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Invincible Iron Man #6

Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Matt Fraction
Salvador Larroca, Frank D'Armata (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Invincible Iron Man #6 arrives in stores tomorrow, October 8.

And thus ends "The Five Nightmares," Matt Fraction's first story arc in Invincible Iron Man. And I got to say it went out with a bang, both literally and figuratively.

Picking up directly following last month's cliffhanger, this issue begins with Zeke Stane thinking himself the winner in a battle of brawn vs. Tony Stark, but you soon come to find out he is horribly mistaken. I mean who really thought Tony might go out that easily? Well in true Tony Stark fashion he planned ahead for this fight and gets Zeke caught in his checkmate. I thought the plot development for how Tony evades death was actually rather inspired and a great use of the Iron Man mythos. It makes complete sense and actually feeds into how Stark is great at multi-tasking and using every available resource at his disposal. I won't spoil it here, but it's a pretty bad-ass reveal.

What follows is basically an epic fight scene that takes up most of the issue's page count. Even though this battle includes fists flying, it's more a match of wits as Tony monologues to himself about his foe's nature as well as the type of hero he has to become to fight terrorists like Stane. In a lot of ways Tony Stark and Zeke Stane's relationship mirror that of Superman and Lex Luthor's. Like Luthor, Zeke Stane has the cognitive capacity and brain power to actually make a difference, but he chooses to expend his resources and smarts on petty things like getting rich. I really like what this story arc has done for Stane's character, and I hope to see him continue to be built up and become Tony's true equal and nemesis. None of this Mandarin crap.

I also enjoyed the art in this issue more than I usually do because most of the issue is spent on a bunch of Iron Men kicking the crap out of Stane, who is also encased in a suit. I do feel the art drops exponentially once Tony and Stane continue the battle outside their respective armors, as well as every time the scene cuts to Pepper or Maria Hill feedings Tony intel. However, by the time Tony strips from his Iron Man armor the story is so tense and moving at such a fast pace that the lacking art never pulls you out of the story. I just think Larroca needs to put a little more definition into his figures to help guide the rest of his art team, namely Frank D'Armata, his colorist. If you look at the panel of Tony sans armor hovering over a beaten and bloody Stane, you will notice that Tony's chest is defined completely by Frank D'Armata. Larroca simply drew where pecks and abs are supposed to be and moved on. I think that's a really sloppy move for a penciller/inker to make and the final product shows it. D'Armata is doing the best he can from the simple outlines and in trying to compensate for Larroca's lack of definition, D'Armata over does the coloring and every human figure looks like a plastic doll.

Because this issue was mostly comprised of a fight sequence, it does read rather fast. The issue is also very well paced which makes the pages fly by even faster maybe leading you to question if your $3 was well spent. Well, I'm here to reassure you that it was. "The Five Nightmares" has been one of the better Iron Man arcs I have read in recent memory, and I hope Fraction's hot streak continues on this title so I can enjoy some more Iron Man stories of this caliber.







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