INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #593
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencillers: Stefano Caselli & Alex Maleev
Colorists: Marie Gracia & Alex Maleev
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 10/18/17
Plot: Since the end of Civil War II, Tony Stark has been in a coma. However Tony’s body is missing, and it’s up to Riri Williams (a.k.a. Ironheart) to find him. Fortunately she has help from Mary Jane Watson, Amanda Armstrong (Tony’s birth mother), and the A.I. Friday. Meanwhile Victor Von Doom discovers all the super villains he arrested have escaped Ryker’s Island.
Story: Since this issue is the first part of a longer arc, it mostly lays ground work. The majority of the issue is Tony’s recent entourage discussing how to find his body. Also there isn’t much of a recap so this can be confusing to new readers or any reader returning to Invincible Iron Man after a long absence. While this can be tiresome, this does fit Bendis’s plotting style. Usually Bendis will set up his stories and tell them at a smooth and steady pace. Ultimate the group’s conversation ends when Friday suggests they call Doctor Doom for assistance.
Unfortunately Doom’s appearance in this issue is brief. He doesn’t interact with Riri or the others. Doom basically just goes to Ryker’s and investigates the breakout. While there, Ben Grimm appears and reminds Doom about his villainous past. The breakout feels counter productive to the end of Infamous Iron Man. It would have been better if happened after this arc concluded. Now it just feels like Bendis is including it so he can wrap it up quickly. Also I’m willing to overlook the Thing’s useless appearance because his dialogue was well written. Given these two characters history, you can feel the anger and hate in Ben’s voice. Even though the plot is a little weak, Bendis still has great skill when it comes to dialogue.
The ending of the issue is really intriguing. It shows an unknown individual crawling out of a pod and slowly crawling to a case containing an older Iron Man suit. As this man moves he’s in pain until he’s able to put the armor on. The most obvious theory is that this man is Tony Stark. However that doesn’t mean it’s the original Tony. Originally I thought this could be the Tony Stark from the Ultimate universe. The man’s pain as he moved reminded me of Ultimate Tony’s original origin involving his skin laced with neural cells which caused pain when exposed. However Ultimate Tony’s only post-Secret Wars appearance just involved him and the remaining Ultimates searching for their version of Reed Richards in space (see Ultimates #100). Overall, this is an engaging mystery and it’s the reason I’ll be reading the next issue.
Art: This issue’s artwork is moderate. I didn’t understand why we need Alex Maleev to draw the few pages featuring Doctor Doom. Usually I don’t mind two different styles in the same issue if it’s for a flashback or other dimension. However this time it feels very inconsistent. This isn’t a criticism on Maleev’s work because I did enjoy the way he drew the Thing’s face reflected in Doom’s mask. Doom’s emotionless mask is a good counterpoint to Ben’s emotionally driven speech. Plus it’s a good way to show Ben’s face without focusing on Ben the entire time.
There are also a few action scenes featuring various heroes helping with the search for Tony Stark. These scenes are a great way to add some excitement to the issue. Plus since the issue is mostly a conversation between Tony’s allies, the letterboxes are a great way to progress the discussion without having the entire focus on four characters talking in one room.
Verdict: Invincible Iron Man #593 is a slow start. The issue is mostly a conversation that sets up where this story could go. This is not friendly for new or returning readers. Doctor Doom only has a brief appearance that is average at best. However the book’s ending creates an interesting mystery to encourage readers to get the next issue. Hopefully the next Invincible Iron Man issue will progress the story in an exciting manner.
Rating: 3 out of 5