REVIEW: ‘Iron Man,’ Issue #19

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Iron Man #19

Iron Man #19 is published by Marvel Comics. It is written by Christopher Cantwell, with art by Cafu, colors by Frank D’Armata, and letters by Joe Caramagna. In the last issue, Tony gave up the power cosmic and restored his friends. But that left him with withdrawal symptoms from morphine, and he collapsed just as Korvac reappeared. In this issue, the final showdown commences,

This is the final part of a huge 19-issue arc. But how do you conclude a story big? Cantwell does this quietly and acutely. There have already been fights between Stark and Korvac with armor and technology, and even on the highest level possible, where both have the power of the gods. But in this issue, the scale is much smaller. Like the previous issue, the story takes place within one scene for most of the comic. The pace is slow, but it is emotive and heavy. The incredible personal themes that have been prevalent since the first issue have taken over from the high concept tales. These may be potentially triggering, as the themes of substance abuse and mental health have pivotal and tragic centerpieces to this conclusion. There is still a fight scene in this issue, with as much brutality in Iron Man #19 as there is when Tony’s neck was broken, or his friends were killed. But the more subdued way in which this tale is wrapped up is poignant and heartbreaking but beautiful.

The cast of this issue is much lighter than many other chapters in the saga, which allows for some fantastic character development for both of the figureheads of the book. For Tony, it is remarkable how Cantwell keeps finding an even lower ebb for him to fall to. It has rarely been a fair fight between him and Korvac when his armor was faulty, and Michael had the power of a god. But they eventually ended up on a level playing field, and Stark bested his enemy. In this issue, the power difference couldn’t be further apart. He is almost comatose, possibly close to death. Withdrawal from morphine has been powerful. He is close to helpless, yet his mind still has just enough for him to try and manipulate Korvac. As for Michael, his godlike persona seems even grander now. He is loud, an accurate pantomime figure. This end to the arc has a breathtaking surprise and is the opposite of what I thought he was.

The art is incredible. It is a nice touch that Cafu has returned for the final issue of the arc, considering he was the starting artist. There is a brilliant comparison made between the two characters in the comic. Korvac is emanating power, standing tall as he looks down upon his nemesis. Meanwhile, Tony is on the ground, either crumpled in a heap or on his knees. He looks exhausted, hardly able to open his eyes. The location may not be the most visually interesting, a dark path in the middle of a park. But the intensity of the showdown itself is fantastic. The facial expressions and the body language are superb, and when there is violence, it made me flinch from the intensity of the move. The realistic art style Cafu uses makes this entire issue feel like the finale of a movie.

The colors are stunning. Almost the entire page is dark and gloomy, matching how Stark feels in his almost catatonic state. What provides the light is Korvac. His power has grown, and the brightness is so high that it is essentially just white around him. The edges of his power field and his body itself are a blend of purple and pink. D’Armata also includes exceptional examples of detail, denoting parts of his body and his power simultaneously. The lettering is also amazing as Carmagna increases the size of the text when Korvac speaks to show the increasing volume of his voice. In contrast, Stark’s are smaller and almost imperceptible at times, hinting at him fading away.

Iron Man #19 is an unexpected conclusion. Instead of ending this gigantic story arc with a bang, it fizzles out with a whimper. But that does not mean it is not incredible. The dialogue and character resolution in this comic are intelligent and feature mature themes that are dealt with intensely but sensitively. Cantwell and his artistic collaborators have proven that a 19-issue arc is not only possible, but it can be done effectively and successfully. 

Iron Man #19 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Iron Man #19
5

TL;DR

Iron Man #19 is an unexpected conclusion. Instead of ending this gigantic story arc with a bang, it fizzles out with a whimper. But that does not mean it is not incredible. The dialogue and character resolution in this comic are intelligent and feature mature themes that are dealt with intensely but sensitively. Cantwell and his artistic collaborators have proven that a 19-issue arc is not only possible, but it can be done effectively and successfully.