In the course of four issues, Tony Stark: Iron Man has shown us a Marvel Universe unlike what we’ve seen before- a technological utopia that’s better for the existence of Tony Stark, Reed Richards and Hank Pym. But there’s been a dark undertone that Tony Stark: Iron Man #4 fully reveals, asking an important question- is the Marvel Universe a utopia, or dystopia?
Dan Slott, Valero Schitti, Edgar Delgado and Joe Caramagna’s run so far has been all about how the Marvel Universe is different from our own world. Generally speaking, it’s been portrayed as a good thing, with a few complications. This issue though shows us how it can be, with a high tech version of gaslighting and catfishing.
Sunset Bain has launch Make-A-Match, a highly intelligent free dating app. Everyone in Stark Unlimited is using it to great success, except Tony himself. Tony’s attentions are turned to a former teammate- Janet Van Dyne. The Wasp and Iron Man experience a whirlwind of emotion, as Bethany Cabe correctly realizes that there’s something fishy about all the new significant others…
Slott has been packing these issues of Iron Man full of story. Here, he does two things extremely well. First, he introduces a new threat, increases the stakes, and amps it up to a huge problem. It’s a full storyarc in just a single issue, and it works without feeling rushed.
He does the same with Tony’s romance with Jan. While I wasn’t sold to the idea, I was open to it. Here Slott shows us a romance blooming between two longtime friends, and sells the flirtation to attraction to romance arc of it. By the end of the issue, I was happy to see them together, and invested in this new relationship.
Schitti and Delgado have a lot of fun here. Often I feel like Slott asks Schitti what he wants to do within a story, and he accommodates that. I know that sounds weird to say, but how else would you explain a Vespa-style scooter turning into an Iron Man armor, complete with lightsabers emerging from the handlebars. Yes, that’s 100% what happens.
Beyond that, they give us some great action sequences. It’s fun, and chaotic, but stays clear and accessible. Delgado also casts it all in bright colors, but plays with the effects that come with the tech.
This series continues to be a science fiction dream, and it’s rapidly transforming into a terrible nightmare for Tony Stark. But at least it’s an entertaining nightmare for we readers.
Tony Stark: Iron Man #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.