If you were to ask me what one of my all time favourite comic book runs, Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s Invincible Iron Man goes on that list immediately. Summer 2008 was a good time to be an Iron Man fan. The first Iron Man film had been released in May and then this wonderful comic began weeks later. At first, it looked like it was going to be just another Iron Man book filled with typical Tony Stark adventures. After all, he’d just become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Sure there was another company-wide event coming up but who figured that fifty issues later that Tony would hit another huge low in his life? He’d just lost his best friend. Things clearly had to go up from there.
As a writer, Matt Fraction really succeeds at getting inside of Tony Stark’s head and also at fleshing out the supporting cast and really letting some of them grow. He does a particularly good job with both Pepper Potts and Maria Hill right off the bat and also writes a good Rhodey. Fraction also shows a respect for the mythos of the character. He boils down it down to its essence for this 60 issue run but still injects new life into and tells new stories.
One of the best things about this book that really helped it stand out was the consistent creative team. In the current comic book world, that doesn’t happen very often as artists seem to be switched every arc or so to keep up with a tough publishing schedule. It helps give the story a sense of continuity and feel like the one long story that it is.
The short version of this retrospective review is that not only did it hold up against my memories of the book but it actually exceeded them. It was only in retrospect that I fully appreciated all the plotlines and details that Fraction wove into the story right from the beginning. It is a cohesive story that every Iron Man fan should read and it is the book that I would absolutely recommend to a new reader who wants to know more about the hero. I’d also recommend the Annual #1 for anyone who wants to read up on The Mandarin before Iron Man 3 comes out in a few weeks.
The long version of this is filled with spoilers about each individual story arc so read at your own risk!