Review by Karl Verhoven
It could be Christopher Cantwell didn’t want to publicise his major villain on the cover of Big Iron, but from this volume the series features the subtitle Books of Korvac. Cantwell seems to be treating his Iron Man scripting as a novel, with the main plot drifting in and out while still leaving room for other events.
For the time being, though, it’s the main plot kicking off Overclock as the fallout from the climactic battle (in a launderette!) last time round. Tony Stark is fractured, and it seems he’s surrounded himself with similarly flawed souls as seen on the sample art. They make for an ensemble cast, with the villains, mediocre though they largely are, as important as the heroes. Cantwell tours around them for much of this volume meaning Tony/Iron Man has a lesser role, while he promotes others into the spotlight, especially Hellcat. This time she’s used more as a superhero than a surrogate conscience, but anyone not steeped in Marvel history is going to consider her new power-up arrives very conveniently despite there being a precedent.
Cafu is able to vary the scenery a little more than in Big Iron as the events encompass a space battle, a lost planet and retro sci-fi, and just like before, he makes it all look good. Sometimes he’ll pull in the viewpoint too close during conversations, but every artist has their quirks. While Cafu remains the primary artist Angel Unzueta steps in for a look at Patsy’s past and while he’s good with detail, his people aren’t as polished.
As seen in Big Iron, Korvac has a plan to save the universe, although it’s an utterly deluded, monomaniacal plan that only an artificial intelligence would consider a form of perfection. He doesn’t share the specifics with just anyone. “You’re just a coward with delusions of grandeur” is the response of one potential ally, as Cantwell continues to throw in the lost and redundant of the Marvel universe. They include more villains you thought you’d never see take on Iron Man again and more obscure characters with little enough background that Cantwell can mould them into what he needs.
Two volumes in, and there’s absolutely no predicting where this is heading, but it’s great being along for the ride. The joy continues in Books of Korvac III – Cosmic Iron Man.