So far the 2020 tie-in comics have been my jam. From cool action superhero team adventures to the lone fight of a robot in love, these stories would not exist without the threat of robots across the globe. It’s Pepper Potts’ turn this week as she sets out in the Rescue armor to save Tony Stark! But wait, isn’t he dead? Yes — that’s what Potts aims to resolve.
This issue, written by Dana Schwartz with art by Jacen Burrows (finishes by Scott Hanna for pages 17, 19, and 20) and colors by Peter Pantazis, relies heavily on a few more modern staples of Tony Stark thanks to Brian Michael Bendis and Dan Slott. Between those two writers, Tony got a mom, died, was reborn, and died again. It’s complicated. These factors play into Potts’ desire to bring Tony back to life and within those factors, Potts must make choices and let others do the same. In that latter part, Schwartz excels at showing Potts as a caring and understanding person. She’s not a bull in a china shop and that goes along with her nature to rescue others in the suit Tony designed for her.
The book does well to remind us of Potts’ origin from super-smart kid and college graduate to Tony Stark assistant. This journey plays into her choice later to save Tony and it’s a smart callback. From there she jettisons off on her mission and there are some fun surprises to be had. How the robots are enslaving folks is a funny idea and it’s nice to see the robots aren’t tearing humans’ skin off in every part of the world.
I did find the book a bit slow and uninteresting in its plot developments. Maybe that’s due to it playing off plot points of the past and in large part, this reads like it’s trying to close the door on them — even though it fully admits it’s sort of rehashing an idea in the process. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t feel like it needs to exist, or it needed more to amp up the 20-page tale. The art doesn’t do the story much justice as it’s a bit simple and stiff in its delivery. It gets a few things right, for sure — the opening page is a great montage, and the suit itself looks good. But the bar is set so high with superhero comics these days, and the style is strikingly simple by comparison.
This is a good look at Pepper Potts and a solid argument we need to see more of her. Unfortunately, this issue suffers from the sins of the past and serves as a reminder of them as Potts — and by extension, these creators — try to close the door on clunky Tony Stark history. Ironically, in trying to show Potts still believes in Tony Stark, I’d argue it makes me less of a believer in him and much more a believer in Potts. Give her the armor — after the strong points made about her personality, I’d prefer her in it!