IIM 11 cover

Invincible Iron Man #11 should have been an action-packed extravaganza with War Machine, Captain America, Nova, Ms. Marvel, She-Thor, Vision and War Machine all joining forces with Tony Stark to destroy “Techno Golem” and her network of terror. Writer Brian Michael Bendis had other things in mind — action for Riri Williams, and a tepid climax for Tony. Long-time readers should be chafing.

Here is what you need to know for IMM #11:

  • Stark’s board of directors hire corporate saboteur Ghost to break into Tony’s lab and override his servers.
  • Mary Jane informs the board that she is Tony’s new Executive Administrator. She wards off the hostile takeover by telling everyone that Stark is secretly working on new products.
  • Riri Williams tests her new suit during a prison break outside New Mexico State Penitentiary.
  • Tony meets “Rhodey” at a secret meeting place to ask why the Avengers are flying around Osaka, Japan. He soon realizes that he is speaking to Ms. Marvel in shape-shifted form. She informs him that a rescue operation is taking place.
  • The Avengers, War Machine, and S.H.I.E.L.D. launch an assault on the bio-hack ninjas that nets Zhang but misses the big fish “Techno Golem.” The action (that is being generous with the term) is a single shot that takes up two pages.
  • Tony poses as “Franco” in a prison cell with Zhang and asks where “Techno Golem” went. Zhang says she feels betrayed, but that the woman could be “anywhere” and will ultimately destroy S.H.I.E.L.D.

The best way to describe Invincible Iron Man at this point is disappointing. It had so much potential, but Mr. Bendis essentially over-promised and under-delivered. There needed to be serious action in IIM #11, and instead it was just talking…and more talking…and Tony scratching the back of his neck while in deep thought.

It’s nice to have witty and intelligent banter, but at some point it seems like endlessly watching two cats pat around a ball of string.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the issue is that it takes place before James Rhodes dies in Civil War II (i.e., the timing called for something special that never transpired).

This was a “rescue” operation to bring Tony out of hiding and wipe out a deadly foe, but readers are not given a memorable battle for a man who has meant so much to Mr. Stark. Instead, the book features Riri Williams punching the engine of a getaway vehicle in the desert, and a snapshot of the Avengers in action.

“That was my first superhero thing. I’ll do better next time,” Ms. Williams says after sending two convicted felons through a windshield. Meanwhile, Rhodey must embarrassingly hem and haw when he is informed that he captured the wrong High Value Target.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger wrote “Invincible Iron Man: Bendis’ superb work lures back old Tony Stark fan” on Oct. 22, 2015. I published positive reviews in the months that followed, but somewhere along the line the book began to offer diminishing returns. My guess is that Mr. Bendis has been allocating the bulk of his creative energy to whatever he is doing with Riri Williams behind the scenes.

If you are a fan of Tony Stark, then I suggest staying away from Mr. Bendis’ efforts until the billionaire has his undivided attention.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

15 comments

  1. Bendis is like the incredibly hot chick you’re on a date with, who promises action and excitement all night, teases you and builds up the heat in your blood, leaving you shaking with anticipation and excitement. Only to just lay there and tell you to ‘hurry up’ in the moment of truth…assuming you even get there.

    1. “Bendis is like the incredibly hot chick you’re on a date with, who promises action and excitement all night, teases you and builds up the heat in your blood, leaving you shaking with anticipation and excitement. Only to just lay there and tell you to ‘hurry up’ in the moment of truth…assuming you even get there.”

      You’re a brave man for using that analogy to describe Bendis, my friend! Haha. 🙂

      When I was in college there was this girl who came to my apartment and wanted to take a “nap” with me, but she made it explicitly clear she just wanted to “cuddle” and take a “nap.” I told her I don’t “nap” with girls during the day because I have stuff to do. I don’t waste my time. Needless to say, she never came around again and I met my future wife soon afterward.

      My roommate had a very similar experience. I could do a blog post on this topic. My wife always tells me to do stuff like that…but it doesn’t really fit. I wish I could share some Army tales, but then things would get really weird.

