This post of The Invincible Iron Man by author Matt Fraction, Illustrations Salvador Larroca compiles the spoiler free reviews and full summaries of issues 1-33.
Issues 1-19 Review
Before Matt Fraction I didn’t like Hawkeye, Iron First, or Iron Man. I still think Iron Man is a jerk but at least he’s an interesting one!
Fraction has a way with these characters. Hawkeye always seemed like a nobody to me, just some bro who’s good with a bow and arrow. Fraction made him sympathetic and an everyday hero to his community.
Iron Fist was just a B lister among billionaire orphans, there are a bunch of them after all, but Fraction made him a leader even I would want to follow.
Iron Man is still all the things Iron Man was before. A billionaire without parental issues, a womanizer, a drunk, and a jerk. But now Fraction has taken away what is most important to him, his intelligence.
Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, does have a super power outside of the suit. He’s incredibly intelligent. He’s an engineer and a great business man who would be successful in any time line.
In this run Norman Osborne is after some information that Stark only keeps locked away in the folds of his own brain. Stark has to make the decision to erase it, which also means damaging his only real super power, possibly for good.
This is what Fraction does well. He finds the right angle to look at characters from. What makes them heroic, what makes them vulnerable.
Iron Man has always been heroic. He can always send a fleet of Iron Men to save the day if he chooses. But him being vulnerable is far more compelling to a reader. There are moments of true heartbreak for this jerk in this run.
Outside of Stark this book has a ton going on. It gets pretty hectic and at times it’s hard to keep up.
Black Widow, Maria Hill, Madam Masque, and various other Marvel players have not insubstantial plot lines to follow all across the world and various agencies.
The biggest issue I have with the characters in this book is that I have no idea what Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts is supposed to be. It plays a huge role in these issues but I kept feeling like I was missing something from past runs that I haven’t read.
It’s something that comes with reading comic books. There are always going to be pieces missing from some line or crossover you skipped. There is just no possible way to read it all.
It’s my least favorite of Fraction’s three biggest marvel runs so far but that bar is really high. It’s still my favorite of any Iron man I’ve read or seen.
4/5 smart guys 👨🎓👨🎓👨🎓👨🎓
The Invincible Iron Man issues 20-33 Review
Well, Stark is still a jerk.
I keep getting told that I’m not supposed to like him. So I guess this book is successful on that front. What I don’t understand is why I’m supposed to keep reading him.
I do not like Tony Stark. I do not like how he treats the people in his life. And I really don’t like how he treats women.
Stark is in a coma and must be dragged back to the conscious side of life. After an unenlightening journey through his psyche we get a plot involving Detroit Steel. They are an opposing technology company that is trying to fill the military robot market.
When Stark awakens from his coma he decides he no longer wants to trade in weaponry. Good move, less evil. But capitalism dictates that someone needs to fill this market gap, that corporation is Detroit Steel.
The book revolves around Stark being a hotshot and continuing to get his way and avoiding conflict regardless of his actual actions.
He uses and manipulates people and never faces any consequences. At this point I think people are only on his side in order to not be against such a callous jerk.
Detroit Steel is a mildly interesting rival company run by a mother/daughter team. They team up with Stane from volume one and by the end also team up with the Mandarin in order to bring Stark down.
Overall the book is fairly action packed and has several worthy cameos. I enjoy a lot of the parts of this run that focus on basically anyone who isn’t Tony Stark.
Pepper Potts is the shining star of this run. She somehow manages to remain patient with Stark and even helps save his life but she is finally ready to become a hero herself. She wants to continue being Rescue and deserves the chance to save people regularly instead of just being Stark’s assistant.
I want much more of her and much less of Iron Man.
I will not be continuing this run. If you already enjoy Iron Man you will probably really like this run. It’s well written and has a bunch of conflict and side plots to keep you busy. It’s just not for me.
I love Matt Fraction but even he can’t make me want to spend any more time with Tony Stark than I have to.
3/5 fast cars 🏎🏎🏎
Issues 1-19 Summary
A lot happens in these 19 issues. A LOT!
I want to preface with that the only other Iron Man books I’ve read were in the Civil War canon. I’m not super familiar with him outside of that and the movies. I know some things about him but it’s been interesting to dive deeper into his character. However, there were a couple of times when I was confused or felt a little left out at mentions to things in his past.
This run starts with a bad guy named Stane. Stane deals in biological weapons and has made an iron man suit that he is supplying to suicide bombers. He figured out how to make the same technology but cheap enough to basically be disposable.
