REVIEW: ‘Iron Man,’ Issue #6

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Iron Man #6

Iron Man #6 is a Marvel Comics publication written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Cafu. The colour artist is Frank D’Armata, and the letterer is Joe Caramagna.

Within this run, Iron Man has been battling the returned Korvac, an incredibly powerful villain who once slaughtered an entire Avengers team. Korvac has changed, trying to increase his already incredible powers to the level of a god. Holding War Machine hostage has forced Iron Man to keep a low profile. With Hellcat and a small team of lesser-known heroes by his side, they go against a man who has chosen the worldship of Galactus as his next target. Iron Man used Hellcat as bait to draw his enemy out, resulting in Patsy suffering from an awful mental breakdown and visions.  Korvac also unleashed a small amount of his power against Stark himself, critically injuring him. At the same time, his team discovers Korvac’s ship, only for it to explode with them inside.

Within this issue, the small band of heroes is revealed to be still alive. This is due to Gargoyle, who severely injured himself in the process of saving the team. Iron Man takes emergency measures that seal himself inside his armour. With a broken neck, all that is keeping him safe is the metal suit and the work of Halcyon and Misty Knight. Hellcat is still recuperating and suffering from her torment. And as Korvac makes the final preparations to attack Taa II, James Rhodes plots an escape.

The cliffhanger of the previous issue is cleared up while at the same time having consequences. This shows that Cantwell doesn’t just use these endings for shock value as the ramifications are huge and progressively getting bigger for the heroes. However, the pace fluctuates between small pieces of action to potentially feeling static. This has happened throughout the series, the middle of issues often losing some of the tension and excitement built up from other parts of the comic. Some conversations are beginning to feel repetitive, detracting from the usually excellent dialogue. Cantwell is making the chances of success get lower and lower within each chapter. Although the characters keep getting back up again, each punch Korvac throws is bigger and does more damage every time. 

The structure feels slightly different from the other issues, not jumping between protagonist and antagonist as often. This allows the reader to see more of the effects of the team’s traumatic experiences this time. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger either and is less surprising than what has come before.

Each of the characters is very well written, including the title character. Tony is badly injured, which has a huge effect on his actions within these pages. Stark is in pain, at huge risk of death or even worse injury, and confined behind his metal mask. This makes him irritable and, at times, cruel to those around him. Tony’s confidence is shot, and his pride is in tatters, which makes him incredibly dangerous.

One could be concerned about the writing of Hellcat’s story. Patsy is beginning to doubt the mission, even whispering disturbing statements about potentially believing in Korvac’s “better world.” But it is Hellcat that, throughout the series, has experienced the worst trauma. While Tony has been physically shattered, Hellcat’s mind is being tormented, and she is given facial scarring as well. So much of the comic has focused on her recovering from a journey literally to Hell and back. Korvac brought back terrible memories from the last issue in a scene that may have been troubling to readers. The experience was intense and an emotional gut punch. These scenes aren’t necessarily poorly written, the opposite in fact, but it feels unfairly distributed within the series so far. She actually has a lesser role beyond the beginning of Iron Man #6, so perhaps this may change. But it could also be that Korvac’s manipulation of Patsy is changing into something different.

Other characters are being ground down, however, including members of the small group of heroes. Gargoyle’s heroics has had consequences, leaving him drained of energy. Tensions are beginning to run high, especially as the  Halcyon is again shown to be an intelligent and useful assistant to Tony, saving his life. Figures such as Frog-Man and Scarlet Spider are yet to show many contributions to the mission yet, but perhaps that is yet to come.

The art is beautiful as always. While there aren’t many fight scenes within the comic, Cafu makes up for this by adding excitement wherever possible. War Machine’s escape attempt is brief but full of action and intensity. When Hellcat is trying to lift Iron Man’s motionless armour at the beginning of the issue, you can see the strain on her face as she struggles to move him. The artist manages to accomplish a lot with just facial expressions. But like the pacing, there are parts where the issue is devoid of movement.  

The colours are stunning by D’Armata. Much of the energy when it is present comes from the colours. So much of the powers are realised through their luminescence. Gargoyle fills a room with purple light as his forcefield protects his new friends. Korvac’s blasts seem to crackle, and you can almost feel the heat of Halcyon’s tools as he welds parts of Iron Man’s suit. Speaking of the Armoured Avenger, the alterations to his costume result in it looking shinier than it did in the last issue. Every location feels different as D’Armata utilizes a variety of lighting and hues to build atmosphere.

Iron Man #6 is a brilliant character issue. It focuses on recovery as the heroes try and pick up the pieces after the last issue’s traumatic events. The fluctuating pace also results in some exciting moments. Cantwell is determined to put the heroes through as much torment as possible, and the reader can’t help but get emotionally invested in their strife.  Both Iron Man and Hellcat have now been given brutal and lasting injures by Korvac, easing my issue with Patsy appearing to be the primary target for pain. But the series does need more energy and location changes to prevent people from losing interest. With what appears to be coming next, that energy may be on its way. 

Iron Man #6 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Iron Man #6
3.5

TL;DR

Iron Man #6 is a brilliant character issue. It focuses on recovery as the heroes try and pick up the pieces after the last issue’s traumatic events. The fluctuating pace also results in some exciting moments. Cantwell is determined to put the heroes through as much torment as possible, and the reader can’t help but get emotionally invested in their strife.  Both Iron Man and Hellcat have now been given brutal and lasting injures by Korvac, easing my issue with Patsy appearing to be the primary target for pain. But the series does need more energy and location changes to prevent people from losing interest. With what appears to be coming next, that energy may be on its way.