Iron Man #8
Tony Stark has vanished in the middle of outer space, and his friends are moments away from death at Korvac’s hands. It’s up to a shell-shocked Hellcat to dig deep into her mind with the help of old friend and psychic mentor Moondragon, who reaches across the universe to help Patsy reclaim the once-powerful mental abilities she left behind. But to reignite those powers, Hellcat is going to have to face some pretty frightening demons in her past…one of them literally the Son of Satan himself.
Here we are, on issue 8 of an Iron Man run that started out really strong, and has since… collapsed. What happened to the conceit laid out for us in issue one? It seemed to me like the premise of the book was made perfectly clear right from the beginning and Cantwell has defaulted on all of his promises.
Let’s step away and forget our intergalactic swashbuckling adventure for a moment, and flash back to Daredevil #22 by Chip Zdarsky. In this issue (which happens before Iron Man #1) Daredevil pays Tony a visit, and urges him to buy Hell’s Kitchen to save its residents from being forced out of their homes.
This conversation clearly sparks a change of heart for Tony, which leads him to sell his house, all his stock holdings, and leave Stark Unlimited. To really convince usl, Tony even puts on one of his older, more basic Iron Man suits to outwardly reflect his new, down-to-earth perspective on super-heroing. All this posturing, all these grand gestures and what story does Cantwell pair it all with? He sends Tony to literally outer space, to stop Korvac from becoming God. I cannot possibly imagine a story less grounded than that. What happened to the “people-level” story we were promised? What happened to the Tony’s new perspective? What happened to the message and the heart this book claimed to have? This story flies in the face of all of that, and completely shunts aside the compelling, meaningful, and thought provoking topics I thought we were going to tackle.
Because of all this, my patience has been wearing thin on this book for a while now, but the change in art duties this issue was the final straw for me. Angel Unzueta goes for incredibly boring shots and sequences all throughout the psychic-dream pages. The classroom scene is really where it shows. Patsy’s high school looks incredibly sparse and un-lived-in. If this was meant to create a surreal effect, it didn’t work. Extremely static poses, reused panels, and whole mess of uninspired mark-making join forces to create a stack of 4 or 5 pages that are just entirely unpleasant to look at. Cafu was sorely missed.
On the other hand, colorist Frank D’Armata does a lot of heavy lifting to preserve the look and feel from the previous 8 issues. His solid lighting, rendering, and delightfully fuzzy textures hold the art together impressively well. He is perhaps the only reason this book is even visually recognizable anymore.
I’m severely disappointed with the direction this book has gone. Issue one had me so excited to hang out in the new, stripped down, gritty world of “people-level” Tony Stark. What we’ve got now by issue eight, is a boring, shallow romp through space with… Frog-Man, I guess. But hey, theres always next arc.
Iron Man #8: Broken Promises
Writing - 4/10
Storyline - 4/10
Art - 6/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9/10
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