“Self-Made Man” Part 3
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Cover Artist: Alexander Lozano
The eScape project has finally been put out by Stark Unlimited and the players are entering the virtual world for a beta test. However, a mysterious enemy against the project is preparing to destroy the virtual world entirely. Who will stop them?
The Virtual Scavenger Hunt
As players, limited to the Stark employees, enter the virtual world of the eScape, Tony Stark issues a challenge: Whoever can hunt and eliminate the most player characters will be given cash rewards and whoever tags Tony himself will get a special bonus. Amanda, Tony’s mother, and Andy hit it off in the eScape until they’re eliminated. They then decide to go out together in the real world. Meanwhile, the primary player in the eScape (from a first-person view) is eliminating all players that she comes across. Outside the eScape, Aaron Stack aka Machine Man is seen at a robot-centric bar where he is given a way to destroy the eScape from the inside. Once Machine Man enters the project, he destroys everything in sight until he encounters The Source-Coder Supreme – Tony Stark disguised as Stephen Strange! Tony is not powerful enough to stop Machine Man so the final beta tester ends the program. I will leave readers to learn who this mysterious tester is! After the events in the eScape, Tony declares the project to be released to the public.
Going in a new direction with the story, readers explore a new world. A virtual world where the environment is mixed and matched and the colors are vibrant. A world where players can be whoever they want and do whatever they want. This departure from the real world, however fantastical, is a nice break from the other parts in this series. The previous conflict introduced in part 2 involving Machine Man is further developed and his defeat may be a resolution to that conflict. If it is explored further, I’m curious to see how far Machine Man will go to destroy the eScape. Amanda and Andy’s relationship is developing further and may become a full-blown romance in the future. The most interesting aspect explored in this issue is the conflict between humans and robots. The robots feel that humans use them as tools instead of giving them equal rights. This is not a plot point that is as well developed as it should be. The major gripe I have with this is that as interesting as it is, it is explored in a shallow and obvious way. The conflict is not earned in my opinion. It is a point built upon from the first issue but it doesn’t feel like it’s developing. Other than Machine Man’s one intrusion, I feel that this aspect could be explored further. Perhaps more will be done with this concept in Part 4 but my one major complaint didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this story nearly as much as the others! Plus, the art style is growing on me especially after this vibrant introduction to the eScape.