“World’s Most Wanted” has been a mixed bag so far. There have been aspects of this story that I have been enjoying. However, at the same time, there some aspects I have not. Also, what has hurt Fraction’s story so far is that he has not made this story feel any different from previous classic Iron Man stories. Still, as an Iron Man fan, I have hopes that Fraction can turn things around in order to give “World’s Most Wanted” a good ending with the remaining three issues left in the story. Now let’s move onto the review for Invincible Iron Man #17.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in Russia were we see Madame Masque walking out of the explosion with her costume torn up. Masque is holding Pepper Pott’s armor. Masque finds her communicator on the ground and contacts Norman Osborn. Norman asks Madame Masque if she has good news. She responds by saying that Tony escaped but that she killed Pepper and recovered her suit.
We cut to Alzakkstan Almaty were Tony is riding in the back of a truck in order to reach the nearest city. As he makes it to the city he enters an Internet Café and sends Maria Hill an e-mail. In his e-mail he informs Maria of his current situation and what happened with Pepper and Madame Masque. He ends his e-mail by telling her to stay safe. Tony then walks into the forest to put on his armor and head to Stark Lab Double-Zero.
At Black Widow’s apartment, Maria Hill wakes up and hears a noise coming from the kitchen. Hill grabs a knife and sneaks up on the person she thinks is breaking in. The person quickly takes down Hill. We see that the “intruder” is Black Widow. Natasha tells Maria to calm down. Natasha says that if Maria does not pull herself together then not only will Maria get caught but so will Captain America and Natasha, herself.
Somewhere in the sky Norman is in the HAMMER Helicarrier. Norman is talking to Dmitri about Norman and his HAMMER agents heading into Russia for an “urgent” mission. Dmitri protest about the invasion but Norman informs Dimitri that there is someone looking to purchase fissionable materials that poses a danger to Russia. Norman continues by saying that he will cut Dmitri a deal: HAMMER will get this terrorist and Dmitri will hand over Tony to HAMMER. Dmitri begrudgingly agrees and hangs up.
We cut back to Dmitri in his office pouring himself a drink and wishing Tony luck.
We hop to Madame Masque’s location. HAMMER agents arrive on the scene and pick up Madame Masque and Pepper’s armor.
Inside the Helicarrier, one of the HAMMER agents finds the e-mail Tony sent to Maria sent earlier and reports it to Ms. Hand. When the HAMMER agent reports it to Ms. Hand she tells him to leave and continue to work. The HAMMER agent leaves Ms. Hand’s office feeling awful that he just ratted out Tony Stark.
We cut to Tony flying towards Stark Lab. As Tony is flying, he is shot down by a couple of men who noticed something flying in the air. Tony is lands on the ground below with the armor damaged by the fall. Tony takes of the armor and sits in front of it trying to recover.
Back in New York, Natasha and Maria stand on a roof outside of a HAMMER facility going over what their mission is. Before beginning, Natasha asks Maria if she is okay. Maria says she is fine. They split up each covering a different section of the facility. As they try to each make it inside they are caught by HAMMER agents. We see Captain America watching from the shadows.
We cut to inside the Helicarrier where Norman is questioning Madame Masque about what exactly happened on her hunt for Tony. She tells Norman that her feelings for Tony got in the way but that she was able to kill Pepper and get Pepper’s suit.
Norman walks up behind Madame Masque as she is talking. Norman looks like he is going to choke her Masque Ms. Hand interrupts. Ms. Hand tells Norman that they have caught Maria Hill.
In the Helicarrier armory some HAMMER agents store Pepper’s armor in the same location as the rest of the Iron Man armor. End of issue.
The Good: Invincible Iron Man #17 was a very disappointing issue. This is probably one of the weakest issues in Fraction’s run on this title to date. Still, there were a couple things that I did like about this issue.
The first thing is that even though Tony’s current situation is not breaking any new ground for the character I do like Fraction’s writing on Tony and how he shows us Tony’s continued regression in intelligence through the e-mail he sent Maria Hill. The e-mail was a very good way to show that is the character that has lost the most through everything that has happened from personal, intellectual and emotional levels.
I did like how Fraction wrote Norman as a complete bad guy who is in control of situation. So far, Fraction has done a good job building up Norman to be the final boss of this story.
The other thing I liked about this issue is Maria Hill’s part of the story. Probably Fraction’s best work on this story arc is his building of Maria’s character from being the bitch everyone hated to a character that you can actually like. So far this part of the has been the most consistent part of the story. It will be interesting to see were Fraction takes the plotline invovling Maria and Natasha. I am also curious to see what role Captain America plays in the last two issues of this story arc.
The Bad: As I said before, this was a very disappointing issue by Fraction. My biggest complaint about this issue, specifically, is that it does not do much to progress the plot. Other than Maria Hill and Natasha getting caught and Captain America appearing there isn’t anything new that happens in this issue.
With only two issues left in this story this isn’t something Fraction should have done in part ten of this story. As a reader, After ten issues of telling this story, I needed more happening to believe that this story arc is going to reach a satisfying ending that will make me feel that reading this story was worth the effort.
At this point, Fraction should not make it feel like he is dragging the story along in order to make the story longer than it should be. If anything, this feels like Fraction is trying to make this story arc twelve issues when this story should have probably ended with this issue.
Also, while I liked the diminishing intelligence aspect of Tony’s character, it is getting harder to feel bad for the character since he has done nothing more than fly around from one lab to the next. Oh yeah, and bang his dead best friend’s girl in between.
While I know Tony has to continue moving from location to location so he doesn’t get caught; Fraction should also be reinforcing the fact that Tony is the hero of the story and not just some sad sack who is a shell of his former self.
And while I like having Bucky appearing as Captain America in other Marvel titles, his appearance in this story actually hurts the story that Fraction has been building. Because, instead of allowing Tony to be the hero his own story, it seems that it will actually be Bucky.
With how much emphases Fraction has put on having Bucky getting the data from Maria and him appearing in the shadows watching his girlfriend and Maria get caught simply reinforces this fact. And with how much crap Tony has had to deal with over the past few years in the Marvel Universe this only adds to the crap that Marvel has dumped on Tony’s character as he may not even be the hero of his own year long story.
Also, after the end of the last issue built up a fight between Madame Masque and Pepper it was a total cop-out move by Fraction to not show us the fight and just have Madame Masque come out with Pepper’s armor.
I am not convinced that Pepper is not Madame Masque tricking Norman in order to get into the HAMMER facilities. The reasons for my feeling this way is because Madame Masque was not acting at all like she has been in the past few issues.
Salvador Larroca’s art was again very unimpressive. In this issue, specifically, all of the characters looked very stiff with some panels just looking awful. It was even worse when characters were showing some sort of emotions as they all look like they were forcing the emotions.
Overall: Invincible Iron Man #17 was a very disappointing read. Fraction did not really move the story forward with this issue at all. Fraction simply wastes time having the characters in almost the same position that they have been for the past few issues. With only two issues left in this storyline Fraction is going to step up his game in order to give us a satisfying ending to this year long story arc.