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Tony Stark Makes His Own Side

May 8, 2010

     The Heroic Age has begun, and it starts in Invincible Iron Man #25, the first issue of the new direction for everyone’s favorite billionare playboy genius superhero.  Justine Hammer and her daughter show off their new, ridiculously large, gun-toting powered exoskeleton, Detroit Steel, to the military.  But the military, knowing that Tony Stark is back in business, isn’t interested.  Tony talks to Pepper Potts about just how bad Stark Industries is doing, and Maria Hill and Jim Rhodes talk about Tony and about Hill getting a job to work with the brand new Avengers team.  Pepper updates Tony on Ezekiel Stane’s attack, and some pissy general yells at Justine Hammer.  But she’s not upset at all; rather, she thinks things are going just as they expected.  Tony meets with Reed Richards and tells him all about how his body is like hardware, Extremis is the OS, and Iron Man is an application.  He makes it clear just how much power the new repulsor battery is giving his brain and shows off his new armor schematics.  Later, he gives a presentation to all those same generals and tells him that he’s done making stuff for the military.  Justine Hammer buys some old H.A.M.M.E.R. suits, and Thor meets with Tony while Tony’s helping rebuild Broxton after Siege.  Thor sees that Tony is more like the person he remembers, and even though they’re not best buddies again, things are going in the right direction.  Tony then presents to a massive group of entrepreneurs about providing repulsor technology to the world.  And if they refuse, he’ll put them out of business.  As Pepper storms off, wishing Tony were smart again, Tony puts on his new armor, which comes out of his freaking skin, and flies off.  Then, Justine Hammer gets a call from one of the good generals with a business offer, but she has to call him back, since she’s in Pakistan, preparing to sell the same tech to possible terrorists.

     Well, damn.  Matt Fraction sure knows how to start things off with a bang.  This whole issue was charged with the same kind of kinetic energy that came with his first arc with Stane because, once again, he’s doing a contrast between Stark and someone else in the business.  This time, it’s the Hammer girls.  Fraction really excels at these kinds of comparisons in this book, and it really shows, with Detroit Steel literally acting as a physical embodiment of the difference in how Justine operates compared to Tony.  Of course, I love all the character stuff with Tony still needing to catch up, Pepper having to deal with her crazy boss, and then the little stuff with Rhodey and Maria.  That scene was a great one at teasing what’s going to happen in the Heroic Age without spoiling anything too big, which is much appreciated.  My biggest problem, however, is with the armor.  I do not particularly like the new design, since I find the helmet a tad too angular, the spatterings of gold and red more random than ever, and the lack of bulk in the shoulderpads rather strange as compared to the bulky helmet.  I definitely preferred the old armor, even if the boots had those weird toe things.  Looking at Ryan Meinerding’s designs in the back of the book, there were a few that I think would have been better.  But alas, that’s not meant to be.  Salvador Larroca’s pencils are filled with a new vitality that they were lacking through a lot of World’s Most Wanted.  I can see now that his biggest problem is the way he does his own inking.  I think it would be best if there weren’t black outlines, but even still, it’s a lot better than before.  He’s really improved, making me far less worried about this book desperately needing a new artist.  So, even though I can’t say that I like the new armor much, I’m really excited about where this book is headed.  Fraction is finally getting to move Tony beyond Dark Reign and tell some great new stories, of the kind that made his run on this series great in the first place.  Let’s hope he can continue to do that for quite a while.

Plot: 9.3      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.3      Overall: 9.3

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