Writer: Dan Slott and Jim Zub / Artist: Valerio Schiti / Marvel Comics
We’re ten issues deep into the ‘Stark Realities’ arc people. Slott is cooking up what I can only summarize as a psychological techno-opera with more depth than any Iron Man title should have. I haven’t been this invested in Tony Stark, like outside of the suit Tony Stark, since the Extremis and Stark Resilient books.
Tony Stark: Iron Man #10 is holding Tony’s psyche hostage behind a one-way mirror and giving the reader popcorn, a beverage, and unprecedented access to the show! Nine out of ten times we see Tony respond to a crisis using the different facets of his life – now each and every one of those parts of him is under attack. At the same time. With no signs of letting up. Writers Dan Slott and Jim Zub have Tony and anyone on his side exposed in issue #10. The way the Stark entourage getting dissected in broad daylight got me wondering if Marvel hit up Wendy Williams to consult.
In the eScape the Motherboard OS is raising hell in the form of Maria Stark. Amanda keeps trying to smack drinks out of Tony’s hand while Howard Stark keeps topping him off. IRL (‘in real life’) Basil aka The Controller is giving these hands to The Wasp, Exo-Squad Rhodey, and the Bain company’s private army. Aaron Stack aka Machine Man is reluctantly pushing past his HK droid politics (KOTOR reference!) to help team Iron Man get the win.
On the periphery of all this, way deep in the cut, is a call back to issue #5.
Valerio Schiti and the art team have kept up a frenetic visual aesthetic from jump. They’ve managed to give each of Tony’s worlds an individualized look while maintaining a cohesive visual narrative. You know where you are before the story tells you and it makes the whole thing move quickly. The look of TS:IM is something to behold for its’ consistency alone. The 60s comic art theme in the eScape is a dope example of the attention to detail. I found a few panels that are mirrored across pages! Them panels is popping y’all. The arrangement of the panels sits right in line with all of the other intentional pieces of the visual narrative. Splash pages never looked so good while fitting in so well.
I had my doubts at first, but I’m fully on board at this point. Dan Slott’s run on Tony Stark: Iron Man is a beacon of hope for Marvel’s literary universe in a post-MCU world. TS:IM stands as a great example of a writer developing a strong narrative outside of the hullabaloo and spectacle of a characters’ popularity. Is this run going to garner a Nebula or Eisner award? I can’t say for sure, but I can place this arc (so far) with Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Intergalactic Empire’ Black Panther; devising great character development in spite of global mainstream influence. They could have played it safe, instead, we are getting a solid and honest modernization of everyone’s favorite futurist. Hats off to the creative team on Tony Stark: Iron Man.
7.5 costume changes out of 10
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