Iron Man #4 is published by Marvel Comics. Written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Cafu. The colors are by Frank D’Armata, and the letterer is Joe Caramagna.
In this run, Tony Stark has left his company and is focusing on being a hero. But the public is starting to grow tired of the actions of both him and Iron Man, viewing him as out of touch. Michael Korvac is back. The man who once killed the Avengers. Tony and Patsy Walker, better known as Hellcat, traveled to Oklahoma to meet a man Stark had bankrolled. This inventor created a method to capture lightning and use it as energy. This man was Korvac. Iron Man and Hellcat were ambushed by Korvac and his team of villains, hitting both heroes with his newly captured lightning. Tony’s armor brought him back, but Hellcat’s fate was uncertain…
At the start of this issue, we learn that James Rhodes is missing. Hellcat survived her attack but now has a nasty facial scar as a reminder. Not just that, but Korvac may have left more than just physical scars. Stark and Patsy have a long conversation, recoiling from their ordeal, before deciding they need allies. Elsewhere Korvac plots his next move inside of a church. And his next target is something huge and half a universe away.
The plot is fantastic in its structure and pacing. It has the energy of recharging in it. The attack clearly winds Tony and Hellcat. It is good that Hellcat is still alive, but the wound that she has picked up is a surprising reveal. While they are together and in hiding, you have Korvac plotting his next move. There’s a huge amount of suspense around Korvac, as he is incredibly powerful and utterly unpredictable. Most of the surprises in this issue surround him. The next target he has his sights on was very unexpected and set up a potentially world-shattering interaction.
Cantwell’s scripts are fantastic, blessing every character with enormous depth. He gives Patsy a realistic amount of time to process what she’s been through. The shock she’s in is evident in each line of dialogue. She’s very snappy, sometimes cruel towards Tony. It isn’t just out of resentment though, and she is clearly in pain. These characters, even though they are powerful superhumans, feel human.
Tony’s confidence is already damaged from the general public rejecting him, but Hellcat’s injury and his role in Korvac’s resurgence have made it worse. He has changed slightly from his older, more insensitive days as he shows compassion towards his friend regarding her scar, imploring her that it doesn’t look that bad.
As for Korvac, Iron Man #4 starts to show what Korvac’s mind is like. The amount of power Korvac possesses has caused him to develop a God complex. Bunkered down inside a church, he spouts numerous religious references, with rants about his destiny seemingly whispered under his breath. There are times when he has the aura of a preacher, but one who has become deluded with his own grandeur. When others speak to him, he rarely answers them in a way that makes sense. The three villains that have joined him are Blizzard, Controller, and Unicorn. All three have become his disciples, referring to him as Lord when they address him. Korvac’s detachment from reality makes him as much of a threat as his enormous power does.
The art by Cafu is brilliant, particularly in regards to Hellcat in this issue. When she first appears on the page, she has this thousand-yard stare that carries a lot of meaning with it. Her injury isn’t shown at first, with only small hints on the edge of her face as she faces forwards. When it is revealed, it is used to shock the audience. The severity of it will make them wince, informing the reader that while she is alive, she did not leave Oklahoma unscathed. Cafu is also extremely talented at using shadows. They always look natural and fall where they are expected to, which stunningly fits his art style. Cafu’s art is very photo-realistic, meaning that the slightest imperfection may be unsettling to the page. However, every shadow is exactly where it should be.
D’Armata’s colors fit the book wonderfully. There is very dark lighting through much of it, primarily in Korvac’s hideout. But there is always a sense of natural lighting from windows or TV screens, reflecting off of leather and metal costumes. Every surface has details that imply a texture, adding to the realism of the art. When the panel is lighter, D’Armata uses it well. The way it gleams on the faces of characters is stunning.
The letters by Caramagna are placed in large word balloons, subsequently always easy to read. The majority of the dialogue is presented in the normal font. So when a character appears with custom typeface, the reader knows something is different about them even if it isn’t clear from their appearance.
Iron Man #4 is a beautiful issue. There’s a small cast of characters, heroes in particular, and Cantwell makes the reader feel for them both. The dialogue is filled with personality and emotion, powerfully portrayed through the facial expression Cafu matches them with. Hellcat is possibly a better character in this series than Iron Man is at the moment, especially in regards to character development. Korvac is a terrifying villain, and the plans he has for the future are cosmic in their potential. Tony and Patsy will not be able to face him alone…
Iron Man #4 is available now, wherever comics are sold.
Iron Man #4
Iron Man #4 is a beautiful issue. There’s a small cast of characters, heroes in particular, and Cantwell makes the reader feel for them both. Korvac is a terrifying villain, and the plans he has for the future are cosmic in their potential. Tony and Patsy will not be able to face him alone…
William is a screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”