Tony Stark: Iron Man #14
By Dan Slott, Jim Zub, Valerio Schiti, Edgar Delgado & VC’s Joe Caramagna
Dan Slott and Jim Zub team up Iron Man and Captain Marvel again with unfortunately mixed results. By keeping the attention on both characters and exploring Tony’s struggle remember gaps in his memory – among them losing the ability to remember whether or not he’s watched the latest season of Game of Thrones (in a pop culture joke that’s not as effective as it wants to be), much to his chagrin when Carol spoils the ending for him, as well as addressing a whole host of supporting cast. But predictably and as ever when Tony’s around, trouble will find him and it isn’t long before things go south for the characters.
Civil War II was one of the biggest disappointments of the last few years in terms of major comics events and Tony Stark: Iron Man #14 keeps things relatively light and breezy with Slott and Zub perhaps as keen to move on from that event as the readers. However, things are kept almost too light and breezy with both characters making jokes about game-changing events that occurred in that miniseries, but readers who aren’t familiar with what happened won’t need to catch up to understand Carol and Tony’s dynamic. Following the resolution of The War of the Realms, we’re back on regular Tony story now with Slott continuing to flesh out more of his world and the characters around him, exploring around the theme that comes with upgrading technology and its strengths and benefits that come with it.
However there are dangers in trying to do too much at once and that is where Slott and Zub fail to get the balancing act right between the ensemble, and as a result this book feels uneven and not as polished as it should have been. Tony has hit some lows in the past before but this issue merely feels brushed over with and quickly forgotten about, much like the past between Carol and Tony.
Spymaster is one of the biggest casualties of Tony Stark: Iron Man #14 trying to do too much at once and he just loses his impact, especially as it appears the character will now be a one and done villain. The villain of the week format doesn’t always work for comics like it does for TV, and Spymaster is a victim of a mishandled approach here.
The artwork keeps things lively and interesting and is arguably the biggest strengths of an otherwise disappointing issue. Valerio Schiti’s artwork keeps your eyes glued to the page during the action sequences, which are fast-paced and full of total mayhem. Whilst character expressions and face-ups aren’t as good as they could have been, with some characters feeling lifeless in certain places, Joe Carmagna’s colours give added depth and VC’s Joe Caramagna makes the dialogue burst full of energy.
Tony Stark: Iron Man #14 feels like a standard superhero punch-up affair that despite good intentions, good artwork and the joys that come from seeing characters as well-defined as Carol Danvers and Tony Stark go head to head (in this case against each other’s wills, presented in a way not unlike Iron Man 2 when Rhodey’s suit of armour was hacked) are overshadowed by the repetitive feel of the book that tackles themes that have been handled before and better in prior Iron Man runs.