Invincible Iron Man #12 Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Mike Deodato Colorist: Frank Martin Letters: Clayton Cowles Publisher: Marvel
In the shadows of event comics, it can sometimes become easy to overlook and forget about the current ongoing series of the crossover’s main protagonists/antagonists. As is the case with Marvel’s Civil War II and the flagship title of one of its central characters, the Invincible Iron Man.
Tony Stark has had his hands full as of late. From the stocks of his company Stark Industries crumbling to trying to woo an intellectual equal of his, Amara. From faking his own death to infiltrate a Japanese terrorist cell to declaring war with Captain Marvel over the new Inhuman, Ulysses. Oh…and his best friend Rhodey, aka War Machine has just been killed at the hands of Thanos.
After the previous storyline, which dragged on for far too long and it makes you wonder why it took this long to tie itself to the Civil War II story. Given that Tony Stark plays a central role in the crossover, one would hope that writer Brian Michael Bendis will use this as an opportunity to flesh out his thoughts and where he stands at mentally. How is he dealing with the death of his best friend? Or the death of his long time comrade in arms Bruce Banner? Other than a quick reference in only one page, Bendis doesn’t delve into any of this.
Instead he uses this 12th installment of this series to characterize child prodigy, Riri Williams. A teenaged genius who made her own Iron Man armor and just turned down a free ride at M.I.T., much to her mothers disapproval. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a strong character and when her and Tony are interacting with one another, its fun to watch play out. However we know through the Marvel NOW previews from last month that she’s being set up to become a superhero, as well as the new Iron Man/Woman.
If anything, this issue emphasizes the problem with creating large event comics, while still having its featured characters continuing their ongoing titles. There is just too much story to juggle and not enough attention is given to certain aspects of Tony’s life. Now, Bendis has to ignore those aspects to devote time to his quarrels with Carol Danvers, as well as setting up the aftermath of the confrontation. Civil War II has disrupted what began as a promising new series for this founding member of the Avengers.
Fortunately, this issue isn’t all negative, it’s tightly paced and there’s some genuine drama in this issue. As said before, the scene between Tony and Riri are authentic and its nice to see some solid moments with Mary Jane, but it just feels like there are some missed opportunities to really analyze Tony’s current psyche.
A comic can sometimes be of value with bad writing when the art is a big hit. Unfortunately, Mike Deodato is not the right artist for this book. His scruffy design of Tony Stark is both jarring and distracting. He’s visualized in a way that’s completely different from all the other books he’s featured in. Even the other stories that are also being written by Bendis, i.e. Civil War II and International Iron Man. Another bizarre design choice is that of the Williams family. Riri and her mother are nearly identical from one another, save for their hairstyle, that you’d mistake them for twins. Another distracting factor here is the coloring by Frank Martin. For some reason, every location is painted as if it were in sunset. From the rubbles of Stark Tower, to the University that Amara works at, to even billionaire Tony Stark’s workshop. Why is it so poorly lit?
Invincible Iron Man #12 has extremely little going for it and is beyond frustrating. The enjoyable moments are just too far in-between and at the end of the issue you find yourself asking, what was accomplished here? This issue is essentially filler at a time when there isn’t a panel to waste. Its debut issue was one of the best to come out of the new Marvel line-up post Secret Wars(2015), but now with the dragged out story-lines, interference from Civil War II, and poor artwork make this comic one to be passed on.
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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