Guest Author - Eugene Bradford
In Invincible Iron Man #520, Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca conclude the arc which sees Tony Stark and the government as the targets of a plot conspired by some of his deadliest enemies. Mandarin has united with Justine Hammer and Ezekiel Stane to take down the armored Avenger. As a result of this, Tony Stark removed the armor from his body in declaration of his quitting as Iron Man. He has also relinquished control of Stark Resilient, resolving to refer to it simply as Resilient.
The Mandarin’s attack on Stark and the government presses along in “Long Way Down Part 5: The Dead And The Dying.” Many of the characters in Stark’s supporting cast are present (with varying degrees of panel time) and it would seem that there is quite a bit happening. That may sound overwhelming but Fraction makes it work. He’s wrapping up a few plotlines with some of the conspirators. To avoid spoiling the story, those won’t be mentioned here.
Doug Johnson, the former pilot of Detroit Steel who was thought dead, is quite clearly alive and has finally regained the controls of the mech which gave him purpose. This of course does not sit well with Justine Hammer who unleashes the Steel Corps on him. While this is going on, the new Iron Man (James Rhodes a.k.a. Rhodey) and Tony are fleeing from Chemistro and Mauler.
Larroca and Frank D’Armata deliver another good-looking book. There is one particular segment which sticks out to me and that’s when Sasha Hammer is engaging Doug Johnson once he’s reacquired the Detroit Steel mech. Due to her recent augmentation she is able to wield energy whips from her fingers. Once I came across this sequence it immediately reminded me of Steve Ditko’s art in Amazing Spider-Man #33. In that issue, Spider-Man struggles to lift the wreckage which has trapped him. Sasha and Johnson’s tussle differs in that it is of a shorter duration and separated by other sections of the story. Despite the brevity, it allows Larroca’s pencils to shine.
D’Armata’s colors are as lively as ever. He especially shows out in the panels with Rhodey and Stark as they tangle with his nemeses. The energy given off from the armor as well as the blasts from the villains make the panels pop. Once Johnson is inside the Detroit Steel armor, D’Armata work shows again as he gives those panels a reddish tint. It gives off the look of a lit cockpit.
The name of Tony Stark’s company has taken on a more powerful meaning as of late. Stark and company have been resilient in their fight as Mandarin’s assault gains steam and as the book continues to be a hit. The ending, laid out well by Fraction and Larroca, will leave you in anticipation of the next issue as “The Future” begins. I liked this issue and would easily recommend it to regular Iron Man readers. If you've been on the fence and can find the previous issues, I would recommend those as well.
I purchased this comic book with my own funds.