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Invincible Iron Man #600: Review

May 2018
Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

The search for Tony Stark: Finale

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4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #600 Review by (May 27, 2018)
This is Brian Bendis' last issue of Iron Man. Dan Slott takes over the new series with a new art team.

This issue has multiple art teams so who drew what? This is what I reckon:-
Stefano Caselli did the largest part of the issue, pages 1-3, 5-10, 35-37 and 40.
Alex Maleev as usual handled Doom apps, pages 23, 27-31 and 38-39.
David Marquez did the resurrection of James Rhodes in p4-7.
Daniel Acuna took the meeting of Amanda Armstrong and Jude in p11-14.
Leinil Francis Yu was inked by Gerry Alanguilan for p15-18 - Hood and Doom on the yacht.
Jim Cheung did the attack of the Iron Men double-spread on p19-20.
Mark Bagley, inked I think by Andrew Hennessy, covered the battle in p21-22.
Mike Deodato continued the battle to p24-26.
Mark Bagley came back with inker Scott Hanna for Mary Jane's scene in p32-34.
And Andrea Sorrentino did the future scene on p41-43.
The colourists aren't so easy for me to identify. Alex Maleev and Daniel Acuna did their own. I can associate Marte Gracia with Stefano Caselli, and Marcelo Maioli with Andrea Sorrentino. That leaves Guru-eFX, Romulo Fajardo and Rachelle Rosenberg to be distributed among David Marquez, Leinil Francis Yu, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato and Mark Bagley.

Who moved Tony's body in #593? Most of the characters have been searching for him, and that includes Leonardo da Vinci. It wasn't Friday but the Tony AI claims to have known where Stark was so I'd guess he arranged the move.

Punisher and Rhodey both have War Machine armours at the moment. It looks like Iron Man will take the WM armour off Castle at the upcoming end of Punisher's Legacy series. So maybe that occurs before this issue and IM gets the armour for Jim to wear here.

Last issue it seemed Amanda knew Jude wasn't dead and had made a deal with him to stay away. That seems to have been forgotten this issue, but maybe it'll resurface in the new series.

In his earliest period Hood was powered by Dormammu but later he got replacement powers from certain objects. In the new multiverse he has supposedly been powered by the Asgardian Norn Stones but now he's back to demonic possession again, but maybe not by Dormammu.

Other members of Hood's gang clearly seen are Answer, Armadillo, Brothers Grimm, Chemistro, Crusader, Cutthroat, Deathwatch, Graviton, Griffin, Jigsaw, Madame Masque, Mandrill, Piledriver, Rampage, Razor-Fist, Scarecrow, Shockwave and Vermin
Also portrayed are Blackout (killed in Secret Empire) and Corrupter (killed in #596).

Leonardo da Vinci was a prime mover in the Brotherhood of the Shield in Jonathan Hickman's SHIELD series, which never directly linked to the later SHIELD organisation (unless the long-delayed last issue makes a connection). But Secret Warriors #25-26 revealed how he organised the Great Wheel of the Zodiac, which later splintered into SHIELD and other groups.
With Brian Bendis leaving Marvel completely what will happen to Leonardo's new SHIELD?

The final future pages are taken directly from All-New X-Men (2013) Annual #1 (with a slight change in dialogue placement). In Uncanny X-Men (2013) Annual #1 Tempus lived for some years in 2099 (the future from the 2099 comics of the 1990's) where the Sorcerer Supreme was female X-character Magik with the Nightcrawler-like Wagner as her servant. In the ANXM Annual she went slipping through time again and when she got back she found herself in a different 2099 where Wagner served the Tony Stark Sorcerer Supreme.
This was TSSS's 1st app. But he reached back in time to Victor von Doom in Infamous Iron Man #8-9. And Riri Williams travelled to his future the Generations: Iron Man & Ironheart 1-shot.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #600 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue is narrated throughout by the Tony Stark AI who reminds us of all the plotlines that have led here.

He's based in Ironheart's armour and was created by Tony Stark to help Riri Williams grow into her role. But he was also created as a faithful copy of Stark's mind without a human body to temper his ego.

For years Stark had been upgrading his own body/DNA to keep pace with his evolving armour. When he should have died (at the end of Civil War II) these enhancements saved his life but put him in a coma while his body 'rebooted'.

Tony's best bud James Rhodes/War Machine was also killed (at the start of CWII). We saw in previous issues that Tony really missed Rhodey's help while he was recovering. Now he figures that if he can come back from death maybe Rhodey can too. Last issue we saw him in Iron Man armour standing over Jim's grave. The voiceover confirms that Tony dug him up. (But strangely we see James in armour too. Surely he wasn't buried in it?)

Tony blames himself for his friend's death - he is responsible for Rhodey getting into the armoured superhero biz. On the other hand Jim was a soldier who died a heroic death against big bad Thanos. He might not want to come back, especially with the risk of being a zombie. But he has so much to come back to, including the love of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. (The AI marvels at the world humans have created which has such moral quandaries in it.)

