Iron Man under Christopher Cantwell and Cafu has been an exciting series thanks to great character development but also its great stakes-raising plotting. Not only is Tony’s body broken to the point where the suit is holding him together, but he and his new crew have literally rocketed into space to stop Korvac from becoming a god. Readers can catch up by reading the last issue, or better yet check out the first volume which collects the first six issues.
This week in Iron Man #8, Iron Man takes a backseat as Hellcat must go on a side quest of sorts to figure out an ability she hasn’t used in ages. Patsy Walker is the key to solving the mystery that is Korvac.
This issue opens with the heroes still in a space dogfight for their lives. Iron Man is nowhere to be seen and Gargoyle is tending to Hellcat. She’s seemingly lost in her own head, but in reality, Moondragon is aiding her in finding a new gear for her psychic senses. Much of this issue is devoted to Hellcat discovering herself through past memories and reminders from Moondragon. She has great power, but she needs to unlock them after years of tamping them down. Cantwell does a good job bringing out these moments through key scenes that show rather than just tell. They’re smart bits and thanks to this all happening in Hellcat’s mind the narrative can jump around quickly.
Essentially, this issue gives Hellcat the agency to take control of her life, or at the very least take control enough to have confidence in herself. She heals, and that’s empowering. It also progresses the little dogfight problem enough so that Iron Man can be saved from his predicament.
Angel Unzueta takes over on art and their style lines up perfectly with Cafu’s. It’s not identical by any means, but with Frank D’Armata’s colors, it isn’t jarring. Lighting and volume are maintained from Cafu’s style and it doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to its darker tone when not in Patty’s mind. Unzueta does a great job with computer screens and the space dogfight. The zip of the scene doesn’t miss a beat and there are good cutaways to comedic turns.
Speaking of, Cantwell does well to show us each of Iron Man’s new team and how they function to keep things rolling. Frog-Man is still pretty much comedy relief since he’s not quite a superhero, but the rest get a moment to say something or do something important. It’d be easy to cast them aside while Iron Man and Hellcat takeover, but thankfully they’re involved. In hindsight, they don’t have much to overcome, but it’s enough so that it feels like some progress is made.
It’s likely a problem with the shortness of a single issue, but it does read oddly that Iron Man makes no appearance here, especially since he was the key cliffhanger of the last issue. Hellcat reconciles with herself rather quickly which is understandable, but it lessens Patty’s progress a touch.
Iron Man #8 continues to develop Patty Walker in interesting ways, moving the plot forward just enough to keep things moving along. Readers might be surprised Hellcat has taken over their Iron Man book, but given how important she is to this story and to Iron Man it continues to improve upon a great story.
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