Another very enjoyable issue of Iron Man, and one that’s made even better by the departure of Greg Land. I’m no Land hater, I actually kind of like him, and I’m looking forward to Mighty Avengers, but Pagulayan is just a massive upgrade, and for an issue like this, that really ups the action quotient, an artist like him is much preferable to Land’s more static stylings.
The stakes here continue to be incredibly high, as the Godkiller is hurtling towards Earth and Tony has no way to stop it because 451’s epic plans have failed and he can’t actually control it. I love how Gillen has subverted things here, he goes into all this detail and retcons all of this stuff we thought we knew about Tony Stark to make it so he was bred specifically for a special destiny, only it doesn’t work. So much for millennia-long plans. Too often in comics (cough, Hickman, cough), people have these grand schemes that work like clockwork, and it’s so much fun to see a villain just fuck up. And man, 451’s reaction to that fuck-up is amazing.
But before that, there’s the matter of he and Iron Man finally getting into a fight, as Tony tools up a load more armours to team-up with. I’m pretty sure these are all of the various speciality armours he used in the first arc of this series, which is a great call-back. At the time, those one-off stories felt odd, but now they are back with a purpose, although that purpose is to be blown up. I loved this action scene between the various Iron Man armours and 451 and his… I don’t know what they are, psychic clones? Like Tony says, after all of this mind-bending, epically-sized cosmic craziness, it was good to have something simple like a punch-fest.
In the end, Iron Man defeats 451, and convinces him to steer the Godkiller away from the Earth (yay!), but man, 451’s reaction to his failure is disturbing, it’s rare to see a villain so totally defeated, so ruined. It was shocking, Gillen once again surprises me with where he’s willing to go.
Of course, Iron Man’s troubles aren’t over yet, as 451, in his insanity, needs to get rid of the Godkiller, but he can’t destroy it, so he needs to ‘fold it outside of reality’, which is… pretty crazy. Once again, this book is going somewhere different, I can’t wait for what’s next.