We’re jumping back into Tony Stark’s VR World, the eSCAPE with Tony Stark: Iron Man issue #7. Continuing the Stark Realities storyline The Controller is finally making his move against the genius, billionaire, inventor by swarming his pet VR project with all manner of nasty players. As if that wasn’t bad enough it turns out their actions inside the eSCAPE have some real-world consequences, with a little help from The Controller who finally lives up to his name.
(This Review Will Contain Spoilers)
Tony Stark: Iron Man #7 written by Dan Slott with artwork from Valerio Schiti, Edgar Delgado and, Joe Caramagna picks up with The Controller inviting back all of the players who had previously been booted from the eSCAPE. Finally seeing The Controller step up and start taking action after such a long and, at times, tedious build up was really cool. Tony is still battling with the Arsenal Enforcement Program inside the eSCAPE whilst his mother is still out cold inside the VR world from the last issue.
It turns out the Arsenal is none other than Howard Stark, or at least an A.I Construct of Tony’s late adoptive father and Motherboard, the A.I who runs the eSCAPE is Maria, Tony’s adoptive mother. It was bizarre but at the same time really intriguing how Howard and Maria are being used as the A.I’s for the eSCAPE. After a slightly awkward meeting between Maria and Amanda, we cut to Tony outside the VR trying to shut the operation down to stop anyone else from getting hurt. Another great moment when Tony demands his system be taken offline so no one else can be hurt by his technolgy. A nice callback to Tony’s past as a weapons dealer and his change of heart after his capture before he even became Iron Man.
The Controller taunts Stark, but rather than admit defeat Tony simply reveals he’s known about The Controller ever since his battle with Fing Fang Foom in issue #1 and he knows exactly where he is. Suiting up and telling Rhodey and Janet to meet him at The controller’s location Stark is about to leave before asking Friday to leave her own robotic body and act as an A.I for his armor seen as Motherboard is currently unavailable. Friday is hesitant, as she hates being trapped in that metal suit but with no time left Tony makes the decision for her putting Friday back in his Iron Man armor, (which looked like a fairly standard design this issue), one last time. It was pretty interesting seeing Friday’s hesitation to be back in the armor, again another a great job of humanizing a non-human character.
We cut to Jocasta next who is on a hunt for her ex-robotic boyfriend, Aaron who still has his back door entrance to the eSCAPE and she needs it. Begging him to help her and her friends out, (or meatbags as Aaron calls us) she faints or shuts down, Im not too sure which, thanks to an uncharged battery. If Aaron does help, which I think is pretty likely it will be to try and win back Jocasta rather than to redeem himself, which I’m okay with because I enjoyed Aaron as a villain and wouldn’t mind seeing him face off against Tony again in the future.
Tony, Rhodey and Janet, all arrive at The Controllers location to find an entire arsenal of weapons being shipped out worldwide via drones to eSCAPE players. It was really cool seeing the eSCAPE players simultaneously in the VR world and in the real world causing mayhem. A genuinely great cliffhanger which has peaked my interests for issue #8.
Let’s start with the series namesake, Tony Stark himself. This issue did a great job of bringing out his humanity. He puts his VR world behind him to finally focus on the mother he rudely neglected in the last issue. His lack of empathy towards Friday when he needs her in the suit does hint at a darker side to Tony but only when it’s for the greater good. He’s desperately trying to help people and feels an even greater need to fight seen as it’s his tech thats putting them in danger.
The Controller is finally stepping up to be the series main villain, and whilst I still need more from him he is being taken in the right direction. Despite not seeing him fight once we know how deadly he is. He outsmarts Tony Stark, literally beating him at his own game. He is obviously a “behind the scenes” kind of villain, hence the name but now he’s finally stepping into the light I’m enjoying him more and more.
Everyone else plays a pretty small part in the issue, but there a couple of standout moments. I really loved Amanda meeting Howard and Maria, or whatever version of Howard and Maria are in the eSCAPE. Hopefully, they’ll explore that a little more in future issues. I really liked Friday and Jocasta’s small moments here too, and seeing Tony suit up in a fairly classic looking Iron Man armor with Friday as the A.I was really great.
Once again Tony Stark: Iron Man looks great throughout but there’s a couple of moments that really grabbed me. The eSCAPE itself looks brilliant again although we don’t see too much of it here. The final few panels showing the players in the VR and the real world were some of the best in the series so far, and of course Tonys Armor although simple, still looked great.
Tony Stark: Iron Man #7 finally starts to make some moves which the previous 6 issues have been building up to. It chooses to focus on a handful of its characters leading to some being left behind but it properly starts to introduce The Controller as a genuine villain for the series and does some very interesting things with Tonys character. Hopefully, issue #8 can expand on what this issue has introduced and finally do more with The Controller.