This week's "Invincible Iron Man" #13 by Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin and Clayton Cowles is a must-read for those entrenched in "Civil War II." Serving as a tie-in to the Marvel Comics event, the issue clears up a major character moment that wasn't explained in the main series: Why Tony Stark wasn't present for the death of his best friend, James Rhodes, AKA War Machine.
The issue delves into the many struggles Stark's dealt with in the lead-up to the event. Clarifying that much of the conflict in the series hadn't been resolved by the time the "Civil War II" erupted, the issue justifies Stark's absence at Rhodey's funeral with a culmination of everything terrible that's been going on in his life.
Prior to "Invincible Iron Man" #13, we saw Stark almost die in an undercover mission to Japan, and a rebellion against the genius billionaire, courtesy of Stark International board members.
Additionally, Victor Von Doom (or Doctor Doom, as most of us know him) has been floating around Stark Industries lately, getting between Stark and his girlfriend, scientist Amara Perera.
Well, in Invincible Iron Man #13, we learn that Stark's relationship with Dr. Perera isn't going so smoothly:
We then get a scene where Mary Jane -- Stark's right-hand associate in the current run -- confronts Tony about Rhodey's funeral, where we see him, in anguish, react to his friend's death, along with a flashback depicting Rhodey's incredible friendship over the years.
So it seems the challenging events of "Invincible Iron Man," coupled with his incredible grief, rendered Stark unable to attend his best friend's funeral. And, considering the solicit information for the next few months, the event could have a permanently debilitating effect on the character -- since he appears to no longer be Iron Man after "Civil War II."
We'll have to wait until "Invincible Iron Man" #14 to see how Stark's grieving process plays out when it hits stands on October 5.