The previous issue of Invincible Iron Man, in which Tony Stark fell off the wagon and into an Asgardian dwarf’s quasi-magical workshop, was as strong an outing as this Fraction/Larroca book has seen in a while. Writing about an alcoholic’s relapse without falling into cliche is tricky, and moving the action to a magical/absurd context helped this audacious character beat feel fresh. Issue 507, unfortunately, is too more-of-the-same, and it turns out a little bit of carousing-with-dwarfs goes a long way. Otherwise, this is a serviceable event tie-in, Fraction’s character work is typically strong, and the Pepper Potts/Sasha Hammer mecha fight is good fun. Still, the issue doesn’t advance the story much, and the resolutely boring artwork of penciller Larroca and colorist Frank D’Armata does Fraction’s script no favors.
Back from Paris and now in Asgard designing weapons, as seen in Fear Itself, Tony Stark shares the focus of this issue with Pepper Potts who has headed back into the city that Tony has fled, meeting up with Sasha Hammer and a team of Hammer Industries armored soldiers. At this point I’m starting to get Fear Itself fatigue, and it would have been nice to see the characters in some other context than moving at the edges of the big event.
I consistently love Iron Man, and think that the character work being done with Tony in Asgard is compelling, but the book feels uneven with its switching back and forth between Asgard and Earth. And there are more dwarves, too. All told, though, your mileage on this book is going to be directly related to your attitude on the loss of Tony’s sobriety. As a result, this is going to be a divisive one.