Invincible Iron Man #3
TONY STARK BREAKS BAD! No one is safe around Tony Stark! A close friend is dead, and the culprit looks to be Tony himself! But who is the real murderer? And why are they trying to frame Iron Man? All this, plus…a new armor for War Machine!
Welcome back Iron Man fans, we’re three issues deep into Gerry Duggan and Juan Frigeri’s Invincible Iron Man run, and we get one step closer to who is creating Tony’s current headache. Tony continues with his downward spiral after relapsing at the end of his last series, leaving him in financial ruin, and his reputation continues to tank to the general public, especially after the death of the bystander when his brownstone was destroyed in the first issue. Then he was accused of experimenting on the Living Laser, who attacked Tony and Riri in the last issue. Can things get any worse for our hero?
The beginning of the issue Duggan and Frigeri go on to introduce the world to Zhong Wei, the former head of Stark Unlimited, who was found dead at the end of last issue. The team does their best as they try to flesh out this character who was just introduced in the last issue, but it’s a decent attempt. This character dates back to the Silver Centurion armor, which was essentially the beginning of the David Michelinie and Bob Layton run on the character (the team is arguably THE best Iron Man creators in his 60 year history), and the lead up to the first Armor Wars story.
For those who haven’t read the original story, the Armor Wars storyline was Tony going on a rampage targeting other armored characters to see if they used his technology, and employed a device that would destroy any of the Stark tech that was included in their suits. Didn’t really matter if they were an ally or an enemy. It put him at odds with a lot of characters, including the West Coast Avengers, and Captain America, who was going through his own existential crisis, began calling himself the Captain, while John Walker was the ‘new’ Captain America, at this time. A few years later, as John Byrne and John Romita Jr. were tasked do an Armor Wars II, which had little to do with the original storyline, but the team did add Namor adversaries, Phoebe and Desmond Marrs, who, like in Namor, used their vast fortune and duplicitous nature to become a thorn in Tony’s life. There’s a reason I’m giving you all this history lesson, and I’ll get to it in just a second.
So, as stated above, there’s a reason I brought up both of the Armor Wars, and that’s because it’s pretty clear in the story that’s what this team is building to, and Tony even brings it up in his inner monologue while giving us the backstory on Zhong. There’s also a War Machine lead film that’s currently in development called…Armor Wars, so I’m getting where this is going. I’m not sure which story this will be drawing most inspiration from, based on using Living Laser, who was one of the more pivotal “classic rogues” used in AWII, as well as Feilong’s involvement mirroring the Marrs’ role in the story, but also we’re expecting to see someone (Feilong I’m assuming) using Tony’s tech to create the Stark Sentinels that was hinted at in the Timeless one shot earlier this year. I hope whatever we get is something as big and ambitious with what little we know about it.
Unfortunately this issue was just kinda…meh for me. Duggan’s portrayal of Tony and Rhodey’s relationship just doesn’t hit the mark. These two are supposed to be as tight as can be, but Rhodey’s not being used as he probably should be. Tony’s going through some heavy stuff, but there’s no one here who is trying to save Tony from Tony. Another thing that just didn’t land was Zhong, and his death. I understand that Duggan tried to give his death some gravitas, it just didn’t land. If we got someone, like Mrs. Arbogast, Andy Bhang, or someone who has some actual character development, I’d understand, but this just felt like this was filler to pad the story to draw out the suspense.
In a run that’s hit the right notes in the first two issues, hit a road bump with this issue. The character Duggan’s using missed the mark, as I really don’t have the connection to him that we should. Duggan needs to get a better handle on Tony and Rhodey, because it felt cold and sterile. The issue overall felt more like a filler issue to pad a trade for the story, but Frigeri’s are really pulled things together.
Invincible Iron Man #3: Come on, Tony, Oh, I swear (what he means) at this moment you mean everything
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10