Like the first issue, the beginning of I Am Iron Man: Issue 2 hits the ground running. In this story, our hero in iron gives his all to save a village in Norway from certain destruction. He succeeds, but only to then find himself lying at the bottom of the ocean. Soon, he comes face to face with a gigantic, yet friendly sea creature. We later learn that this creature was once an ordinary sardine, having undergone a magical transformation, brought on by a piece of the meteorite that Stark was able to destroy (don’t ask).
Our overgrown friend takes Tony on a journey to find the meteorite. When they approach a school of sardines, our creature struggles with nostalgia for his former life. As they are passing, the fish shout “FLEE” in unison and rush away.
The sardine is not the only fish to have been transformed. We later see that he, in spite of his metamorphosis, succumbs to mother nature, and he too is lured in by a larger monster.
Tony, not wanting to stand by, interferes and attempts to save the day once more. After observing that his attacks are not powerful enough to vanquish this foe, Tony takes a different approach. Our hero begins to recite each and every digit of Pi until the monster swims away, frustrated, after a couple of hundred digits.
Unfortunately, his efforts leave him without much power left to survive, and the sardine leaves him with a word of advice on standing up to mother nature, as we watch our hero seemingly succumb to his exhaustion.
Despite the story sticking to just one timeline, this plot feels far more rushed than its predecessor, which contained three. Pacing in this issue is inconsistent, and doesn’t take advantage of the additional time and the unique setting.
While not as action packed, the artistry is maintained in the panel-to-panel draw that keeps the reader engaged. Since the story in this issue is lacking, the appeal of the art proved to be a necessity. Perhaps it's unfair to expect consistent action, when there are many ways to tell a story. However, an issue cannot survive on art alone.
When dramatic effects disappoint, you find yourself hoping at least for fun explosions, and action content typical of Iron Man. Instead, this issue is a somewhat mundane, Finding Nemo-type tale, with a beautifully dark backdrop.
The biggest “critique” that can be made is that the intended message seems to fall flat. We’re told on the last page that this issue is dedicated to those whose “bodies have failed them.” While it is always admirable to encourage those struggling with physical afflictions, the story seemed to miss the mark.
For example, Tony’s failures aren’t due to mother nature, but rather by being attacked by Wong-Chu (you’re welcome comic book nerds). Respect is surely due to the idea of creating your own destiny and not letting things outside of your control hold you back. However, the idea is not well presented due to the lackluster writing.
Overall, this issue is a step backwards for the series. The comic proves a fun read for fans of Tony Stark, but it is unlikely it will be read repeatedly, or by those who are not an invested fan of his.