve sung the praises of the art team on a book for nine issues straight you start to worry you’ve going to run out of things to say. However, this issue’s alien aesthetic gives me a plethora of new things to discuss. CAFU has built an amazing world which is beautiful but has a subtle sense of dread to it. Moments like Tony playing baseball become just as dynamic as the encounter with one of his old foes which ends the issue. Once again, the overall aesthetic is immeasurably improved by D’Armata adding great colours to this alien landscape and adding a sense of power and danger to the battle at the issue’s end. This team never fails to soar to new heights every issue.
With this being the 10th issue, I’m going to say what I’ve been thinking for the past few issues. This is the modern classic run on Iron Man. It’s unique, tackles Tony Stark and all his complexities in a new way, and does it while keeping a sense of fun and hope even when dealing with sensitive subject matter. All with one of the best art teams currently working at either of the “Big Two”. This may be… no, this will be a run that I expect to become considered as an all-time classic.
[PREVIEW – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen