Iron Man #18 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Christopher Cantwell, art by Lan Medina, with colors by Frank D’Armata, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Now, Iron Man has the Power Cosmic and used it to try and change the world in his image. Fearful of him, Hellcat enlisted the help of her friends, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom. Tony found out what they were doing and lashed out, killing all of them except for Patsy.
In this issue, Hellcat takes Tony on a journey into his own mind to stage an intervention. For even if he can revert what he’s done, he still needs to face the consequences.
After a chaotic couple of issues (more like 17), this chapter slows right down. It is a methodically paced issue, much of it a single conversation. The tone of the comic is heavy, hungover from the previous devastation. It is also reflective, taking in not just the past few issues, but through the entire lives of the protagonist. Cantwell’s script is intelligent and powerful, implementing a maturity to the comic. The result of this conversation is not a surprise, though the sentiment is still powerful. The writer then uses a callback to part of what led to Stark’s ascendency to deliver an emotional gut punch. However, that is a disguise for an epilogue that will surely end this arc with a climactic battle.
The characterization and the dialogue inside Iron Man #18 are simply stunning. The length of the discussion allows for an incredible and layered confession to be drawn from Stark. He is evidently, immensely remorseful for what he has just done, and coming to terms is a crucial part of the issue. The conversation shifts as he goes through his excuses. And something that Hellcat is used brilliantly for is to not let him get away with what he did. He is a god and is capable of reversing his actions. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that he did it.
What I hadn’t accounted for in earlier reviews is how much Patsy fits alongside Tony as a partner in the series. Both are still suffering from the treatment of their parents. Stark felt invisible to his father unless he was perfection. In contrast, Patsy had a mother who created a perfect version of her in stories that weren’t reflective of who she really was. They are similar but ultimately unique observations centered around the same theme.
The art is fantastic. Different from what we are used to in this series, Medina is actually a brilliant choice for this issue. In the foreground, Hellcat and Tony are in a cornfield, part of the construction inside Tony’s mind. There is an insane amount of detail in both their surroundings and the characters. In many of the panels, Stark hides his face in shadows, indicative of his shame.
But in the background, there are also these images, either on moments in their past lives or other characters. Occasionally they are surreal, such as both Tony and Patsy as scarecrows. These exist behind them as their conversation continues, providing us with more to look at than just the cornfield. But when they are out of this mindscape, the revelations of what Stark has done are painful, brutal, and yet beautifully drawn.
The colors are an excellent part of the storytelling inside Iron Man #18. In the cornfield, the pastel style creates a feeling of serenity. There is a luscious blend of yellow and green that adds depth to the location. Patsy’s hair is worthy of particular mention due to its bright, brilliant shade. And yet in the “real world,” the tone is incredibly dark and shadowy; everything is gloomy. Additionally, The lettering is dynamic and pivotal for creating voices for the characters.
Iron Man #18 is an excellent follow-up to the sheer brutality of the previous issue. This is a comic that takes its time, happy to just let the conversation play out. There isn’t much action but it makes up for it with a beautiful and poignant discussion. The theme of consequences is resounding and integral to every aspect of the comic. As the series enters its final chapter, first it needed to be stripped down to its key parts, and Cantwell and Medina have done that superbly. With this quiet issue over with, what follows may be cataclysmic.
Iron Man #18 is available where comics are sold.
Iron Man #18
Iron Man #18 is an excellent follow-up to the sheer brutality of the previous issue. This is a comic that takes its time, happy to just let the conversation play out.