Written by: Matt Fraction
Art by: Salvador Larroca
Matt Fraction is a writer that just sort of snuck up on me. I first noticed him back when the Iron Man film came out because he was starting with Invincible Iron Man. His job was obviously to create a series that fans of the film could jump right into. He did do that with the first story arc but as the series progressed it has worked its way into main continuity without getting bogged down or convoluted. Invincible Iron Man is in fact the best of the Dark Reign tie in books. Also, if you aren’t reading Dark Reign it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of this series. That’s the brilliance that is Matt Fraction.
Tony Star has always been a challenging character to care about in the Marvel universe. He’s a womanizer and often a drunk. He’s also one of the smartest men in the Marvel U and his intentions are always good no matter what the outcome is. By that I’m referring to the whole Civil War debacle. Stark has over the years become a government man which made him even more unlikable and he took the wrong side of the Civil War. The decision shouldn’t have been surprising to long term Marvel readers because this is just how Iron Man is. He’s in big business so he’s used to dealing with government so becoming director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a natural fit. This is why I always enjoyed Iron Man as a part of The Avengers than in his own book.
When Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man started, I kept hearing how great the launch issue was so I finally bit and gave it a read. That was a little over a year ago and now Invincible Iron Man goes to the top of my stack every month when it hits my hold box. This issue continues following Tony’s story of being on the run from Norman Osborne and dealing with something he’s never had to deal with before; not being the smartest man in the room. When Osborne closed down S.H.I.E.L.D. and took over with his own H.A.M.M.E.R. organization, Stark destroyed all of his hard drives in order to keep Osborne from getting all of the hero registration information he had gathered during the Civil War. The only place that information remained was in Stark’s own mind so he has set a path for himself where he is slowly losing his mind in order to keep Osborne from extracting the information from him. So he’s made an ultimate sacrifice in order to save the rest of his comrades. That goes a long way in making him more sympathetic.
In this issue, he is desperately working to dumb down his Iron Man suit in order to be able to use it once his intellect is further gone. He still wants to be able to fight but if he can’t get the suit simplified quick enough he won’t be smart enough to put it on let alone fire a boot jet. At the same time, Pepper Potts and Agent Hill continue on paths set for them by Tony before the degradation of his mind started.
This issue features everything that Fraction does best, human drama, dialogue, and suspense. As great as Star is here, this episode belongs to the women in Tony’s life. The high points come when Pepper faces off against Norman Osborne and when Agent Hill faces her own mortality. I am riveted by this story. Will Tony regain his intellect somehow or will this be a paradigm shift for the character? The obvious answer will be that Reed Richards will help Tony recover his lost mind after Dark Reign is over but this is Matt Fraction so who knows what will happen.
The artwork is a mixed bag for me. There are some nice clean lines making even the smaller panels easy to follow. On the other hand some of the panels are easier to follow because there isn’t much location and background detail. Many of the panels simply feature a color for a background and that’s it. Happily a lot of the “shiny skin” that has been a part of this series is toned back this week. Shiny armor looks fantastic here but shiny cheeks don’t look so great. Overall, the art is good but not the best you’ll find from the Marvel U.
There’s not much to say about this issue other than it continues a strong and addictive story arc that’s one of the best that Marvel has to offer.
Overall (Not an Average) 8.5/10
The Issue 9/10
The Art 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8.5/10