INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOL. 1: THE FIVE NIGHTMARES (Marvel)
Written by Matt Fraction, drawn by Salvador Larroca
Collects Invincible Iron Man #1-7
It’s been a while since I’ve read a new Iron Man trade and I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff about Invincible Iron Man, but thanks to Ben letting me borrow I can now no longer say either of those things. I was at Wizard when this book first kicked off. I was pretty excited to read a good Iron Man comic (this was after or around the movie and during the post-Civil War comics that ruined Iron Man for a lot of people including me), but I don’t think I even got through the first issue. I wanted a brand new Iron Man comic that was doing something new and here I was given a villain who is the son of old Iron Man villain Obidiah Stane. Yawn, no thanks. So, I didn’t read anymore, but I wish I had.
The book is pretty good, but not great by any means. It felt similar to Warren Ellis’ attempt to reboot the character with his Extremis arc, with the idea that Tony Stark needs to be ahead of the curve and not falling into a technological rut. Frankly, this shouldn’t be something that needs to be said, it should just always be done, so I’m not giving it a ton of credit for doing the thing that an Iron Man book should.
I will give the book credit for coming up with what turned out to be a pretty good villain. Zeke Stane has taken his father’s anger towards Iron Man/Tony Star and used it to fuel his genius which he aims like a gun at taking them down using Stark’s own tech. There’s a huge dearth of good new heroes and villains being created in comics right now either because reader’s just want to read the same old characters knocking each other out or because writers are too devoted to the old and not wanting to create new. Stane seems like a pretty good addition that we’ll probably see again soon.
The seventh issue in the book has Spider-Man following Iron Man around while Iron Man ties up some loose ends from the main arc. It’s an okay story, but felt kind of pointless to me. I’m all in favor for doing one-off issues, but this one didn’t seem like it added much to the story as a whole or offer any unique takes that made me smile. Plus, Fraction doesn’t write a great Spidey.
Finally, am I the only one who liked Larroca’s art way better in the 90s? He had that rad, cartoony style and now, well, now I’m not quite sure what he does. It’s not bad, in fact it’s very crisp, but it reminds me too much of McNiven but with more celebrities popping up. Anyway, click here, here and here for what Larroca used to look like.