Invincible Iron Man #511 Review

The Mandarin, Sasha Hammer, and Ezekiel Stane continue their subversive attack on Iron Man.

Invincible Iron Man #510

Stark rounds up his Stark Resilient employees and is confronted with the front page story of proclaiming he’s fallen off the wagon.  In Paris, the original Detroit Steel, Lt. Johnson, resurfaces while at a Hammer Industries Hangar, Sasha Hammer is introduced as the new operator of Detroit Steel.  The Mandarin and Stane study the cracked repulsor in Tony’s chest and realize there is something wrong with him as he’s not able to fix the crack.  They send Living Laser out to make it all that much worse…  He destroys Tony’s repulsor sending him to the brink of a cardiac arrest and dumps him in a particularly public place.

This issue is yet another very good outing by Matt Fraction.  What makes this book particularly interesting this time around is that neither Tony Stark or Iron Man is truly the lead character.  There are very, very few pages in which Tony isn’t in (in or out of the armor), but he’s not in control of the things going on around him.  Forget about the stuff that ended the last issue with the tabloid-style headline.  The characters that have such a huge impact on this arc so far is clearly the Mandarin, and to a slightly lesser effect, Stane.  While Stane is doing all the dirty work, Mandarin is only seen in a single frame, but carries so much weight that his mere presence and our knowledge that he’s pulling every single string is exciting.  It’s been a long time since this character has been as frightening as he is in this arc.  His weaving of all this paranoia and subversive mingling in Tony’s life is spectacularly playing out.

Matching Fraction in every way is Salvador Larroca.  Fraction’s story is tense and thick with doubt and Larroca’s facial expressions nails it.  Every single character has the opportunity to tell you exactly what they are thinking.  Tony’s cocky attitude at the beginning switches on a dime when he’s confronted with his headline shows that he’s dealing with his choices completely internally while everyone else around him is already deeply concerned is a great way to start the issue.  It definitely set the tone.  Another two pages that represent two different scenes that I liked a great deal was the page with Pepper confronting the investors of Stark Resilient and the scene I mentioned earlier where we see Stane and Mandarin talking about Tony’s repulsor unit.  The scene for Pepper was a particular strong moment for her and, again, how Larroca draws her stern and serious expression puts a great punctuation on the scene.  In Mandarin City, to help perpetuate the weight of how awesome Mandarin can be, even Stane seems frightened and diminished by our main villain.  For that to be directly opposite of Pepper’s moment was well placed.

This arc has been a great read so far and I’m almost to the point where I wouldn’t hate it so much if Mandarin never actually jumps into the fray.  If he just sat back and let everyone else dance for him, he’s still a serious threat.


Pros Cons
Love the feeling of the issue. It’s dark but not though the normal usage of tougher situations, but just by everyone second guessing and doubting one another while these bad guys make all the moves. Not much from me. I’m really enjoying this arc.

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