  2. I had to comment one more time:

    “It’s nice to have witty and intelligent banter, but at some point it seems like endlessly watching two cats pat around a ball of string”

    Yeah man. That’s Bendis. He’s done this to everybody. That dialogue now just fills me with dread…dread that we are the string.

    1. “Yeah man. That’s Bendis. He’s done this to everybody. That dialogue now just fills me with dread…dread that we are the string.”

      I liked Secret War years ago, and for a time I enjoyed The New Avengers (although I admit it also was at times painfully slow). Maybe my “break” from comics put an unrealistic sheen on Bendis’ work? I don’t know.

    2. “I liked Secret War years ago, and for a time I enjoyed The New Avengers (although I admit it also was at times painfully slow). Maybe my “break” from comics put an unrealistic sheen on Bendis’ work? I don’t know.”

      I liked Secret War, but I never cared for his run on New Avengers. Basically, in “Avengers Disassembled,” he killed off mainstays like Hawkeye and Scott Lang and destroyed the team so he could put his pet characters (Luke Cage, Sentry, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, etc.) onto the team. I didn’t mind Spider-Man or Luke Cage being on the team, but Wolverine was on way too many teams already at the time.

      Another thing I didn’t like about New Avengers is that it was, like you said, slow. Not only that, but the story never seemed to go anywhere and more often than not it got caught up in crossover after crossover. That, and Bendis’ dialogue is terrible. Every character he writes talks like a stereotypical valley girl.

    3. “I liked Secret War, but I never cared for his run on New Avengers. Basically, in ‘Avengers Disassembled,’ he killed off mainstays like Hawkeye and Scott Lang and destroyed the team so he could put his pet characters (Luke Cage, Sentry, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, etc.) onto the team.”

      Yeah, I totally get that criticism. I can’t fault a guy for not liking the lineup. I initially thought I would hate it but I came to like the idea of these loners former a team.

      This may sound mean, but I always hated Hawkeye. I don’t even really like him in the MCU… Jeremy Renner looked fat (for a superhero) in the last two movies. They’re paying the guy an insane amount of money and it looks like he doesn’t adjust his diet, doesn’t do any cardio, and maybe goes to the gym once in awhile if he feels like it. It appears as though he does the bare minimum to say he fulfilled his contractual duties.

  3. And all these guys are supposed to be captives in Regent’s secret lab, right? Does Marvel even employ editors anymore?

    1. “And all these guys are supposed to be captives in Regent’s secret lab, right? Does Marvel even employ editors anymore?”

      Wanted: Marvel Editor. Must excel at slapping writers on the back while telling them they are infallible geniuses. Flexible hours, nap room provided.

    2. “And all these guys are supposed to be captives in Regent’s secret lab, right? Does Marvel even employ editors anymore?”

      Back when Marvel actually produced good comics on a regular basis, there weren’t as many continuity issues as they are now. You’d think that such things would come up during one of their little “retreats,” but they’re more focused on patting each other on the back than they with creating good stories.

      ““And all these guys are supposed to be captives in Regent’s secret lab, right? Does Marvel even employ editors anymore?”

      That’s what editors are for, to reign in writers if they go too far. In Marvel’s case, it seems like they’re completely nonexistent now. No one bothers to tell Bendis and Slott that their ideas, frankly, suck and they should go back to the drawing board.

    1. “Doug, you didn’t make the post title deliberately sound sexual, did you?”

      Haha. I did wonder if people would think that or not. I didn’t want to put “action sequence” or “action scene” because the headline was already long enough, but I wanted to make sure “Riri” and “Tony” both made it into the headline for SEO purposes.

    2. The post title made it sound like Tony had an unsatisfying sexual encounter. Erectile dysfunction perhaps?

      I shuffled around the headline a few times and just wasn’t liking anything. It was around 11:30 p.m. EST. and I was like, “I’m just going with it.” I didn’t set out to make it sound sexual, but I was cognizant of it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle a little bit.

    3. “Yeah, I kind of went along, lol”

      You played along too well, Chuck! 🙂 Do you realize how long it will get the image of Bendis saying “hurry up” out of my mind? I did not want that in there.

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