Kieron Gillen, Greg Land and Jay Leisten’s “Iron Man” #6 was a clever opening chapter of “The Godkiller,” with a vacationing Tony Stark getting arrested by aliens for destroying their god — namely, the Phoenix. “Iron Man” #7 is the middle chapter of this three-parter, and while it’s not bad, some of the punch has been lost as the creators use this chapter to unload a lot of exposition.
Part of “Iron Man” #7 seems to be focused around introducing a brand-new character, presumably an addition to the supporting cast of the title. Recorder 451 serves up its backstory even as it also is used as a plot device to try and help Tony Stark out of his death sentence. It’s not a bad idea, but it feels extremely sudden and out-of-the-blue. In the space of a few pages, 451’s been introduced, given a history and offers up solutions. It’s so sudden that it’s hard to take in on such short notice, and the increased focus on this new creation so quickly doesn’t feel as smoothly integrated into the narrative as it otherwise could be.
On the plus side, Gillen has the film-inspired smooth talking nature of Tony Stark down pat; he practically drips charisma as he puts on the charm even when fighting for his life. It’s in many ways the high point of the issue, because Gillen’s managed to make Tony Stark mesmerizing in the same way that Robert Downey Jr. does in the movies. You want to like him, and it’s that twinkle in his eye as he talks to you that makes him a hero that you’ll cheer on. In lots of pages of exposition, this trait is crucial.
Land’s pencils look just like you’ll expect. They’re slick and also heavily photo referenced, with both the strengths and weaknesses that such a technique brings with them. Occasionally it means that it feels like there are two Tony Starks (ones with slightly different facial features and expressions), which is frustrating. But there’s also no denying that Land and Leisten create some attractive looking pages. I think this is definitely one of their better looking issues to date, and they bring the spectacle and pomp of the Voldi Tear to life quite nicely. I’d love to see Land get away from the photo-references one of these days, though; I feel like he and Leisten could do just fine without them.
Gillen and Land wrap up “Iron Man” #7 with a fun moment that both digs up a character from mothballs and also ups the ante a great deal for the conclusion. It’s a cliffhanger that works quite well, and it’s the little boost of energy that the comic needed after getting a little tired in the middle. All in all, not bad.