Invincible Iron Man 23 NM Variant Cover Matt Fraction Larroca 1stp Strange Ghost


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INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (2008) #23 Patrick Zircher Variant 50/50 Cover. Published: 2010. Writer: Matt Fraction, Penciller: Salvador Larroca. Things are grim in Broxton, Oklahoma as the Ghost moves in for the kill — and the only thing between him and Tony Stark is a shell-shocked Maria Hill and a half-conscious Pepper Potts, fresh out of surgery. And deep in the recesses of Tony’s mind, Dr. Strange and Stark get down and dirty with the tyrant king running the show and laying waste to Tony’s consciousness. Where are they? What’s happening? And why can’t Tony remember the Iron Man?

As “Disassembled” reaches its penultimate chapter it appears that Tony Stark is on the road to recovery, and by the looks of things, it’s not a moment too soon. That the character has yet to make a significant appearance in Siege may be this series’ saving grace.

This issue unfolds in a fashion similar to previous installments with Doctor Strange now assisting Tony in his mind walk. As Tony continues to piece together his fractured psyche, Pepper and Maria share certain revelations that should make Tony’s eventual awakening interesting to say the least. All the while the Ghost continues his hunt for Stark at the behest of Madame Masque.

There are some strong moments in this issue, the presence of Doctor Strange was a welcome change of pace..

The highlight of the issue was, without question, Pepper and Maria’s disclosures to one another regarding their respective histories with Stark. It was a great tactic utilized by Fraction to remind readers that despite everything Tony remains ever the rogue. The moment went a long way toward adding a bit of levity to what was otherwise a humorless issue.

The inner journey of Tony Stark continues, as malevolent forces begin to gather outside the tornado shelter hideout in Broxton, Oklahoma. As “Siege” draws more titles into its sway, “Invincible Iron Man” brings the penultimate issue of “Stark: Disassembled” on-line.

Fraction provides insightful, existential conversation between Stephen Strange and Tony Stark, as Pepper Potts and Maria Hill share an “ah-ha!” moment that doesn’t bode well for Tony, should he emerge from his coma. To make matters worse, the Ghost has sharpened his mad-on for Tony Stark and is lurking through the streets of Broxton.

Salvador Larroca and Frank D’Armata have been nearly inseparable in their contributions to the visuals on this title since it began. In this issue, however, Larroca leaves a little to be desired — maybe it’s the lack of iron-clad heroes, or the desolate environment of a tornado shelter. The most visually exciting scenes are the bits with the Ghost, whose updated appearance is welcome.

This book is clearly perched on the edge of the “Siege” crossover extravaganza, but first it needs to clear up some dangling threads. Fraction and crew seem perfectly set to do so, but aren’t going to stop their own stories in the meantime.

This series has been in gear since it started. Even with the lead character mentally compromised, the stories have been solid. This is a testament to Fraction’s writing, Larroca and D’Armata’s art, and the splendid cast of characters put in place around Tony Stark. I look forward to where this book goes from here. With the second movie mere months from debuting, this title is poised to deliver great Iron Man stories. Right now, however, it needs to tidy up so those upcoming stories can be enjoyed by even the most casual of Iron Fan.

Near mint, 1st print. Bagged & Boarded.