It’s hard to believe, but Iron Man 2020 was a Marvel event that dropped this year. It wrapped up this summer and was collected a few weeks ago, but that only included the main event. Now for the first time, three of the tie-in stories can be read in one sitting. When the world is taken over by robots the robots are king, as is evident in the three two-part stories collected here.
This book opens with iWolverine #1-2, moves on to 2020 Rescue #1-2, and finishes off with 2020 Ironheart. None of these stories are connected, but serve more as a color commentary on the world outside of Iron Man’s main story. Call this collection a nice departure from the usual adventures.
That couldn’t’ be more true than with iWolverine as it focuses on Alfred, the robotic clone of Wolverine as he attempts to rescue Elsie-Deein Madripoor. This story is written by Larry Hama with art by Roland Boschi, and has a classic lone vigilante feel. He’s on a mission, but a bevy of gangs stand in his way. The story can be a bit clunky at times, and it ends abruptly, but it’s a fun little romp with two very weird characters. It ends with the promise we’ll see this duo again, which is a fun idea.
The art is also simplistic and can look rudimentary at times. It does have its own style, though, which looks quite cool and hammers home the edgy vibe of Alfred running amok.
2020 Rescue is written by Dana Schwartz, with art by Jacen Burrows and colors by Peter Pantazis, relying 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 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. In general, it connects to the main event more than the other tales, though it doesn’t feel necessary.
The last two-parter focuses on Ironheart written by Vita Ayala and Danny Lore. It focuses on Riri Williams attempting to be a hero after a new law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to be a superhero. The “Outlaw” storyline is one that suffered due to the pandemic, it actually didn’t start till recently with Champions, so it feels a tad out of place.
This comic is a good example of a hero zeroing in on a problem and trying to solve it. It’s in Riri’s blood to be a hero, and she can’t help herself. Weaved into this is a sci-fi angle involving Riri’s A.I. friend N.A.T.A.L.I.E. and some hacking of self-driving cars. This issue hammers home the fact that Riri is law-abiding even when her A.I. is screaming at her to do more. The world is different as the Iron Man 2020 event changed things and it makes sense to loop Riri in as she’s a genius with technology.
Art by David Messina and colors by Mattia Iacono do a great job rendering Riri, who is mostly in street clothes in this issue. The art excels at close-ups and facial expressions that suit this book since there’s a lot of dialogue. The layering of panels, characters pushed out in front of panels, and other clever layout ideas give the book a 3D feel that also suits the advanced technology themes. There are also some exceptional sound effects used throughout to ramp up the action.
I’m not sure I can recommend reading this series, although it does offer colorful stories for three underused characters. Since these stories don’t tie too closely to the main event it’s not a must-read even if you want to get the full Iron Man 2020 picture, so it depends on your interest of Alfred, Rescue, and Ironheart.
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