REVIEW: ‘Iron Man 2020’, Issue #5

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Iron Man 2020 5

Iron Man 2020 #5 is a Marvel published comic, and is the latest issue in the Iron Man 2020 event. Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage and Pete Woods as both artist and color artist. The letter is VC’s Joe Caramagna. The event started with Tony Stark announcing to the world that he is actually an artificial intelligence called Mark One and that the real Tony is dead. After that announcement, he led a rebellion with help from all of the world’s A.I., including some robotic guest stars. The uprising challenged Tony’s adoptive brother, Arno, who had used the fellow Stark’s demise to seize control of the company and enslave all artificial intelligence, robbing them of their free will. 

In issue #4, a badly injured Mark One was transported to a virtual plane of existence by its assistant Friday, it learned its true identity: Tony Stark, once and for all. At the same time, Arno was busy amassing his own cybernetic army, converting his business partner Sunset Bain, and even his own parents, into metal. In this issue, Arno readies himself and his team for the final stage of his plan as he leaves for a space station to enact it. Tony must reclaim his corporation and bring his brother back down to Earth.

The plot is captivating, containing a lot of content while still being thrilling in its structure. The beginning of the issue is a long montage describing the origin of Arno Stark, but after that, it feels like the last act of an action movie. The tides have turned as Tony’s personality resurfaces and he invades Stark Unlimited. A secret agent is revealed, but if you were a follower of Slott’s Iron Man run, it won’t be a shock. Even if the readers were new, there had been hints about the particular character’s allegiances. The battles within the building and later on the space station are fantastic and satisfying, and it was rewarding to see Both Starks duke it out. Both Iron Man 2020 #5 and the entire event as a whole is turned upside by a final page reveal. This emerged out of nowhere and will result in huge decisions having to be made by both Tony and Arno.

Iron Man 2020 #5

With both of the Starks now in their peak forms, it allows Slott and Gage to write both of them as they meant to. Tony is a quite literally reborn, and his charisma and arrogance has been missed in this event. He still seems off at times, possessing an arrogance and overconfidence, but that is Tony Stark. As Pepper Potts describes him within these pages, he is an unconventional genius. He is bestowed with a new body and a brand new suit of armor, and it creates a warm feeling that the hero is back in action. Slott is a great writer of the more famous Stark during his series because he never once tries to suggest that he is a normal, well-adjusted character. Instead, he is presented as that eccentric futurist that he is known for, but with that heart that makes him human.

In contrast, Arno appears to be scrambling to stay one step ahead of his brother, and desperate to keep his power. In many ways, both writers show them as incredibly alike. They both have a crippling, obnoxious arrogance, but Arno’s narcissism is much worse due to his lack of contact with the outside world. He is also incredibly driven towards his goals, wanting to always be the person in control. His dialogue has been consistently brilliant throughout his presence in this story arc and has been solidified as one of my favorite Marvel villains in recent history.

Woods brilliantly visualizes the cybernetic chaos that is unleashed within Iron Man 2020 #5, in both line art and color. He is fantastic at detailing the fight scenes as they are easy to follow and exciting to read. The variance in how the combat unfolds is welcome as well, varying between repulsor and technological gunfights to hand-to-hand slugfests on the panels of a satellite. This diversity keeps the readers interested and excited as the stakes get higher.

Woods’ pages contain a lot of detail, especially considering how many bodies he is having to illustrate. His work on holograms, Tony’s new suit, for example, is both inventive and impressive. He puts this level of detail on the other armors as well, from Rescue and Arno’s to even the robotic backup of H.E.R.B.I.E. and Awesome Android. Tony’s new suit doesn’t feel very different in look or features, but the concept behind it is fascinating, and I’m curious to see how this is used by other writers in other books.

The variation in the colors within Iron Man 2020 #5 is striking as well, as there is so much difference in each character. Both Starks use red and gold, but Arno’s is faded and duller compared to the brilliance of Tony’s, allowing them to be easily identified while also creating allegories for their respective allegories. And there are several panels where you have Rescue’s blue, Jocasta’s silver, Machine Man’s purple and Awesome Android’s Hawaiian shirt are all visible, so it is a great feat for Woods to portray them without overwhelming the eyes of the reader.

The letters by Caramagna are much improved, benefitting from much less dialogue than within the previous issue. The word balloons don’t take up much room within the panels and are laid out in a way to avoid confusion. Several of the characters have custom word balloons, which aid in clarifying who is talking during the mass brawls.

Iron Man 2020 #5 is fantastic, wrapping up much of the crossover. The return of Tony Stark is welcome and both Slott and Gage excel at writing both the billionaire and his brother Arno. The battle is engaging, and with less dialogue, the narrative moves easier than it may have done in the issues preceding them. Woods is a great partner in the book; his line art and colors are sublime. With one more issue to go, it is clear that the Iron Man 2020 event will not conclude in a quiet fashion.

Iron Man 2020 #5 is available where comics are sold.


4.5

TL;DR

Iron Man 2020 #5 is fantastic, wrapping up much of the crossover. The return of Tony Stark is welcome and both Slott and Gage excel at writing both the billionaire and his brother Arno. The battle is engaging, and with less dialogue, the narrative moves easier than it may have done in the issues preceding them. Woods is a great partner in the book; his line art and colors are sublime. With one more issue to go, it is clear that the Iron Man 2020 event will not conclude in a quiet fashion.