The robots are on the run in Iron Man 2020 #4, and Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Pete Woods, Celeste Woods, and VC’s Joe Caramanga deliver an incredible issue full of both visual wonder and plot development. After the events of the previous issue, Arno Stark has removed the most significant threat on his quest to eliminate all the rebellious robots in the world. What events could be happening behind the scenes to throw a wrench in his plans?
Arno Stark seems like he is on the precipice of absolute victory. Sadly, he’s about to have some setbacks thanks to his cloned parents and his comatose brother, Mark-1.
Arno keeps having villain moments without officially wearing a sign reading, “I am the new Doctor Doom.” This time around, his callus nature is put on full display by how he interacts with his parents and how he treats Sunset Bain. Sure the first issue of this series established he has an alien threat he needs to defeat, but he could accomplish this without treating everyone around him like crap. It’s painfully obvious at this point we were never even remotely supposed to consider Arno as a permanent replacement to Iron Man.
Meanwhile, after the devasting blow he suffered in the previous issue, Mark-1 becomes comatose and gets lost in his memories. This is a classic staple with Iron Man comics, where Tony finds himself injured, has flashbacks, and allows for the character to reflect on what makes him a hero. Slott and Gage take the time to help Mark-1 get over the issues which have plagued him since the 2020 event began with the help of a friend. All of it leads up to a final page, which has to be seen to appreciate.
The most appealing thing about Woods’ art in this issue is how it’s used to showcase the dive into Tony Stark’s Mark 1’s mind. Moments of his life through fragment, including him donning the armor and the Avengers assembling for the first time, are easily recognizable thanks to his art. Again, the final page can’t be undersold, and the art helps to bring it all together.
The colorwork by Woods adds to the fantastic elements and effect as they dive into Mark 1’s subconscious. Through the right use of colors, the reader can feel themselves being drawn into the depths of Mark 1’s journey. It also helps to sell the ominous nature of Arno Stark’s Iron Legion, an army of remote-controlled robot killing machines (but he’s totally not evil or anything).
The lettering by Caramanga helps to push the soundtrack and direction of the comic. From panel to panel, carefully placed fonts and styles give the story a sense of sound. This is especially true as when different versions of Tony Stark from throughout start to chime in and the speech bubbles imply one of them is when Tony was struggling with his alcoholism.
The power of a good comic can put a smile on your face and make you remember hope springs eternal. Is Iron Man 2020 #4 a perfect issue? No, but it offers a feeling of positivity, which is a win in itself. With all the chaos happening in the world today, everyone could stand to have a few more victories.