Writer: Dana Schwartz
Artists: Jacen Burrows, Scott Hanna (finisher, pgs. 17, 19-20)
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Paco Medina, Jesus Aburtov
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

Pepper Potts is one of those characters who has always been a prominent figure within the Iron Man family but has never been given a major spotlight role. Even as one of the very first characters to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow), this status hasn’t changed much. Aside from a Rescue one-shot in 2010, Pepper hasn’t gotten the same MCU bump that most of her contemporaries have. That changes in this week’s Rescue 2020 #1, as the titular heroine finally gets her own series.

Granted, Rescue 2020 is a two-issue spinoff of the current Iron Man 2020 event, but it’s still an encouraging sign that Marvel might have substantial plans for her moving forward. Set after the third issue of its parent title, which ended with [SPOILER ALERT] the artificial Tony Stark being killed by (the real) Tony’s brother Arno, Pepper embarks on a mission to retrieve Tony’s biological mother before the AI uprising can steal her first. Naturally, things get complicated fast. This series also introduces the blue/purple/gold Rescue armor first seen in Avengers: Endgame last year, which I happen to think looks real nifty and sleek. I was never a fan of the red/silver color scheme of the original Rescue armor, so I appreciate them bringing this filmic version of the design to the page. 

I like what writer Dana Schwartz (currently working as a staffer on the upcoming She-Hulk series for Disney+) does with Pepper’s character here. She frames the goal at hand — preserving Tony’s biological legacy — as being at odds with her ability to be a gifted scientist just as incredible as him, if not better. It’s a common issue that women face in various industries today, and Pepper isn’t a bad character to use as a conduit for that story. I could very easily picture a continuation of this story leading into another, longer series.

I’m less hot on the art here, drawn primarily by Jacen Burrows and colored by Pete Pantazis. I’ve come across Burrows’s work in the past and liked it, but I’m not a huge fan of how it looks with Pantazis’s colors. Burrows’s thick lines combined with Pantazis’s heavy, blotchy colors and shading give an overall effect of muddiness, which doesn’t suit the character especially well. Flatter, cleaner coloring might have complimented Burrows’s linework better.

Rescue #1

3.99
6.8

Premise

7.0/10

Execution

7.0/10

Script

7.0/10

Art

6.0/10

Pros

  • Strong handle on Pepper's character.
  • Timely subject matter that suits Pepper's character.

Cons

  • Art team doesn't combine especially well together.
  • Ends abruptly; might have worked better as an oversized one-shot than a two-issue series.
Nico Sprezzatura
nicofrankwriter@gmail.com
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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