Not much to say about this one — it’s the middle of an arc, and while I’m interested in the overarching plot, particularly the Hammer women’s machinations, I won’t be able to truly evaluate it until the conclusion. Unfortunately, Salvador Larroca’s stiff, photoreferenced art has always been this book’s greatest drawback, and coupled with Frank D’Armata’s dark, over-saturated colors, it makes for a bit of a visual mess. (Though at least Tony has a full goatee again — the moustache in the early issues of this series was hideous.) I love Matt Fraction’s writing, and I look forward to seeing his strengths of ingenuity and characterization on display in the future, but in a relatively unexciting issue like this one the bad casts a shadow over the good.
Fraction’s writing, plotting, and character work in this series as a whole keeps me going, even through an issue like this one. I’m really not sure why the plot dragged so much in this issue. Why have them sabotage the car at the end of the last issue, then take an entire issue up without really giving us anything new or important — beyond the knowledge that Tony fired some guy one because he’s a jealous dink — just to get us back to the drones and the imminent arrival of Detroit Steel? Why didn’t the last issue end with the drones blowing the car up instead? I don’t feel like I found out anything important to justify the delay; it was a lot of rehashing of how important Stark Resilient is, and an aside to show us how tortured Detroit Steel’s pilot is (I don’t know who he is, and don’t really care how he feels about anything). But, that said, it would take a lot of issues like this to make me forget everything that came before it. Oh, and I’m really beginning to dislike the art in this book now — all of the characters are verging on Uncanny Valley ugliness. I’ve been spoiled by more books these days having artists with varied and interesting art styles — the more the industry gets away from tracey, photoshoppy art, the better.
Love Tony Stark. Love Pepper Potts. Love Matt Fraction. Love Salvador Larocca. This is basically the best book in any week it comes out and if you don’t agree with me we can’t really be friends.
Apparently, I am far more interested in reading about Iron Man fighting supervillains and saving innocent men, women, children, and small animals than I am in reading about Tony Stark starting a new company. I understand that this is the direction the character needed to go after the events of Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and Siege, but I’m bored. Call me when Iron Man, Rescue, and War Machine have to fight Crimson Dynamo or Titanium Man.
The “Stark Resilient” storyline is a massively ambitious undertaking that explores Tony Stark’s character in a real world context, and showcases Matt Fraction’s strengths as a writer and thinker. At the same time, I’ve gotten to the point of wishing I could just read the scripts for these issues, preferably all at the same time, rather than see the way they’re laid out on the page. In a visual medium, that’s a serious problem. From Salvador Larroca’s indistinguishable faces to the far-too-shiny colors to the prevalence of talking-head pages, it’s almost like Invincible Iron Man has forgotten how to be a comic book. It’s a real shame, because I love Fraction’s ideas and characters, and I want to be able to love this story.
The problem with Iron Man is that for me the quality of his villains never quite match up with him. He works best when in the Avengers, pitted against some of Marvel’s biggest threats. His own foes tend towards either Cold War stereotypes or men in suits in boardrooms. Fraction’s run has brought forward the next generation of Stark enemies, bringing in the children of the men in suits in boardrooms to challenge Stark. The trouble is this just isn’t that compelling either. Fraction’s run was at its best when Tony was up against Norman Osborn, a threat worthy of Iron Man.