He’s also used the technology to amp up his own biomechanics and give himself ridiculous energy powers. He’s evil, he’s powerful, he’s scary.
He’s selling the suits to the highest bidders with complete disregard to the chaos that he’s causing. In fact, he’s encouraging it, and his main target is Tony Stark, Iron Man.
Before Stark is aware this is going on he’s off in New York doing the billionaire thing. A lot of this run deals with his relationship with Pepper Potts and we see them getting ready together for a big event.
I do not know what their relationship is supposed to be at this point. They have a flirtation but it seems more like inappropriate boss/ subordinate dialogue.
So they’re not really in a relationship but maybe they’re working towards it?
Well shortly after this flirtation Stark insensitively demands Potts provide some other women he’s flirting with some champagne and this enrages her enough to storm out.
Right after she makes it out of the building Stane blows it up.
Potts definitely would have died had Stark not been such a jack-ass. Stark doesn’t die because a gut feeling prompted him to put on the Iron Man suit. His first priority is to find and rescue Potts.
Potts was very injured and the only way to save her was for Stark to hook her up to his biomechanic technology.
She does not like this at first. She likes being alive but she doesn’t want to be a weapon. Stark convinces her that her particular tech is not for a weapon it will only make her stronger and more useful in every way.
She begins to appreciate her new gift and starts to move toward her own superhero mentality.
Stane still wants Stark dead so he puts Iron Man tech on the black market to lure him in as bait. It works and Stane shows up in his own suit to kill the crap out of Iron Man.
Of course, it’s an empty suit. Stark engages a huge electromagnetic pulse to shut down all Stark technologies including his own electronics but mostly to deactivate the suicide bombers worldwide. It succeeds in killing the suicide bombers with no other casualties.
Stane is arrested and Stark sets out to recoup his losses.
So Stark used to run S.H.I.E.L.D. and due to some politics we don’t see in this book S.H.I.E.L.D. is now HAMMER and is now run by Norman Osborn. He’s a bad guy. You may know him as Green Goblin from Spiderman.
Osborn wants access to the superhero database. This is post registration act, he wants the ones who have been still wearing masks.
Stark keeps this database loaded in only one place, his own mind.
Stark tricks SHIELD agent Maria Hill into helping him slowly destroy pieces of his brain to delete the database. She doesn’t like this but she hates working for HAMMER more so she ends up on board.
With Stark busy slipping himself into brain death Potts is the new CEO of the company which is also now slipping into financial ruin. But she also has her own Iron Man suit and is getting some adrenaline rushes by rescuing those in need without using it as a weapon of destruction.
Osborn calls for Stark’s arrest on some pretty serious charges. Stark and Hill are on the run together so naturally they sleep together. Um… seriously, what up with Potts? Stark is kind of a jerk.
Osborne shoots down a plane full of innocent people just to test out Potts’ capabilities, she saves them but then gets arrested for being an unregistered super hero.
Namor goes after the bounty on Stark.
And Hill gets brainwashed by the Controller.
As I said, a lot happens in this book. It’s sometimes overwhelming.
Hill breaks the Controller’s power and finds the drive that she was sent after by Stark. Potts is released because her suit doesn’t have any weapons.
Potts goes to save Stark who is now targeted by Madam Masque.
Hill gets in touch with Black Widow, and not subtly.
Black Widow reluctantly agrees to help Hill with the mission.
Over in Russia Stark and Potts have sex. I hate this, what are they?!
So Stark is rapidly diminishing in brain power and Masque kidnaps and tortures Potts. Apparently Masque and Stark have a history together as well and I am unfamiliar with it. Masque wants him to love her, Potts is jealous.
Stark chooses Potts over Masque so Masque blows the whole place up. Potts’ suit saves them all.
I really need them to define their relationship, too much emotional turmoil going on and I just feel jerked around.
The hardest part about reading comic books is that you always feel like you’re missing something.
Potts disguises herself as Masque to avoid being captured again and joins up with Hill and Black Widow to complete the mission. Stark can no longer pilot advanced suits so he’s downgraded quite a bit, enough to get shot down.
He makes his way to his original suit, the only suit left he can operate with his diminished brain power. Osborne finds him at the suit and beats him half to death.
It’s broadcast live to the world and everyone sees Osborne beat up a near braindead Stark who can’t even fight back.
Osborne puts him in a vegetative state and this arc concludes with him in the hospital completely powerless.
I have some issues with the relationships and the hectic pacing of this book. It made it a little hard to follow at times.
