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Downgrade

June 4, 2009

     As Tony Stark, Iron Man, continues to be the world’s most wanted criminal, you have to wonder if this isn’t just karma coming back to bite him in the butt.  You know, add together the Armor Wars, his alcoholism, Civil War and the Initiative, his womanizing ways, the murders he committed while under Immortus’ thrall, and you’ve got yourself a pretty long list of crap that he’s done.  Well, in this issue, he keeps running away from everyone, including D-List villain Shockwave, who he manages to beat even without his armor.  Meanwhile, Pepper Potts has to deal with the supreme prick Norman Osborn and his right hand gal, Victoria Hand, and Maria Hill grapples with her past while trying to stay alive in a confrontation with the Controller.  Norman Osborn looks to get help from Madame Masque, who knows Tony better than most do.  And in the end, Pepper decides to screw Norman Osborn and flies off to go find Tony and save the day. 

     Now, the only downgrade to which the title refers is Tony’s downgrade of his technology in order to account for his decreasing IQ.  The comic itself continues to be spectacularly good.  Hence, I am still confused as to how Matt Fraction’s work on this series can be so good while his work on Uncanny X-Men can be so bad.  I figure he just has a fundamentally better grasp on the character of Tony Stark than he does on each and every one of the X-Men.  Sure, Tony still uses Fraction’s buzz words, but he doesn’t seem as obnoxiously hip, trendy, and in your face as the X-Men do.  And Fraction gives us a great and creepy side of Norman Osborn and has done more for Pepper Potts than almost any other writer.  So I don’t get it.  I guess I should just be happy that this series is still so superb.  Salvador Larocca’s art takes a few steps back this issue, including with that freaky perspective of Hill’s drill sergeant from the marines.  Still, it’s much better than it was during the opening arc.  This series still kicks butt, and I think that won’t be changing as long as Matt Fraction’s on the title, even with World’s Most Wanted being so ridiculously long.

Plot: 9.2      Art: 8.6      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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