This is Jim speaking to you from the Bunker. As a direct result of the third anniversary changes Rokk announced earlier this week, I will be reviewing this issue of Invincible Iron Man. When I am reviewing a core title, I will return to something similar to the long review format that Rokk uses. Now the big question is will Invincible Iron Man bounce back? Rokk saw some improvement back in the eighth issue but it dropped of in the last issue.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
At Stark Industries…Pepper has suited up in the Iron Woman (?) armor. She talks with the “intelligent system” that Tony designed to help her interface with the suit. It is also programmed with her 96,000 favorite songs. The purpose of the interface system is to make the experience more pleasurable for Pepper. It asks if she is ready for a test run. Pepper says “Hell yes.”
A church in Los Angeles…Henry Hellrung (the superhero known as Anthem) is praying. As the meeting breaks up, a man in a green jacket and cap calls to him. Henry thinks that the person yelling to him sounds like the most wanted man in the world. He asks if it is Tony. The man confirms that he is Tony Stark.
Henry comments that he does not recognize Tony. Tony says that is the idea. They exchange hugs. Tony fills him in. When he got in trouble, he shaved his head.
Henry says there is trouble and there is what Tony is in. Tony explains that he won’t be in meetings for a while. He wants Tony to turn himself in. After all, Tony is too big and famous for Norman Osborn to make “go away”.
Tony tells Henry that no one is too big to go away. Then Henry wants to know why Tony came to see him. Henry tells him that people need this place and he just put a target on their door.
Tony says that he left two million dollars in the collection plate. He wants Henry to take care of his people. He is leaving in an Iron Man suit. About ten minutes from now H.A.M.M.E.R. will be busting down the door. He wants Henry to tell them everything.
In Austin, Texas…Maria Hill is in her S.H.I.E.L.D. gear as she climbs over a fence. She thinks it is not every day you end your career with a bullet in the head.
Back at the church…Henry is being arrested by H.A.M.M.E.R. He remembers how Tony set up an emergency method of contacting their friends. When he is freed, Henry contacts Jim (War Machine) Rhodes. Jim goes in pursuit of Tony.
War Machine catches up to Iron Man over an ocean. He wants Tony to surrender. Tony tells him that he knows Osborn will not let him live if he is captured. Tony tells Jim to attack him and make it look good. Otherwise, H.A.M.M.E.R. will start suspecting Jim of being a traitor. Jim says that Tony does not stand a chance against him in an old armor suit. War Machine opens the battle but Tony is able to damage him.
Back in Texas, Maria has broken into Futurepharm. The building is almost empty. In one of the rooms, she finds pictures of numerous missing people. Inside the last room, she finds the people. They are all connected to a machine that is feeding the Controller (an old Jim Starlin villain).
War Machine blasts Iron Man out of the sky. As he is falling, Tony is able to blast open a hole in the War Machine armor. Iron Man falls into the ocean. War Machine cannot follow because of his armor being breached.
Osborn has been watching the battle on various viewscreens. He opens a private line to Namor. If Namor kills Tony Stark for Osborn, he will owe him a favor. Namor says he will gladly kill Tony.
The Good: This is one of the better Matt Fraction stories. Fraction has been leading up to Pepper getting her own armor for a while. At this point I am not sure if this is a good move. Personally, I liked it better when Tony was the only good guy with armor. It make him stand out more. Now we have War Machine and the new Iron Maiden (Fraction wanted to call her that but the name was already taken). I will wait and see what direction this storyline goes before passing judgment.
I do like the way Henry Hellrung is portrayed. It is interesting to watch a former hero develop a life outside of super-heroing. The councilling at the church is a new direction. I would like to see more of him as a supporting character.
Fraction shows Tony using his intelligence by setting up the system to contact friends. This shows that Tony is always preparing backup plans for future setbacks.
Maria Hill does get a small part. It was a good use of her training as a spy to send her into Futurepharm. The Controller is an interesting villain. Back in the early days of Jim Starlin, he battled Captain Marvel and the Thing. He definitely has the firepower to take on Iron Man.
The battle between Iron Man and War Machine gave me mixed feelings. I don’t believe Jim Rhodes would want Tony to turn himself in. He knows Tony well enough to trust his opinion of Osborn. As far as the fight, it was well done. Tony’s plan was decent. My only concern was what if War Machine’s attack opened up a hole in Tony’s armor. There was no guarantee that it would not occur.
The art on the battles and technical panels were great. Larroca excels at the computer designs and technical layouts.
The Bad: I thought Tony would have worked out more of a plan with Jim. The fight was a reckless idea that could have ended tragically for Tony.
The art does disappoint me when Larroca draws Tony. He does not look like Tony did in the past or in other books.
Overall: Invincible Iron Man #11 was a middle of the road book. Not bad, not great. Until the whole story is told it is hard to judge a middle chapter of a longer story.