Iron Man #21 is published by Marvel Comics and written by Christopher Cantwell, with art by Angel Unzueta, colours by Frank D’Armata, and letters by Joe Caramagna. With Hellcat leaving and his friends not talking to him, Iron Man is trying to rebuild his life again. But while on a plane, he finds himself in the middle of a hijacking.
There is a very classic feel to this plot, which makes it extremely enjoyable. Each issue since the end of the Book of Korvac arc has felt fresh from the start. Whilst there is this overarching story starting to be woven into the new arc, the one in this issue takes precedent. The action on the plane reminded me of the first issue of the famous Demon in a Bottle storyline. The confrontation is exciting, and it is only just the beginning of an excellent cat and mouse game. Stark is taken out of his comfort zone, leading to the conclusion of the situation feeling satisfying. By the end of the issue, Tony’s new main adversary is made clearer. One of the other plot threads in this issue is derailed with a massive surprise.
What also reminds me of classic Iron Man stories is the way this current armour has the possibility to be quite terrible. When he takes damage, Cantwell makes sure it lasts and has consequences, putting him at a massive disadvantage for the rest of the book. But from his broken neck in the last arc, injuries also don’t go away like they might do for Wolverine or Spider-Man in the next edition of their series. In addition, Tony is not 100% himself, leading to him making mistakes or falling into traps he would normally be able to foresee.
The villain is new and rather interesting, due to both his origin and how he acts around Stark. There aren’t many other characters involved in Iron Man #21, but the writer delivers an excellent script filled with fascinating and investing monologues. Tony’s troubled state also provides an explanation for why he might talk to himself. His narration has a natural tone to it as he contradicts himself sentence by sentence like he needs to clear his head.
The art is gorgeous, blending the natural world with technology as Iron Man is quite literally thrown into it. The locations Stark finds himself in are created with incredible detail, giving the world a distinct realism. The armour looks out of place but that is part of the comic’s charm—Iron Man always sticks out. This version of the suit carries elements of many older incarnations. It is quite funny yet alarming to see it crumple when it gets damaged. The fight is physical and features some clever moves as the sensation of impact is well-depicted.
The colours are excellent as they are pivotal to the landscape Iron Man reaches inside this issue. D’Armata intelligently ensures that the red and gold shades of his armour only appear on him, nowhere else around him. It makes him appear truly out of place. By the end of the issue there is a slight alteration to the implied textures, appearing cleaner and smoother. The lettering is easy to read and very dynamic.
Iron Man #21 brings Stark back to basics. It may appear simple: Iron Man going up against a villain one-on-one. But the issue is really refreshing with its tense and emotional tone. It feeds into a larger story and serves as an amazing single tale. It truly does carry the personality of an older comic, which I will always have time for. And the subtle changes in the art depending on the location brings so much character and depth to the world.
Iron Man #21 is available where comics are sold.
Iron Man #21
Iron Man #21 brings Stark back to basics. It may appear simple: Iron Man going up against a villain one-on-one. But the issue is really refreshing with its tense and emotional tone. It feeds into a larger story and serves as an amazing single tale.