Review by Karl Verhoven
Spoilers in review
Sometimes all you want from a superhero comic is slambang action, and that’s what Christopher Cantwell supplies over the first two chapters of Cosmic Iron Man, which acts as a prelude to the title story. Continuing directly from Overclock, Iron Man and his allies are attempting to prevent Korvac and assorted villains from acquiring the means of powering up Korvac to to god-like status. This occurs in Galactus’ spacecraft (with the planet-devourer absent) providing a backdrop of scale and wonder duly provided by artists Angel Unzueta on the first chapter and Cafu (sample art left) on the second.
Moving into spoiler territory, Korvac gets what he wants, and the only way Iron Man can see of dealing with the situation is to acquire the same powers, hence the title. “Despite everything, all my gifts, all my abilities, all my efforts, I’m not enough”, he muses, “I never was. So I make a choice and now I am something… more”. What follows is a tour through the insecurities revealed in that line showing Tony Stark’s loneliness as a youngster, and constant striving to build character and resilience in addition to technological wonders is the psychological basis for what follows. The difference between him and Korvac is that they both have visions for changing the world, but only one of them can take on board that they may be misguided. At least acquiring cosmic power (or The Power Cosmic as it is here) offers the means to deal with what have become increasingly improbable injuries.
The extremely talented Ibraim Roberson (sample art right) illustrates the ensuing cosmic battle in style, followed by the not as accomplished Julius Ohta drawing events back on Earth. Previous artistic mainstay Cafu doesn’t draw nearly as much here, and Unzueta will take Iron Man forward into Source Control, while the always reliable Lan Medina also contributes a chapter here. With some reservations about Ohta, whose pages improve throughout, the art is all several levels above good, but why can’t it be arranged for a single artist to draw an entire story?
Cantwell has proved extremely good at employing the forgotten of the Marvel universe as villains and supporting cast, and that continues here. Strangely, when a couple of big guns turn up they’re under-used and contribute little. Stark’s big idea is a big idea, well played out with numerous funny single pages showing the consequences. This finishes the Korvac story, and does so extremely thoughtfully by making a strength of humanity’s fallibilities. It’s a downbeat ending rather than fireworks, so possibly not to all tastes, but smart and different.
Smart and different seems to have been a mantra of Cantwell’s and this is another very pleasing Iron Man outing.