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.