With only two issues left on his lengthy run with Tony Stark on The Invincible Iron Man, writer Matt Fraction is dishing out the hurt in healthy portions. One thing that you have to respect about Fraction–is that, he rarely seems hurried. This arc in particular has been a slowly rising crescendo, with each issue taking the story a little farther and building more suspense. His entire run has been like this as well. It’s a trade-off. There are some issues where it seems like nothing is happening, but at times like this, the issue is excitement from start to finish.
Like the AC/DC song, this issue starts with a jaaaaaaaaaaailbreak! Stark, and several of his rogues, also under the control of the Mandarin, don Stark designed suits and wreak havoc. The resulting action is intense and immensely satisfying. Fraction imbues enough humor into the dialogue to ensure the tone stays just shy of glum, but also adds in enough realism for us to know the circumstances are dire.
Mandarin is one evil dude. Fraction does such a great job with this character that I’m scared for the upcoming film Iron Man 3. Mandarin is a villain to be feared, and is more than a match for Stark, which makes the clash between the hero and villain, all the more entertaining.
Artist Salvador Larroca tackles this beastly script with the careful mastery that can only be achieved after collaborating with a writer for quite a while. Larroca neither over-sells the book, nor under delivers in his visuals. Instead, he lets the wonderful script, and his stunning art, take us for a ride. This is the best issue we’ve seen from him in a while. There is much reason to be optimistic for what next issue will bring. Colourist Frank D’Armata must have had a blast with this issue. Some of the vibrant colours and the action scenes are amazing. Particularly the panels with Living Laser, the glowing purple is fantastic.
Looks like Fraction is going to end his run on a high note. I’m glad to see that despite having written The Invincible Iron Man for so long, Fraction still manages to wow with his grand finale. It will be exciting to see a new take on Tony Stark when Kieron Gillen takes over the new Marvel NOW! title. Likewise, it will be interesting to see what Fraction does with Fantastic Four and FF after the acclaimed run of Jonathon Hickman.
Story – 8/10
Art – 8/10
Overall – 8/10
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