After taking a month off, Iron Man is back this week with Iron Man #9. This issue veers away from Iron Man, and Patty Walker for that matter, to show us Korvac’s side of the story. Or at least, to understand where he’s coming from as an android seeking to become a god. As one does.
Opening on the year 2997, Christopher Cantwell sets up an issue that makes you question the actions of Korvac and what he truly wishes to acquire. He’s a bit of a sympathetic character judging by the opening, which further sets up his acts in this issue and whether or not he can gain the trust of a major figure. Getting to see the character and his origins helps us understand him. Ultimately, the question of whether Korvac can lead out of fear and manipulation or out of respect and guidance.
Without getting into spoilers, Korvac ends up attempting to gain a new ally going the latter route. This figure is a substantial one in Avengers history and connects to Korvac’s personal pain and anguish. As a robotic man, his humanity has been snatched from him and lost. Korvac hopes to use that to connect and gain an ally that could turn the tides against Iron Man, but his ego and inability to see outside his own vision hamper his ability to do so.
The strongest element of this issue is how it captures the humanity of Korvac and this Avengers character, but also the horrific nightmare that is turning a humanoid into a robot. Cafu renders Korvac’s change from human to android in a few nightmarish panels that reveal the torture he endured. Like something out of Robocop, Korvac hasn’t simply lost his flesh and blood, but his very humanity. This extends to the other character I won’t name who also gets a dehumanizing montage of his parts disassembled.
As an Iron Man title, one could connect these android men to the literal and figurative Iron Man character. That connection isn’t necessarily made, though on deeper reflection it’s an interesting concept to think about. This issue sets up that android as human or vice versa concept, though, and it’ll be interesting to see where Tony Stark is at. Since a point like that isn’t made, this issue reads like it missed the mark on a grander point.
Instead, this issue serves as a side story to Iron Man and Korvac’s story, and while it gives an explanation as to how Korvac attains a new high profile ally, it doesn’t do enough to probe the characters. The ideas and even a few visuals are all there, but we may need to keep reading to get at the heart of Korvac’s struggle to find some kind of godlike control and maybe even peace.
Iron Man #9 suffers a bit after a month’s delay, since it takes a side journey with Korvac to find an ally and maybe even some validation in his goals and desires. Since the last issue focused on Patty Walker, and this issue focuses on Korvac, it’ll be a nice return to have Iron Man back in the next issue. That said, this issue does a good job capturing the horror of a man who has lost his humanity and how the robotic parts that make the man can’t even come close to revealing the pain within.
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