Tony Stark Iron Man #8
Written By: Dan Slott
Art by: Valerio Schiti
Color Artist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
The last issue left off with everyone in the eScape being taken over directly by The Controller. People are moving around with virtual reality headsets on their face and are killing and attacking real people, believing they are part of the game. Iron Man and his team are trying to find a way to sever The Controllers connection to the eScape and save the lives of those trapped inside. Simply removing the headsets would lead to massive brain damage and possible death.
The stakes are raised here as The Controller gains the upper hand. In this issue nothing goes right for any of the protagonists. Tony’s biological mother is still trapped in a reality that features Tony’s parents, the general public is still causing chaos on the streets while thinking they are playing a game in the eScape, and The Controller is gaining strength through every mind he connects with. Giving some more weight to the overall threats a new wrinkle is added to the mystery surrounding who is really in control of the eScape. In this comic it seems that The Controller is just another pawn in a larger plot to overthrow Tony Stark and his company, and we get hints that something more nefarious is afoot.
Dan Slott is now scripting solo again (previously he was joined by Jeremy Whitley). Slott is a master storyteller and is able to carry the torch of this title without a hiccup. Much like he did with Spider-Man he is building a larger universe of a diverse cast of characters. The pay off here is that now that a larger arc and threat is facing Iron Man, there are a lot more moving pieces to deal with. Since we were given multiple issues to introduce and care about each facet individually, having a comics where everything moves forward is incredibly rewarding. Every character just feels alive on the page and with their own unique voices. Iron Man may be a pop culture icon today, but he rogues gallery is still fairly obscure. Thankfully, The Controller is built up in this comic and explained perfectly without having to backtrack or stop the action for large exposition dumps. I have had no encounters with that villain before but no fully understand and appreciate who he is. Tony Stark is not ignored here as he faces some personal demons himself at the end of this issue (pretty clear from the cover of this title). I am absolutely entranced by the bigger mystery at play here and Slott has made Iron Man a must read title for me.
I have praised Valerio Schiti’s art in previous issues. He is able to blend styles to show the mixed reality at play here. Somehow he has topped himself in this issue. There are some great moments where he uses the mixed artistic styles to really hammer home some broaders themes found in the character developments and storytelling. He is a chameleon that can adapt to any challenge that is thrown at him with ease. There are very few artists that can handle jumping from style to style from page to page (and sometimes mixed within a single panel) and still make the book look and feel cohesive. This book is as much fun to look at as it is to read.