Review: Invincible Iron Man Vol.1

With Iron Man’s sudden rise to becoming Marvel’s biggest character, the publisher had to finally give his book the sort of push the character has always deserved.  And so they assembled an all-star creative team (not to mention one that can actually produce on a monthly schedule) with Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca.  Now, two years later we have a huge collection of the first 19 issues, just in time for the sequel to hit theaters.

So, what we have here are the first two storyarcs of the new series, both of which are at least fairly interesting.  First up is the Five Nightmares, in which new baddie Ezekiel Stane (son of classic/movie villain Obadiah) positions himself as the latest anti-Iron Man.  Which is hardly original, but probably something the character needed given that the previous claimants to that honor have all become a bit dated (Mandarin, Titanium Man).  So now we have a terrorism supporting arms dealer to counter the reformed weapons manufacturer.  The character makes a lot of sense on paper, but he feels like he was constructed backwards, being made to fit a mold while not having a lot of substance to support him.  But there is some potential there so I’m looking forward to the next time a writer tries to pull him out as an antagonist.

The second story, World’s Most Wanted is a bit more interesting, and is probably the best of Marvel’s Dark Reign books (in which Spider-Man villain Norman “Green Goblin” Osborne essentially becomes director of homeland security).  The story portrays the lowest ebb in Iron Man’s life, in which his company is in ruins and he is forced to lobotomize himself in order to prevent his knowledge from falling into his enemies hands.  Now the side effect of this is that as Stark’s mind deteriorates he is forced to start using progressively less complicated/older Iron Man suits, turning this story into a tribute to the history of the character.  

It’s also the first time in ages that I’ve seen anyone attempt a year long story in a ongoing title, and I’ll admit in this day the story actually feels a little long because of that.  There are a few b plots that pad the story out a bit longer than it should maybe have been, but they generally served to promote Iron Man’s often ignored supporting cast (especially Pepper Potts), so I welcomed their inclusion.

All in all a decent book, with a lot of very smart ideas for the character, it just has a few mishaps when it comes to the execution.  But I’ll be coming back for the next volume, particularly after the cliffhanger presented here.

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