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Before joining Marvel Comics, writer Matt Fraction had already established his reputation as an emerging new talent with his work on Last of the Independents. Fraction's tale of a bank robbery gone wrong earned him a coveted "A" grade from Entertainment Weekly, as well as interest from Marvel. After taking on a short story assignment in the anthology title X-Men Unlimited, Fraction was handpicked to launch two of Marvel's biggest projects for 2006: Punisher War Journal with artist Ariel Olivetti, and Immortal Iron Fist, with co-writer Ed Brubaker and artist David Aja. Both series met with overwhelming critical and fan acclaim, selling out their respective first issues within days of release. This led to two even bigger projects: The launching of Invincible Iron Man, a high-profile first issue premiering the same month as the blockbuster film; and Uncanny X-Men, written in tandem with Immortal Iron Fist partner Brubaker. In addition to his Marvel work, Fraction writes Casanova, an off-beat series illustrated by Gabriel Bá which recently moved to Marvel's Icon imprint. He is also a talented filmmaker and graphic designer, heading up the MK12 firm with a worldwide client base that includes Adidas, MTV and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Fraction remains one of Marvel's most popular writers; other credits include The Order and Thor: Ages of Thunder.
This hardcover collects issues 8-13 of Invincible Iron Man. It takes place right from the start of the Dark Reign series.
The writing and art are fantastic. There are good moments of character development despite being crossed over from other Dark reign events. When was the last time that you have been surprised of where the writing could take Iron Man? Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca won the 2009 Eisner Award for "Best New Series" with their collaboration in this Iron Man series.
NOTES ----- * This is the first part of the "World's Most Wanted" story arc. The last issue in this hardcover will leave off in the middle of the story. You'll need to wait until February 3, 2010 for the next hardcover Invincible Iron Man Volume 3: World's Most Wanted Book 2 Premiere HC to come out (or you'll need to visit your local comic shop and get the individual issues). Since this hardcover doesn't really conclude anything, there will be plotlines that seem like filler such as Maria Hill's encounter with an old Iron Man villain.
* Bonus materials are minimal : There are 2 variant covers and 2 ads for Dark Reign. That's all.
* I've been a fan of Salvador Larroca's art and design since his work with Chris Claremont in the great collaboration in Fantastic Four Vol. 3 #4-32. But I'm not in love with the Mark 1616 armor in this series. It reminds me a bit of Brandy's armor from the old Rom Spaceknight comics.
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For those of you who didn't go to see Iron Man when it was released in 2008, here's a quick character synopsis: After terrorists capture billionaire genius Tony Stark and force him to provide them with weapons, he decides to use that time to build a powerful suit of armor to defeat his captors and escape to freedom. Seeing this experience as a powerful awakening, Tony makes it his mission to protect the world as the invincible Iron Man.
But what happens when he fails in this mission? When he was named head of S.H.I.E.L.D., the planet's foremost spy agency, it was Tony's job to protect the world from all threats, foreign and domestic. And although he lost a lot of friends in the superhero community during Civil War when he acted as the principal proponent for superhumans to register their identities with the government, he received much public adoration. But after the events of Secret Invasion, when aliens infiltrated every aspect of our society, that same adoring public tears Stark open like a lion would a gazelle. Even though Stark--along with every other superhuman on Earth--was able to halt the invasion, Stark's failure lies in letting the aliens get as far as they did and as close as they did in the first place. The world wants answers, and leading the committee on bringing Stark in for "questioning" is the man who now holds his old office: Norman Osborn.
As the man erroneously given all the credit for stopping the alien invasion, the former--and seemingly "cured"--Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, is given Stark's job as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (now H.A.M.M.E.R.). Osborn is in, and Stark is out. And priority No. 1 for Osborn is to get that list of all registered superhumans' identities.Read more ›
I still think the Lex Luthor as President and Norman Osborn as some super-powerful government employee have been a huge misstep for both DC and Marvel. Marvel still has a ways to climb after the mess of Civil War, and Norman Osborn isn't helping.
On top of that, there's the return of the token evil ex-girlfriend -- right after the token evil girlfriend (TEGF) in The Five Nightmares, the last story of Iron Man. While the first story's TEGF was just there to be there, at least in this story she serves a vital plot point, but it seems so generic that it's one of the weakest points in the story. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Tony Stark's story is a nice jog down memory lane. As much as it is a game of cat and mouse between Osborn and Stark, it's a reflection of how far Tony Stark has come as Iron Man. His mental degradation forces him to go from the pre-Extremis height of human/machine integration down through the ages until eventually he has to come back to the start of it all for him. The friends and enemies he meets along the way further his story, instead of merely being there to expand the scope of the story.
I think this story shines with Pepper Potts as well. She definitely gets her moments to shine, and her own story is not only a good one, it's just fun to follow. She even gets to step into her own suit, and it's a great bit of character interaction between Stark and Potts about her powers, the use of the suit, and the understanding they share about what she refuses to do. Compare this to All Star Superman, where Lois Lane gets Superman's powers for 24 hours on her birthday; the story becomes so underwhelming and about everyone but Lois Lane that I was left wondering why Grant Morrison even bothered.Read more ›
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