They say if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. In the case of Iron Man’s current situation, something is definitely up. Somehow zapped to a strange alien world with no way of communicating with the outside world, Iron Man finds himself in a very happy place he doesn’t want to escape. Sure, he’s hopped up on morphine and probably hiding some part of himself from reality, but he’s happy. Iron Man #11 pops that warm balloon of too-good-to-be-true this week, and then some.
This issue opens with Iron Man burying those who defended a small town from an Ultimo attack. After reviewing Iron Man #10, it was obvious writer Christopher Cantwell has set Iron Man on an adventure that blends the fantasy of knighthood with the sci-fi weirdness of giant robots. That element persists at the start of this issue and while the sun setting is angelic, Iron Man can’t shake the fact that something is up.
This issue is largely about dispelling the dream of this strange planet, but also revealing Iron Man’s true purpose was off all along. There’s a key opening scene with Stilt-Man that’s a touch too obvious — you might be able to guess where this is going from this scene — but it helps establish where Iron Man’s head is at. This leads to a key scene between Iron Man and Hellcat that that sets in motion Iron Man figuring out what is really going on.
Along the way, we get two fight scenes, revelations, and some much-needed exposition on what Hellcat and Iron Man’s team is up to. Korvac is still hellbent on taking over the universe and it’s nice to get a check-in before the issue is over. The action is incredibly well done thanks to the dynamic angles stretching the spaces and some great perspective using foreground, mid, and background. The attention to detail on Iron Man’s brushed metal mask is a particular standout as well.
Angel Unzueta draws an excellent issue with the usual exceptional colors by Frank D’Armata. The glint on Iron Man’s armor is nearly photorealistic at times, and the glow of Iron Man’s chest is also exceptional throughout. He looks like a superhero, and in some scenes looks almost alien and inhuman. In a key scene with Stilt-Man early on, Unzueta and D’Armata add a bit of volume to the faceplate, but it also looks quite odd to see his blue eyes in two small slits and no nose in between them. So often artists take a side angle to remind us he has a human head under there, but in this scene, he’s seen straight on, creating a distance with the character.
Given this side adventure has felt like something pulled from myth or an epic fantasy, there’s a bit of deus Ex machina used that works given the stakes in the larger story. So often deus ex machinas feels unearned and act like a quick way to wrap things up, but it at least suits the level of villain Iron Man is up against.
This is a good issue that wraps up Iron Man’s side adventure while setting things up for the eventual confrontation with Korvac. Iron Man #11 packs in a lot of action, human moments, and a larger purpose as Tony Stark seeks to find himself.
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