And we’re past the “World’s Most Wanted” halfway mark. That’s right. This arc is going to be twelve issues long. I can still remember it all, though, and that’s always a good thing. Fraction’s opening issues were used to tell a self-contained jumping-on point for new readers, riding high from the movie’s fumes. Since then, Fraction’s Iron Man has been knee-deep in Dark Reign, with a few continuity references as well. Thankfully, thanks to the talent of Matt Fraction, I don’t think new readers will be lost, and it’s one of the few Dark Reign tie-ins that is above-average.
In this arc alone, Fraction has turned Invincible Iron Man into an ensemble book, taking Maria Hill and Pepper Potts along for the ride. I’ve never really cared too much about those women before, but you can bet I do now. Pepper has become a superhero, and a true one at that, since the only thing she does is help people. Her armor doesn’t even have weapons. And Maria is practically a female James Bond.
So, each issue, we see the slow progression of the three characters’ journeys. Tony meets up with an old Russian pal, Maria finds one of the few friends she has left, and Pepper? Well, Pepper always does the right thing, even if it is a bit naive. The pacing runs along nicely, and we never feel too overcome with exposition. As for Larroca’s art, I’ve complained about it enough. I will say, though, that the one part of this book’s look that bothered me had nothing to do with Larroca. The lettering in this issue is bad. All of the captions, for all three characters, are too uniformed, and when you throw in a narrator as well? It’s just a complete mess.
Thanks to three main characters, we’re chugging along a bit slowly, but almost every issue features new players, laughs, and plenty of fun. This issue is no different. The last page is a nice cliffhanger, even though it does feel a bit forced.