Billed as a prelude, this issue actually serves as a great reminder of the complex and interesting Tony Stark.
This issue of Invincible Iron Man is being billed as “the prologue to one of the biggest Iron Man stories in modern history.” Well, if that’s true, this is clearly a must read! Marvel Legacy is out next week and if this is going to give us a taste of what is to come, giddyup!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The battle for Harlem begins! As Luke Cage and Danny Rand struggle to pick up the pieces after Civil War II, the ultimate turf war erupts right under their noses! Tombstone, Mr. Fish, Piranha, Cottonmouth, Black Cat and a mysterious new player are all vying for a piece of the pie – and New York is caught in the crossfire! Power Man and Iron Fist fight to take back the streets, but Luke has other problems too – big ones. Jessica Jones has left him, and taken their daughter with her. Cage isn’t taking it well – and while Danny wants to be there for his friend, he’s got issues of his own. Meanwhile, double, double, toil and trouble are brewing… Luke and Danny are handy in a fight, but how do you punch magic?
Why does this matter?
Aside from this being a prelude to a huge rejiggering of the Marvel universe it also features Mary Jane quite a bit. Fan of hers? Read this book!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
So she’s basically Taylor Swift?
This issue breaks down into three scenes, the first between Mary Jane and Tony Stark’s mother as they discuss the first time MJ met Tony. The second has Riri sharing the first time she met Iron Man, and finally Tony’s A.I. Friday takes over the last quarter to help these characters reminisce on how good Tony was. If you were to sum up this entire issue in one word it’d be “heartfelt.” Writer Brian Michael Bendis has MJ relate to Tony in a meaningful way in a moment they shared way back when Tony was drinking and pretending that Iron Man was his bodyguard. It’s a nice throwback to an older and simpler time for the hero, but Bendis reveals a complexity to the character that’s interesting. The two characters share a moment and try to be honest with each other, which shows a side of Tony he keeps hidden to protect himself.
Riri’s portion, while short, is a nice reminder that she lived in this universe long before she was a superhero. Her reflection on her first encounter with Iron Man ties into the Skrull invasion and hits a strong note after feeling a buzz in the air when leaving a movie only to find an alien invasion on their doorstep. Anyone has lived through 9/11 or other terrorist attacks can relate.
The final portion is touching as well and ties into some of the hidden things Tony does to help others. Friday explains these portions as Tony’s mom, Riri, and MJ reflect. It’s a nice way to remind readers he’s not a jackass all the time. This portion dives right into a cliffhanger, which doesn’t give readers much detail, but certainly twists the plot to give these characters a brand new direction moving into Marvel Legacy.
This issue is drawn by four artists. Stefano Caselli opens and closes the issue. Kate Niemczyk draws MJ’s memory of Tony with a clean style that suits the dialogue-heavy scenes. The character acting is on point and Niemczyk sells the many emotions that transpire in the scene. Taki Soma draws the Riri scenes which look pretty close to Caselli’s style, helping to maintain a consistency. Kiichi Mizushima wrap up the issue with a manga look and feel. Big glassy eyes and some rather dramatic expressions are used to pull the reader through to the end. The colors by Marte Gracia keep the art honest and pull them together even when the style changes dramatically.
Tony always crashes the best parties.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s really no action at all in this comic. Given, that’s something we’ve come to expect from Bendis here and there, but if you’re expecting some battling you’ve come to the wrong place. The character acting is so solid though that it didn’t bother me.
That said, the final moments with Friday revealing how giving Tony was felt a tad forced. It’s a nice way to reminisce about the character, but ends up feeling a bit hollow since it’s spurred on by a computer overhearing a question and answering it.
Is It Good?
Invincible Iron Man #11 may have a bit of a prelude tease to it, but it’s actually a strong, sentimental issue that hits at the core of Tony Stark. Tony Stark might be missing, but it’s clear by this issue he’s a deep and meaningful character.