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Brain Damage

August 24, 2010

Invincible Iron Man #29 starts with Pepper Potts completely up after her surgery, visited by War Machine.  Outside, in the hospital waiting room, Tony Stark and Maria Hill argue about Tony’s mess-ups rather loudly, and and Justine Hammer presents to her Detroit Steel pilot his mysterious backup.  Pepper sees Tony and Maria, and she tells Tony she wants to suit up.  Sasha Hammer explains to a bunch of nerds that they get to play this game  on their phones involving playing as Detroit Steel’s wingmen.  It’s not entirely clear if they quite realize what they’re doing, but they are actually controlling the aforementioned “backup,” a bunch of special fighter drones, in real combat.  Tony talks to Pepper about the upcoming party and shows her the new Rescue suit, made from the old armors he melted before.  Pepper gets the armor on and flies off, pretty much happy to be alive.  Tony meets with the rest of Stark Resilient in Carson Wyche’s old automobile manufacturing facility near Seattle, where they get ready to make those two supercars really fast.  Oh yes, and Tony’s upgraded his eyes so he can see really far and in great detail.  Rhodey meets with the general from before about the Tokyo incident and about the Hammer girls, but when he offers to place War Machine directly under his supervision, the general just glares at him.  He explains that they screwed up big time for making the U.S. Government beg him for help (and then Tony refused them).  The general wants to court-martial Rhodey, but there’s no actual way to do that.  So Rhodey just leaves awkwardly.  Later, he explains all this to Tony, who’s getting ready for the party and seems to have forgotten how to tie a tie.  Seems he’s lost more than just those memories, as he’s oddly nervous about the party.  He meets up with Pepper after the party begins, and he finds that their repulsor tech literally repulses each other.  Then, when the Hammer girls arrive, Tony whisks Sasha away, ignoring everything else.

Another great month of Matt Fraction magic on this title.  We’ve got the building of the Resilient company, Pepper’s triumphant return as Rescue, and the evil machinations of the Hammer girls.  Again, it wasn’t entirely clear whether all those nerds know that those drones are real and what they’re really doing, but the only difference that would make is that would make them all assholes.  It was particularly nice to see Pepper in Rescue again.  Pepper getting her own armor was the first major development with the character since she married Happy Hogan, and even though Tony’s the one who supplies her the armor, it empowers her as a character, as well as just generally fleshes her out as more than just Tony’s hot secretary.  And I just generally enjoy Maria and Tony arguing.  Maria is such an angry person, but Fraction has made her more than what she originally was when she was introduced as Nick Fury’s replacement.  I just know that her little tryst with Tony will come back to haunt them.  Once Tony remembers.  Speaking of that, I like the idea that Tony’s brain damage is a bit less… localized that he originally thought.  I hope that doesn’t become permanent, as a Tony Stark who forever feels awkward at parties isn’t Tony Stark.  But it’s good story material to keep the ball rolling on this title after this arc is over.  Salvador Larroca’s still doing a lot better than he did before.  There are a few panels in this book with awkward shading and inking, but considering how bad Larroca was getting for a while, that’s minor.  My only real artistic complaint with him at this point is that I think his outlines are too strong.  They just feel so… unnatural some of the time, as he never takes advantage of shadow or certain colors to make less outlines.  He draws a great angry general, though.  I’m not a big fan of Tony wearing a red and yellow suit with a blue bowtie, as I think bowties generally look bad on everyone.  Just a minor issue.  I still love this series, and I love not having any idea where it’s going.  Makes everything more of a surprise.  I just hope Tony and Pepper don’t keep repulsing each other, as that might be bad for their relationship.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 8.9      Dialogue: 9.2      Overall: 9.0

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