REVIEW: ‘Iron Man,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Iron Man #3 cover

Iron Man #3 is a Marvel Comics published issue written by Christopher Cantwell and art by Cafu. The colourist is Frank D’Armata and the letters are provided by Joe Caramagna. Tony Stark has recently returned from the dead, living in a cloned body and a streamlined suit of armour. Given a new lease of life, he has resigned from the board of his company and put more emphasis on his role as Iron Man. Stark battled the Unicorn with the help of old friend Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat. 

In this issue, we see Iron Man battling foes, encountering resistance, and annoyance from the general public. After the montage, Stark has a fraught conversation with Hellcat in the coach section of an aeroplane while heading to meet a fellow scientist in Oklahoma, where danger is awaiting him.

The plot of the comic moves at a quick pace to begin with. The montage that starts the issue is a great tool to show how people around Iron Man respond to him. As he fights his enemies, citizens will make comments towards him, often suggesting that his actions are a nuisance to them. In one long scene, the armoured Avenger flies into a school playground to surprise the children playing in it. The teachers show their displeasure at the unannounced entrance and the effect it will have on the rest of their day. Tony Stark believing himself to be above everyone else is starting to become tiresome to those below him.

The reveal at the end of the issue has been hinted at early in Cantwell’s run so it wasn’t as much of a shock. But the readers definitely didn’t see the last page coming, and how sudden it was made it a massive shock.

Cantwell’s exploration of Tony’s personality pits him at a low point during Iron Man #3. Another benefit the montage had on the story was that it gave the reader an idea of what has contributed to Stark’s current mood. The billionaire is known for his confidence and determination, always thinking. But in this issue, he seems listless and unsure. A deep monologue, distributed through captions, is actually revealed to be him rambling to a server in a restaurant. Clearly uncomfortable, Tony’s pride is wounded. Cantwell does a brilliant job of instilling depth into his image crisis. Pairing him up with Hellcat was clever, as she is a character who has experienced much of the same turmoils as he has.

The dialogue is brilliant between the two superheroes. Tony is stuck within his own head, constantly talking about his own problems. Hellcat is blunt towards him and it puts some perspective on his troubles. Patsy is well written and is the first main character to speak outside of Tony. Her revelation of the problems she has faced frees Tony from his self-obsessive slump. At the same time, the conversation makes it clear that Patsy isn’t just in this comic to give the protagonist pep talks but to tell her own story too.

The framing of the conversation, stuck in a small space, is fantastic. Most of the panels are close-ups so the detail Cafu gives to the facial expressions is very important. The lines are clean and intricate. The hurt on Patsy’s face when Tony makes a brutal remark towards her is incredibly effective as it builds in its intensity. 

There are a lot of scenes of combat within Iron Man #3, and all of them are laid out well. Most of Stark’s rogue gallery make an appearance, and all of them look awesome in their armour and costumes. While many of them are cameo appearances, Cafu fills each panel with energy and movement. The impact as Iron Man flattens the Melter with a single punch is truly felt by the reader.

With the large variety of colours on display from each character, heroic or villainous, D’Armata’s ability to capture each one perfectly us impressive. Each one is dulled due to the dark lighting in many of the scenes, but they still shine due to the metal surfaces they are painted on. Iron Man’s armour, in particular, seems to gleam when flying against a purple, dusk sky. 

When in the claustrophobic confines of coach class, Patsy and Tony are the only characters that are given colour. Hellcat wears her signature yellow sweater, her red hair the brightest colour on the plane. Tony is darker with his black jacket and hair, but a crisp white band-aid is on his nose. But around them, everything else is gray. This keeps the readers’ attention on the two superheroes.

The letters by Caramagna are very easy to read. There are many caption boxes but they are often out of the way and in the corner. The word balloons are also small, resulting in the action behind them taking centre stage. During the many fight scenes, the sound effects are frequent but welcome.

Iron Man #3 is a terrific addition to the current run. The world has changed around Tony Stark, and he is still trying to adapt himself. Each panel is stunning as we see Iron Man switch between locations and adversaries. The final fight scene is heart-pumping action and ends with an event that left me desperate to see what happens next. And with hints at the villain of this story arc, Tony’s got a big fight ahead of him.

Iron Man #3 is available where comics are sold.


Iron Man #3
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TL;DR

Iron Man #3 is a terrific addition to the current run. The world has changed around Tony Stark, and he is still trying to adapt himself. Each panel is stunning as we see Iron Man switch between locations and adversaries. The final fight scene is heart-pumping action and ends with an event that left me desperate to see what happens next. And with hints at the villain of this story arc, Tony’s got a big fight ahead of him.