Christopher Cantwell’s Iron Man has been excellent as it brings Tony Stark back to basics while exploring a man attempting to shed his ego. He’s facing off against Korvac, who wants the opposite as he wants to become a god. The latest issue is a race to Galactus’s starship as Korvac gets closer to his goals and Iron Man, pumped with morphine, can barely hold his broken body together.
This issue opens with Iron Man and Avro-X inside the belly of Galactus’s worldship, which is not pleased they are there. Alarms are ringing and defenses are powering up. Much of this issue is about these two characters narrowly avoiding death from a variety of security features that likely can take on enemies far more powerful than two men in super suits.
The action is fantastic, and Angel Unzueta with Frank D’Armata on art do stunning work. Unzueta is very good at capturing the armors of these heroes and sci-fi looking technology that’s trying to kill them. The angles on the action always seem to push in at the right time to give the reader a sense of danger or damage on our heroes. There are some creative traps set that would put Kevin McCallister to shame.
Props must go to Joe Caramagna who lets the singing fly — yes, singing — and does a good job with sound effects and alerts too. There’s a fantastic “kraaczztchh” that’s used to split an enemy in two.
Somewhat surpirisingly, Cantwell doesn’t amp up the dialogue or make the demeanor of the characters on edge. Instead, Iron Man is super chill and more interested in learning about Avro-X and his hometown in Canada. He’s certainly on point and knows when to dodge an attack, but he’s also not worrying too much. That may be due to the morphine, although given his journey up until this point Cantwell has made a self reflective Tony feel natural.
There are more conflicts to be had in the narrative which end the book in a way that is very open ended. Given solicitations we can guess how it’ll go, but Iron Man is in a really bad place and it’s hard to know how he can get himself out.
Layered into the narrative is Iron Man’s singing of Beautiful Dreamer, a song by Stephen Foster. It’s a melencholy song that adds another layer to the current adventure. It’s funny to think Cantwell may be teaching general audiences about a song from the 1800s and it has some deeper meaning that’s compelling for the narrative. You can look it up, but know it’s about a singer who may be serenading someone who isn’t even alive.
Iron Man #12 reads like an action-packed thrill ride, but has deeper layers at work that are subtly adding character development and getting inside the character’s heads. Much like the entire run, Iron Man #12 elevates the superhero experience.
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