This is it! The (thrilling?) conclusion of our re-reading The Invincible Iron Man series, which has covered the entire Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca series over the course of — let’s see … one, two, three, four — five posts. Today, we look at the last year and a half worth of issues, which are collected in a trio of trades that see our hero facing off against his ultimate villain in an attempt to save the world from destruction. (Spoiler warning: He succeeds.)
Ready for the penultimate installment of our re-reading of writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca’s impressive five-year, 60-ish issue run on The Invincible Iron Man? Well, if not, you can always come back later when you are; it will be right here waiting.
Today we look at one official part of the run, and two more collections worth of Fraction-written Iron Man comics, which aren’t necessarily labeled as part of The Invincible Iron Man, because Marvel moves in mysterious ways.
Vol. 8 Unfixable (#501-503, Free Comic Book Day 2010 Iron Man/Thor, Rescue #1): With this volume, the drifting of the narrative glimpsed in the previous volume becomes more pronounced, with the bulk of the collection devoted to the next chapter of the Invincible Iron Man storyline and ending, mid-book, with a “Continued In FEAR ITSELF!” tag, and a pair of one-shots that sorta distract from the ongoing story (but certainly needed to be collected somewhere, if only for us wait-for-the-trade types) filling up the rest of the book.
In the title story, Stark is busily pitching his repulsor technology’s consumer applications, when he’s interrupted by “the post-life crisis ” of Spider-Man’s villain Otto “Doctor Octopus” Octavius, who, in the Spider-Man books of the time, had developed a terminal, degenerative disease and turned himself into a barely recognizable cyborg of sorts, his arms folded and legs tugged up like some sort of mummy awaiting burial, while a mass of mechanical arms did all his moving for him.
Today we continue our look at Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s The Invincible Iron Man run with the next three volumes, which contain another new direction for the series, and the several instances of people other than Larroca drawing the series for the first time.
Vols. 4 and 5: Stark Resilient Books 1 and 2 (#25-33 ): Like the 12-issue story arc “World’s Most Wanted,” “Stark Resilient” is such a long story arc that it takes up two trade collections.
When we last left Stark, his friends and allies had just reinstalled a back-up of his brain into his body after he was left in a vegetative state by his heroic efforts to deny Norman Osborn access to his most dangerous secrets. While the first two years of the book were devoted to following the Iron Man through-line of the publisher’s massive Civil War-to-Siege storyline, with the 25th issue Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca essentially get to start over.
Oh, good, you came back. Today we’re going to take a look at the first four collections worth of Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca and company’s The Invincible Iron Man, which accounts for the first 24 issues of the series and two of the several completely different (but narratively and thematically connected) directions the series took.
The Invincible Iron Man, Vol. 1: The Five Nightmares (#1-7): As I mentioned Tuesday, this title launched the same summer that director Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, opened, and writing a new, second title with Iron Man as the hero must have seemed a rather daunting task, given that Downey and Favreau’s cool, charming war profiteer turned warrior for peace bore little resemblance to the Marvel Universe version of the character of the time, whom writer Mark Millar had turned into the publisher’s greatest villain during Civil War and its aftermath.
With regular old prose books, it’s easy: If you want to read the books that inspired big-budget summer movies like The Great Gatsby or World War Z, you need only pick up the novels with the same name.
Comic-book superhero movies, on the other hand, are a bit more tricky, as they rarely adapt a single, standalone story, but rather cherry-pick characters, plotlines, designs and images from several different comic books by various creators and published in various decades, all blended together in a rebooted, remixed mélange of an adaptation.
So if you walked out of a theater in the early ’00s wanting to read the comics that Blade or X-Men or Spider-Man or Daredevil were based on, well, you’d have to do some research first, and you’d end up with a whole stack of comics for each, none of which really replicated the same tone, world or experience of watching the films starring those heroes.
Cognizant of that, Marvel gradually got better at producing new comics to sell to fans of its movies. Some of these attempts to align comic books more closely with their cinematic versions have been better than others, of course.
The best of these was probably The Invincible Iron Man by writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca, the 60-issue series that debuted in summer 2008, around the time the original Iron Man movie was in theaters, and concluded in fall 2012, just six months ahead of Iron Man 3, which, depending on contract negotiations, could end up being the final Iron Man film (it was certainly constructed as the end of a trilogy of films).
Comics are more than just drawing pretty pictures and great muscled physiques. They’re about telling a story, through sequences of images but also through the image itself. And British artist Rian Hughes has spent years figuring out how to tell a story, in sequential art as well as in standalone images, package designs and even fonts.
After bursting onto the comics scene as an artist in Escape and 2000AD, Hughes expanded his skills to become a designer and illustrator for comics in England, Europe and the United States. He went on to design a number of logos and mastheads for DC Comics, Marvel and Valiant, and his work on Wildcats 3.0 and Invincible Iron Man proved to be high-water marks for comic book covers. Image and Knockabout Books recently began reprinting some of Hughes’ early comics work, and this summer will see the release of an artbook chronicling his portraits taken from London’s underworld burlesque scene.
For this week’s “Conversing on Comics,” I spoke with Hughes about his forthcoming art book and other upcoming projects, and received a look at his past work, including a never-before-seen set of designs he created for Invincible Iron Man.
Morrison, Finch, Cornell, Paquette, Snyder, Daniel, Tomasi, Gleason, Scott…Larroca?: A Batman news round-up
Not since Bane broke all the lunatics out of Arkham Asylum has Batman had this eventful a week. Perhaps to avoid the avalanche of news coming out of San Diego next week, DC has spent the past few days announcing a slew of new Batman projects and creative teams. And heck, even Marvel got in on the act, sorta…
By Joshua S Hill
The way things pile up is probably not a new conundrum for comic book fans, especially those who have a hard time a) saying no and/or b) saying goodbye. The proverbial “stack” has become much less proverbial and more … verbial? Whether the stack is compromised of issues, TPB’s or a mixture of both with a healthy helping of prose books thrown in, the problem is the same each time:
Where oh where is the time to read it all?
Well, I finally found some time stuffed down behind the couch-cushions and decided to read through Invincible Iron Man volume 5, including the storylines “The Five Nightmares,” “World’s Most Wanted,” and “Stark: Disassembled.”
I really enjoy reading through a whole story, that’s why waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to finish ‘A Wise Man’s Fear’ is slowly killing me inside and why I refuse to read Invincible and Captain America in anything but the great big hardcover omnibus size (and let’s not mention the fact that I only just found out that there was an Invincible Iron Man omnibus from Marvel). So it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed reading through the first 24 issues of Invincible Iron Man.
And let’s be honest with ourselves. I could get distracted and talk about how in issue 25 Pepper Potts seemingly forgets that she was getting frustrated being Tony’s “girl-Friday” and I could mention the weird Hammer twins who are actually mother and daughter which just make it even freakier.
But I won’t.
Because those things detract from what I felt was a really fantastic story, and one that led me to asking one simple question: is Tony Stark still a dickhead?
Marvel is giving one of its core heroes a makeover. A new suit of Iron Man armor, set to debut following the conclusion of the “Stark Disassembled” arc in Matt Fraction & Salvador Larroca’s Invincible Iron Man, was revealed late last night at Marvel.com.
Billed as the brainchild of writer Fraction and Iron Man and Thor movie designer Ryan Meinerding, the new armor is a sleeker, slicker affair, which Fraction argues is a reflection of the ever-simplifying and streamlining nature of technology. “We were looking for something that felt as sleek and glossy as a sports car Tony Stark would covet,” he told the site.
Ol’ Shellhead takes his new look out for a spin beginning in April’s Invincible Iron Man #25.