The current story arc, Stark: Disassembled, goes over how to fix Tony Stark after he turned his brain into mush in the previous World’s Most Wanted arc. This second issue of the five-part story begins the hard work.
Here we begin to see a glimmer hope in rebuilding Tony back to his former self. Help begins to spill out of the woodworks for the vegetable that was once their friend and ally, some probably a bit earlier than expected. The guest appearances remind us of the company Tony used to belong to in slightly better days, before Avengers were broken up and heroes waged war on each other. This story will likely be one of the first rays of light at the end of the tunnel of this Dark Reign.
For a guy in a coma though, Tony is pretty talkative. He provides a lot of narration while describing the process to fix himself. A bit too much actually, unless readers really need a refresher on what Extremis is and Ezekiel Stane’s attacks at the beginning of this title’s run. Some of this could have been cut down and save some narration boxes from cluttering up pages.
While the real world moves on in trying to help or harm the mostly lifeless Tony, his consciousness exists within a dreamworld where he spends his time in a desert with some familiar faces. In terms of writing, these parts are probably the best of the book. Fraction does a good job working a surreal feeling into the dialog. Tony’s compulsion and revealing lines showing his personality make these scenes feel just like a dream.
But the book isn’t all about Tony. Pepper Potts tries to come to terms with some emotional turmoil of her own. She has a reasonable venting of feelings about everything she’s gone through and is going through for her boss. She almost borders on whiney, but it’s understandably so and can’t really be faulted.
The story’s one real misstep isn’t really the fault of the book. Instead it’s the fault of editorial scheduling misalignment and is an example of one of many problems of having such an interconnected universe spanning several different characters’ own titles. In short, it’s ahead of its time. It would have been nice if Captain America: Reborn were a bit further ahead so it could line up a bit better. Don’t worry if you don’t read many other Marvel titles outside this one though. Just for those who do, realize this book is a little ahead of the time line than others.
Larroca has done a great job on this title. He does well showing a lot of detail. It’s always nice in an Iron Man book to see the panel lines and angles and rivets and all the other little intricacies of these technological suits of armor, and this issue is no exception with suits stripped open and in pieces.
Textures are also quite nice, from shiny metal and human flesh to crumpled paper and desert ground. Speaking of which, the backgrounds are quite well done and distinct from each other. The colorful wallpaper and furniture in the inn really feel like a small-town inn. Scenes from a skyscraper at night give a real sense of height and location, looking over a brightly-lit city.
The characters themselves emote pretty well. Eyes shine to look like they’re full of life. There are some goofy looks in this issue though, not the least of which belonging to Captain America.
The coloring and shading are also exceptional in this book. Colors tent to subtly fade into darker shades instead of simply having patches of lighter and darker colors. That’s not to say there isn’t any slip ups though. One panel, it seems colorist Frank D’Armata forgot which Cap has brown eyebrows and which has blond.
Invincible Iron Man is helping to set the stage for the major showdown to come, and it’s doing a good job getting its title character to his place in the event.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10