Tony Stark Iron Man #5
Written By: Dan Slott
Art by: Max Dunbar and Gang Hyuk Lim
Color Artist: Dono Sanchez-Almara
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramangna
“Self Made Man: Part Five” is what the inside of this book claims. However, if you have not picked up a single issue yet you can still easily read this one. Each chapter of this arc has been a one-shot focusing on a different part of the new status quo for Iron Man. In this issue, the title character does not even appear at all.
The story revolves around Arno Stark, Tony Stark’s brother, this time. Arno is a philanthropist himself and dedicates the entire issue helping others around the world. He is seen helping clean the ocean, attaching a new arm on someone, and introducing agriculture to a desert. But, the meat of the story revolves around a cattle farm (pun intended). Arno visits an “ethical meat” farm that produces cattle without brains, and therefore lack feelings. Things are a little off on the farm, as some of these grotesque creatures are acting wildly. Without spoiling anything, everything is self-contained in this book and every thread is tied by the end.
Dan Slott is almost a different writer in each of these issues. He is exploring different themes and genres within a single title. Focusing on Arno was a brilliant move, as it gave an entire issue to catch readers up on who Tony’s brother is really like. It is clear he is going to be a major player in upcoming issues, and now the readers have a reason to care. This issue borrows a lot from the Twilight Zone, or the contemporary example Black Mirror, with having amazingly fun and dark twists and turns throughout. Slott sets up a simple story with many different plot points and every single one has a worthwhile payoff. This is the best issue yet of the series, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
The art did not stand up as well as the story. It was not through the fault of the artists themselves, but how it looked cohesively. Both artists working on this book have widely different styles, which made the book lose its overall throughline. Arno might as well be different characters, as they are drawn so differently, depending on the page you are looking at. The highlight of the art was the cattle ranch and the way the headless cattle were portrayed. They looked absolutely disgusting and really played into the tone of the story perfectly. I loved the way the conclusion to the cattle ranch plot was laid out, and it was a great moment in comic book storytelling. It is just a shame everything couldn’t come together as well as that moment.