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Iron Man #18: Review

Mar 2022
Christopher Cantwell, Lan Medina

Story Name:

Hello, darkness, my old friend

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man #18 Review by (April 1, 2022)
The title is of course the opening line of The Sound Of Silence.

We met Isaac Stark in the Old West in a Rawhide Kid story in the 1996 Marvel Holiday Special. I believe he wasn't identified there specifically as Tony's great-great-grandfather.

To accommodate the Marvel sliding timescale the Patsy Walker comics (in the 40's to 60's) are deemed to have been written by her mother. Initially they were described as a fictional perfect version of her life. But as the time gap got wider it must imply that she was named *after* the fictional character. And even that must be straining credulity now.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man #18 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark gained the Power Cosmic in order to defeat the similarly-enhanced Korvac. Then a bunch of cosmic entities led by the Living Tribunal took the defeated Korvac away to keep him from causing further trouble. Cosmic Iron Man returned to Earth determined to perfect the universe. He started by giving everyone in New York the equivalent of his own engineering genius (Reed Richards complained that he'd been dumbed down). Chaos ensued when everyone started created weird and wonderful gadgets. Tony's gang of 'Space Friends' led by Hellcat contacted Dr Doom and Silver Surfer to stop him before he went too far. Angered by their betrayal the Iron God killed them all last issue except for Patsy Walker who made him realise what he'd done.

Now Tony takes the 2 of them in his mind back to the fields which his great-great-grandfather Isaac Stark harvested and invented a machine to make his work easier. He tells Patsy he can bring the others back to life and wipe their memories of their deaths. He complains that he always only wants to make things better but his friends keep opposing him (such as Captain America several times). Patsy gets him to admit that he's really trying to get past his father's judgement that he was worthless if he wasn't the best.

Patsy comments that *her* mother always judged her against the perfect version in the comics she wrote. So she married a demon (Daimon Hellstrom in Defenders #125). Tony counters that she became a hero (Hellcat in Avengers #144), and Patsy says she still doesn't really know why she did that.

Tony launches into a radical reinterpretation of the Jekyll And Hyde story, as we see images from his own life. Dr Jekyll was good but flawed, as are we all. He invents a potion to get rid of his vices so he can be perfect (as he becomes Iron Man). But his 'evil' side doesn't go away. Now the narration ceases to fit Jekyll And Hyde as it describes how 'Jekyll' still has his flaws and continues to make mistakes which harm his friends. He tries drinking more of the potion (Tony's alcoholism) but it makes things worse. And his mistakes get bigger, culminating in last issue.

Patsy tells him to resurrect his friends and Doom and Surfer. But she advises him to let them remember, so that *he* won't be able to forget. They return to the real world and he works his magic (presumably de-geniusing New York as well). He apologises to them all and then relinquishes the Power Cosmic. Patsy jokingly chides him for not mending her wrecked courtyard 1st, and he promises to repair it personally.

Then he goes for a night-time walk in Central Park alone. And he gets mugged but he just lets the mugger have his wallet. And then he collapses from morphine withdrawal (he got addicted when his armour was keeping him going despite serious injuries in #10-14).

At this low point Korvac reappears. He claims to have 'decimated' Living Tribunal and In-Betweener (and other cosmic entities?) and now he's here to implement his plan to bring about universal harmony. But he's now decided the best way to do it is to just destroy everything, starting with Stark. And then he realises Tony isn't in a state to realise what's going to happen to him, which would ruin Korvac's revenge.

Lan Medina
Lan Medina
Frank D'Armata
Alex Ross (Cover Penciler)
Alex Ross (Cover Inker)
Alex Ross (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)

(Isaac Christians)

(Patsy Walker)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Frog-Man, Halcyon, Korvac.

> Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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