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Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

January 6, 2010

     Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man, was left in rather dire straits at the end of World’s Most Wanted.  Now, in Stark Disassembled, his friends prepare to bring him back.  He’s trapped in some sort of mindscape (Matt Fraction LOVES those) involving him digging up things in a desert with his parents and other people and running from machines of his own design.  In a message left on the Rescue armor, Tony explains the option of bringing him back, as well as gives advice on how to deal with Osborn when he inevitably blows up.  Pepper Potts gets upset, wondering why Heaven and Earth will move for people like Tony, but not for more normal people like her.  Norman Osborn tells the Hood and his crew that Stark is now no longer an issue, but Madame Masque wants Stark dead and asks the Ghost to do the deed.  She provides him with all the information he would need, as well as tech which would allow him to transfer himself across phone lines so long as he can get a call to go through in Broxton, Oklahoma.  In the mindscape, Tony manages to find part of his armor under the sand and defies the repetition of his death by getting all the people around him to help him carry it.  Jim Rhodes, now completely human, brings Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, to Broxton, and they undergo surgery to transfer Pepper’s repulsor unit into Tony.  The Stark drive they retrieved from H.A.M.M.E.R. acts as a backup from before Tony got the Extremis virus.  Various doctors help perform surgery, and Rhodey takes some parts out of Rescue for said surgery.  In the mindscape, Tony manages to get part of the Iron Man suit on, but when Thor uses Cap’s shield as a part of an apparatus to jump-start Tony’s heart, he passes out in the mindscape and may or may not wake up (it’s unclear).  Meanwhile, the Ghost manages to get a call through to Broxton, arriving to complete his task.

     The main thing I like about this story is not the possibily that Tony Stark may return or anything like that.  It’s what Pepper said in a very metatextual comment about comic book deaths.  For people like Tony or Captain America, everyone will do whatever it takes to bring them back.  Other people, not so much.  That’s because other people aren’t the leads of comic books and are expendable.  I really liked that little comment, and I loved how Matt Fraction used Pepper to deliver it.  For me, Tony Stark is Iron Man, and if he were to die, Jim Rhodes would really be the only acceptable replacement.  So all the teasers that hint that Steve Rogers might be Iron Man make me a bit wary.  I hope that’s just the way the internet is interpreting them and not the truth.  But Matt Fraction has yet to do wrong on this title, so I’ll trust that he’ll handle this whole thing well.  This is a very interesting story, especially with the involvement of longtime Iron Man enemies Ghost and Madame Masque as Norman Osborn steps aside.  Good to see that Fraction is using the right characters for this story.  Salvador Larroca’s art is also even better than ever, with more dynamic panel layouts than ever before.  If he makes everything look this action-packed all the time, forget what I said about this title needing a new artist.  At any rate, big stuff is about to happen, and I can’t wait to see where Fraction takes things next.

Plot: 9.2      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.2      Overall: 9.2

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