Iron Man 2020 #2 Review

by Charles Martin on February 12, 2020

Iron Man 2020 #2 Review
Writers: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Artist/Colourist: Pete Woods
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This issue is split into two parts. The first act shows off the Robot Revolution's recruitment process and delivers a slice of comic relief while doing so. 

The balance of the issue involves the Revolution catching wind of Arno's instant-win plan and concocting an Ocean's-Eleven-type caper to stop him.

In its comedic robot-rescuing work, the first act offers up a bit of dialogue that I think serves as a gut check for this event:

"I'm H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot with sass who kicks fleshy ass. Come with me if you want to live!"

If reading that sent your eyeballs rolling with an audible click, this probably isn't the series for you.

Even though my previous reactions to Dan Slott's Iron Man have been lukewarm, to my surprise, I didn't hear any clickety-click from my own eyes, not even after that excruciating Terminator quote.

I was enthusiastic about the previous issue because it felt like the action-movie pace and the action-movie philosophy were finally in sync. But in #2, it's an actual moment of depth that wins my affection.

Arno plans to forcibly write a new, obedient operating system onto every AI he can reach through the internet (which is, reasonably, almost all of them). And the effects of the slave-OS are modelled in a chilling bit of pirated video that shows Jocasta running it.

She is polite. She is obliging. She is happy to execute humiliating orders. She obsequiously thanks Arno for asking how she feels. 

Did I already use the word "chilling"? Because that scene is frostier than a Siberian refrigerator, and I love it.

Artist Pete Woods massages scrupulous techno-detail into every panel of a busy and far-reaching story. The finish on the linework gets occasionally rough, but the masterful modelling of robots, human faces, and high-tech settings always shine through.

The colour work enhances the lines and curtails any overall accusation of sloppiness. It puts a lot of nuance into a cell-shaded style to enhance the three-dimensional depth of the characters. And once again, the colours play some noteworthy, subtle tricks to portray realistic lighting effects and anchor the characters in the settings.

It's easy to give this issue's art a solid thumbs-up. It's top-shelf material all the way. The script is the trickier beast to wrangle. Besides the corniness of much (but not all) of the humour, the dialogue sometimes resorts to cliché. 

But in addition to that heartbreaker of a Jocasta scene, it has an excellent, fast-paced plot and it does a great job blending planning with execution when it comes to the big heist. It shines plenty of light on the Stark brothers, particularly Tony/Mark One. 

And I should, of course, keep in mind that humour is the most subjective part of personal taste. There are lots of readers who will whole-heartedly embrace the cornier jokes.

Iron Man 2020 #2 flies an interesting mix of flags. The corny comedy banner is flying high, but so too are the flags of a thrilling "heist" plot and moving character development. Package it all with another serving of excellent art and you have a messy but vibrant story that's well worth following -- whether or not you find it funny to have H.E.R.B.I.E. cuss like a gangster.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
This issue gives more spotlight to Quasimodo than he's had in nearly forever.