In a persistent vegetative state, Tony Stark manages to do a pretty good job of carrying this book. I say carrying because the titular character, Iron Man, is nowhere to be seen save for the “Iron Man Saga” backup. In this case, the “Saga” story is a nice add-in for those coming late to the “Invincible Iron Man” party. As the media blitz goes through its pre-flight diagnostics for the next feature film, this “Saga” addition will surely come in handy.
The main energy of this story is a post-mortem (of sorts) message delivered from Tony Stark to the those he considers allies — Captain (Bucky) America, Black Widow, Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, and Dr. Donald Blake. Juxtaposed with Tony’s own voyage through his mind, this story doesn’t seem to really contain much on the surface. It does, however, do a terrific job of setting up things to come. Tony leaves it up to those assembled to determine his final fate. Without hesitation, most of the characters agree that Tony needs to be “rebooted.” One character’s resistance, while initially shocking, is quite human in its origins and makes more than a little sense. A little extra tension to help the story along and raise a moral dilemma never hurt anything.
Larroca’s art on this issue is the softest it’s been yet. His figures are little more than outlines as much is expected from the colors of D’Armata, who delivers, but it leaves the book feeling half-done. It is certainly the good half, to be certain, but it still feels incomplete. The best art of this issue is Madame Masque’s conversation with the Ghost.
This book has been firing on all repulsor rays for quite some time now, so this issue — which is the “start” of a new storyline – seems like a letdown. In actuality, this issue is simply Fraction sharpening the blades of the gauntlet waiting for Tony Stark and his allies as Norman Osborn gains a little more confidence. This is a nice transition from the pace of the “World’s Most Wanted” story, but this story needs to pick up soon as Iron fans surely feel a need for some stories that are more immediate in their start to finish.