Invincible Iron Man #23

The inner journey of Tony Stark continues, as malevolent forces begin to gather outside the tornado shelter hideout in Broxton, Oklahoma. As "Siege" draws more titles into its sway, "Invincible Iron Man" brings the penultimate issue of "Stark: Disassembled" on-line.

Fraction provides insightful, existential conversation between Stephen Strange and Tony Stark, as Pepper Potts and Maria Hill share an "ah-ha!" moment that doesn't bode well for Tony, should he emerge from his coma. To make matters worse, the Ghost has sharpened his mad-on for Tony Stark and is lurking through the streets of Broxton.

Salvador Larroca and Frank D'Armata have been nearly inseparable in their contributions to the visuals on this title since it began. In this issue, however, Larroca leaves a little to be desired -- maybe it's the lack of iron-clad heroes, or the desolate environment of a tornado shelter. Either way, this issue doesn't carry the same visual punch as many previous issues. It carries D'Armata's near-trademark warm-hued palette filled with oranges, yellows, and reds, but it doesn't spring off the page. The most visually exciting scenes are the bits with the Ghost, whose updated appearance is welcome.

This book is clearly perched on the edge of the "Siege" crossover extravaganza, but first it needs to clear up some dangling threads. Fraction and crew seem perfectly set to do so, but aren't going to stop their own stories in the meantime.

This series has been in gear since it started. Even with the lead character mentally compromised, the stories have been solid. This is a testament to Fraction's writing, Larroca and D'Armata's art, and the splendid cast of characters put in place around Tony Stark. I look forward to where this book goes from here. With the second movie mere months from debuting, this title is poised to deliver great Iron Man stories. Right now, however, it needs to tidy up so those upcoming stories can be enjoyed by even the most casual of Iron Fan.

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