Invincible Iron Man #512 Review

The Mandarin declares war!

Invincible Iron Man #512

Tony Stark is in cardiac arrest.  He’s taken to a hospital where doctors are trying to use the paddles on him to steady his heart rate, but realizing this will kill him, Tony defends himself and leaves bringing even more unwanted attention to him.  Later, the Mandarin exercises a little more influence over Ezekiel Stane and forces him to create an army of Dreadnoughts ahead of schedule to begin the next phase of his big plan.  In Washington, Rhodey discovers the Mandarin’s big plan is to use the Dreadnoughts to invade China.

This has the makings to be another very detailed and quite lengthy arc from Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca.  Like “World’s Most Wanted”, Fraction has Tony more or less being hunted.  Unlike that excellent twelve-part arc, this time, Tony’s a little less clued into how big the threat is.  That’s where this story becomes something new.  A lot of gears are turning behind the scenes and it’s been kept just out of reach from Iron Man.  Yeah, he knows something is going down.  He was surprisingly attacked and overcome by the Living Laser who is faster, stronger, and better at what he does than Tony’s ever seen.  That’s all been relatively front and center as far as Tony’s knowledge of something going on, but it’s the dealings in the shadows headed by the Mandarin that’s making this arc fun and a tense.  That undertone of this grand scheme coming together is nearly palpable and makes for a great Iron Man story.

There is one small intermission from this story that stood out to me and made me wonder what more we might see from this.  There’s a scene with Bethany Cabe helping the employees of Stark Resilient test a new form of body arm that uses the repulsor tech.  It’s a little more comedic than the rest of the book (and probably the arc itself), and is a very quick aside from the rest of the story.  I have to wonder a bit of this body armor will play into the conclusion or possibly the next arc.  I hardly doubt it was just to give Cabe “something to do” now that she’s hanging around.  I also doubt it was strictly for a little comedic relief in the midst of the darker Mandarin driven plot.  At least you gotta hope it wasn’t just a couple pages of throw away dialog that makes an attempt of comedy instead of it actually contributing.

The strength of the Mandarin’s plot happening behind the scenes but also at the forefront of the entire arc is really making this yet another great arc with solid plotting from Fraction and the usual beautiful art from Salvador Larroca.


Pros Cons
Great story and art with a real tension that is building with each issue. Not much here. All around great issue.

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