But I like the overall themes and it makes Iron Man more interesting than I’ve seen him before. Iron Man’s power is that he’s ultra intelligent. We can see him lose the suit all day long and that’s never going to be impactful.
To see Stark really struggle by losing his actual super power is what makes this run compelling. Fraction does what he does best by finding the one thing to focus on with a character that makes them have more depth than they ever had been before.
I will continue reading this run and I hope to continue to see some emotional struggles as well as some solid girl power with the trio of Maria Hill, Black Widow, and Pepper Potts.
4/5 smart guys 👨🎓👨🎓👨🎓👨🎓
For more Matt Fraction check out Sex Criminals.
The Invincible Iron Man issues 20-33 Summary
If you somehow made it through volume 1 without thinking that Tony Stark is a jerk then this volume will more than likely get you there. Tony Stark is a jerk. Fans keep saying that he’s supposed to be a jerk. That I’m not supposed to like him. But then why am I reading this?
I don’t typically find joy in reading about unlikable people who never get their comeuppance.
Volume 2 of Fraction’s run of Iron Man starts with Stark in a coma. He’s left instructions on how to reboot his mind and get him up and running again but Pepper Potts has some reservations.
She is holding out for several reasons but not the least of which is that in order to get Stark running again she must have her power core removed. For some reason. Apparently the one that powers her is the only one left? I don’t know, it’s a plot device for conflict with minimal explanation.
Potts finally relents and agrees to sacrifice her own super strength and abilities in order to save the jerk Stark who keeps breaking her heart over and over again.
The present Avengers try to reboot Stark but it doesn’t work so they enlist the help of Dr. Strange and his mystic arts.
While Dr. Strange is attempting to guide Stark back into the waking world Pepper Potts and Maria Hill have an enlightening conversation. They discover that before Stark became comatose he slept with both of them in the span of about 24 hours. Like a jerk. They don’t appreciate this.
Stark makes it out of the subconscious world and has his back up brain drive running his mind. Unfortunately he neglected to upgrade this drive for some time so he is completely clueless as to the last two or so years of current events.
Stark decides that he no longer wants his name to be synonymous with weaponry and he intends to rebuild his company with innovative energy technologies.
Stark may have stepped out of the war picture but there is certainly still a market there. Enter Detroit Steel.
Detroit Steel is the new name in human operated high tech battle robots. The company is run by a Sarah Palin looking woman and her daughter, both presumed to be evil.
Stark is going to visit Tokyo to negotiate with Detroit Steel about their technologies. Before he leaves though, Potts makes it clear that her gift of her power core is not to be left as a selfless act of generosity. She wants her powers back, to be Rescue again.
I cannot blame her one bit for this. She is so unbelievably patient with Stark. It’s her turn to be the hero!
Detroit Steel has be manipulating old Stark patents and Stark ties them to Stane, the villain from volume 1.
So Potts gets some new bio mechanics put in, not sure why those couldn’t have gone to Stark initially but whatever. Then her and Stark attend a fundraising gala together. While attempting to dance with each other they discover that their individual bio mechanics repel each other like opposing magnets.
They have a moment of wanting to kiss but are unable to get close enough together.
And then Stark races out the door with the younger Detroit Steel girl without telling Potts anything. Jerk.
As a reader I was very mad at this point. He has a plan to manipulate her and not to sleep with her but I don’t know that and Potts doesn’t know that!
He goes out with the girl and discovers that she has her own suped up bio tech given to her by Stane.
Everything gets a little out of control since it turns out that Detroit Steel released a mobile game where people fly drones to act in battle. The drones are real and they’re really firing at real locations but the civilians controlling them don’t know that.
Stark is attacked along with many civilians as he reveals his latest technology, a fancy electric car, to new investors.
There are lots of injuries and casualties, including Rescue. Potts might be dying inside her suit.
The volume concludes on a couple of cliff hangers. Detroit Steel and Stane team up with the Mandarin for some evil purposes. And Stark uses his new car to get to Potts just in time.
After he rescues her yet again he proceeds to end the book with a date with some nameless blonde girl.
Why is he like this?!
To be completely honest I’m not going to continue this run. I can’t take this jerk face anymore even if the story is alright.
This book has plenty of action. And there is certainly no shortage of conflict and bad guys. The biggest problem is that one of the bad guys is supposed to be our hero.
If you like Iron Man already I’m sure this run will be great for you. However, at this point, I’m certain that Iron Man is just not for me.
3/5 fast cars 🏎🏎🏎
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