Last issue of Iron Patriot was a little depressing; not because of what happened in the story but because the comic showed so much promise with the first issue and then dipped in quality slightly with the second.
Sometimes second issues dip a little after the excitement of the first issue wears off, so I wasn’t too worried. I didn’t expect everything to fall so hard like it did with the third issue. Hopefully, things can only look up from here with the release of the fourth. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and find out: is it good?
Iron Patriot #4 (Marvel Comics)
James Rhodes is stuck within the clutches of his enemy, a rouge S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with his own power suit. Rhodes is stuck and under lockdown in the Iron Patriot armor as his foe forces him to join in killing the former president for political reasons. Meanwhile, Lila Rhodes tries to figure out what to do now that she has escaped from captivity.
It’s hard to believe you when you are using my own suit to crush me sir.
Now this is thankfully a step up from the last issue. Things were actually happening in the issue for one thing, with it actually feeling like we are reaching the end of the arc/mini-series here. The family angle is much stronger, with Rhodey’s family playing a large part in helping him out and also getting out of trouble themselves instead of them needing to be rescued. Not much in the way of interaction between them mind you, but it’s a step up. There was nothing that seemed dumb or stupid in the plot or done by the characters and the ending is a pretty good instead of feeling flat and abrupt. This is so much better…
…and yet it still has problems that hold it back. This story is about James Rhodes (hence Iron Patriot) and his family, but the story has been really lacking in terms of James himself actually contributing much to the story. In the past two issues, he has really done nothing outside of being held captive by the villains and getting his ass handed to him. He’s really won no battle, he’s only affected the plot by just merely introducing the Iron Patriot concept to everyone, and the only reason he is still alive is because the villain doesn’t want him dead. He feels so underused and that honestly hurts this story a bit. The villains are not very interesting or compelling at all, being generic evil politicians to military extremists with their own messed up agenda that doesn’t really make sense and wasn’t even explained all that well. Also, although not as a big of a problem, there’s an issue with a minor story bit. Last issue, Lila was shot in the thigh, or at best grazed to the point where she is bleeding. This issue it does not even seem to affect her on any level through the story, acting like it never happened (shouldn’t she be woozy from blood loss or something?). It’s not like she’s a superhero or anything that can shrug it off.
So what is your plan anyways?
The artwork is solid to a certain degree. The layouts are fine, but average outside of one or two action scenes. The coloring and inking look decent, the story flows well from page to page, and the power armors are all well depicted and drawn throughout. The issue goes back to the characters themselves looking rather off and less detailed at points, or over detailed and ugly looking in close upshots. The previous issues were better about this, but the quality in that department dipped sadly.
Is It Good?
Iron Patriot #4 is a thankful step in the right direction after taking a big misstep last issue. The writing feels much better here, it’s more engaging, does better with the family angle, and there a couple of great moments. It still has problems with underutilizing the main character, and the villains are pretty weak. Overall though, the comic has restored confidence in me that it can at least deliver on a decent ending next time. Let’s stay tuned for the coming finale.