REVIEW: ‘Iron Man,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Iron Man #5

Content warning: this review and Iron Man #5 discusses trauma.

Iron Man #5 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Christopher Cantwell, with art by Cafu, colors by Frank D’Armata, and lettered Joe Caramagna. In this issue, Korvac is back. Inhabiting the body of an android and incredibly powerful, he lured Iron Man and Hellcat into a trap, nearly killing them. They both survived, but Hellcat suffered both physical and psychological scars. Not only that, but he can connect to her through her mind as well. 

Iron Man has already suffered a crisis of confidence, the public perception of him shifting. He doesn’t have a company anymore or a bottomless pit of cash. He and Patsy search for the allies they need. And Korvac’s next target is revealed: Taa II, the giant spaceship and home of Galactus…

Within this issue, Iron Man’s new allies are revealed. Including Misty Knight, Gargoyle, and new character Halcyon, this team is designed to stop Korvac from reaching Taa II. As his teammates search for his transport off-world, Iron Man realizes that he requires bait to contact his enemy. But this course of action may spell disaster for everyone.

The plot ramps up in its stakes and continues to be gripping. It moves at a slow pace, but the reader is always invested in what is happening.  Iron Man briefs his new team, leading to a lot of exposition at the start.  Korvac is always one step ahead, with his true plan hidden. With minimal resources, Iron Man is unable to make his usual moves, and his foe seems unreachable and unstoppable. There is this promise of a huge fight coming, but it still feels far away. Whenever Tony gets close, he is outclassed and overpowered. 

Each of the actions the characters make is unexpected, sometimes to those around them as well. In particular, Tony’s plan to draw Korvac is a surprise, and the consequences feel like a gut punch. The way each issue ends is similar every time, explosive and exciting. After each issue, it is hard to see what the heroes will do next.

Cantwell starts to show how Iron Man is starting to fray from the pressure. His armor is looking worn and battle-damaged, and without his company behind him, there is no replacement. The decision he makes will result in him being hated, which appears to be intentional. His willingness to use a vulnerable character as a pawn constantly shows his lack of consideration towards others during his own struggle. He is callous and anxious, often snippy towards anyone talking back to him.

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat, continues to be the best-written character within the series. Her story has been heartbreaking. Constantly putting herself on the line, it is always Patsy that ends up worse off. Her strength is intense here, but there is an event that may have shattered that. This scene is heartbreaking and potentially triggering to some, which should be given as a warning. Her past trauma and the effects it has had on her is a large part of this story. Cantwell’s writing has progressively grown more intense, possibly changing the way it affects the reader. 

Each of the allies selected by Cantwell are fascinating in their own individual ways. They are all lesser-known characters, but they all have an opportunity to shine. This is not a powerful team, so they will have to be smart in approaching Korvac. Some of them start to show just their capabilities by the end of the issue, revealing how they will be useful to Stark and his mission. 

Cafu’s art continues to be magnificent. Each of the new allies is drawn fantastically. Each one has a different build and body type, with costumes covered in details. One feature within Iron Man #5 that implies just how much Tony is struggling is his armor. Cracked and damaged, it shows how weakened he is.

When Korvac makes an appearance, he is imposing and creepy. His android form isn’t entirely scary, but an aura is created when he is in a panel, And at the end of the issue, his appearance changes into something much more terrifying.

The colors by D’Armata are stunning. Constantly dark and glum, the colors regulate the tone of the comic. Iron Man’s armor has been dulled, but there’s still a chrome effect from the metal. But the colors really shine during a nighttime scene in the rain. The lights have a genuine and authentic glow, shining in the darkness. As the white streaks cover the panels, the tension within them starts to ramp up.

When SFX is used, Caramagna uses them to great effect. They are used sparingly but are powerful. When a character does something that harms themselves, the sound effect that accompanies it sends a jolt of energy off the page.

Iron Man #5 is a slow-building issue that has a heartbreaking twist. The second half of the comic is an intense confrontation that will change the course of the series. There are more characters added to the series, and it is always interesting to see smaller heroes get a chance of exposure inside a bigger book. But Hellcat continues to be the star of the comic. Iron Man’s actions within the book may have made the reader much less sympathetic to his problems. 

Iron Man #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

 


Iron Man #5
4

TL;DR

Iron Man #5 is a slow-building issue that has a heartbreaking twist. The second half of the comic is an intense confrontation that will change the course of the series. There are more characters added to the series, and it is always interesting to see smaller heroes get a chance of exposure inside a bigger book. But Hellcat continues to be the star of the comic. Iron Man’s actions within the book may have made the reader much less sympathetic to his problems.