Whatever, Stark goes ahead and does it. And Jim Rhodes wakes up. His immediate reaction is to ask why he's hairless. So is Tony - it was a side-effect of his reboot process and so presumably that's what happened to Jim. (Ignoring the fact that his body should have started decomposing by now. Unless that's a side-effect of being buried in superhero armour?) Tony checks Jim's not a zombie by asking if he craves brains.

Stark's AI assistant Friday makes a cameo app asking why Tony didn't let her help.

The Tony AI takes us next to catch up with Ironheart. But 1st he muses how all the AI's in the culture Stark was brought up in always tried to kill or rule mankind. This AI's Tony-ego certainly tempted him down that path (as hinted at in #5 of the preceding Iron Man series).

AI Tony reminds us how Riri Williams was guided to team up with Toni Ho (Iron Patriot) and a couple of other armoured heroes to help look for real Tony. And last issue the pair were led to meet the man behind the scenes - Leonardo da Vinci. Now he assures them he *is* *that* Leonardo. Riri and Toni want to know how come he's alive and not ancient, but he just claims to be a master of space and time.

What's more important is that he helped found SHIELD and then let it evolve into its own thing. Now that SHIELD has been disbanded (again) (after being corrupted by Hydra in Secret Empire), he's starting up a replacement.

On a tour of the facilities they run into Blade, who da Vinci sent to recruit Ironheart in #596. He's overseeing the martial arts training of some other recruits (who Marvel Wiki informs us are Cloud 9, Reptil, Striker and Trauma of Avengers Initiative and/or Academy). Riri figures her armour makes martial arts irrelevant for her, until Blade takes her down.

Then Miles Morales joins them with his parents Rio Morales and Jefferson Davis. (For some reason Cable is with them.) Although his parents know he's (a) Spider-Man he appears not to want them to know about him being in the Champions with Riri. Cue much whispering between the Miles and Riri as they exchange info about the situation.

The Tony AI's next stop is with Tony's birth mother Amanda Armstrong, ex rock star and Agent of SHIELD. Tony's real father was another SHIELD Agent Jude who really worked for Hydra. She killed him to protect her unborn child who she then gave up for adoption (by Howard and Maria Stark). But last issue Jude turned up alive and wants to see his son.

Amanda rings Tony (who just left her to dig up Rhodey so the resurrection can't have taken *too* much time) to ask him to come back for something important. Jude claims Hydra saved/resurrected him but he's been operating behind the scenes since then to maintain the fiction of his death. Amanda assumes he's here to kill her now, but he says he's had opportunities to do that before and not taken them. Amanda wants to know what he wants with Tony. And someone arrives who wants to know the answer to that question too.

But the AI switches our attention to Eric Lynch on Tony Stark's yacht. Lynch is scheduled to take over Stark Enterprises tomorrow but he's being pressured by Hood and a lawyer (and Hood's gang led by Wrecker) to give the villain Power of Attorney, and then resign as CEO to give Hood control. Hood hates Stark and Victor von Doom (currently in the role of Iron Man), who he mistakenly believes are working together. He expects this will mess up their 'plan'. And he intends to turn SE into his own criminal organisation.

But just as Lynch is about to sign the yacht is attacked by a horde of Dr Doom's and/or Doombots of various types. Some of the Doom-alikes turn out to be illusions. Hood uses magic to find the real 1 ...

... but then Iron Man, War Machine and a load of remote-controlled old IM armours join the fight. Hood still targets Victor von Doom in *his* Iron Man armour. Tony rescues him and asks why Victor is impersonating him. Victor is just surprised Tony's alive. Several armours target Hood as Tony gets Amanda's message.

The AI Tony psychoanalyses Doom for us. His witch mother messed him up and then got sent to Hell. Victor conquered the universe (sort-of, in Secret Wars III) and then discovered it wasn't worth it. He then turned to the side of light and took on the role of the missing Iron Man.

But now Hood in demon-mode has blasted War Machine out of the sky with magic. Tony dives to save his friend but demon-Hood grabs him by the leg and his magic invades IM's systems. Rhodey has recovered but before he can act Iron Doom rockets demon-Hood into the stratosphere.

The battle is mostly over. Stark and Rhodes confront Eric Lynch who resigns from the Stark Enterprises Board and promises to go away. Tony then jets off to see what his mom wants.

Doom and Hood continue to fight in the sky. Hood thanks Victor for leading him down this path. He never would have thought of taking over SE. Now he can use the company to turn the world against superheroes. The old Doom would love the idea. Doom fights back and Hood's voice says that Parker Robbins is just a body he's borrowed. If Doom kills this 1 then he'll take over another - such as Stark. But Doom doesn't stop. The demon begins to panic because Victor is using spells too powerful for mortals. It fights back in desperation asking von Doom why he's fighting for the heroes. And the battle reaches a crescendo.

But we leave it and return to Amanda and Jude. They have been interrupted by Mary Jane Watson, Stark's executive assistant. Amanda explains that this is Tony's father who has made her call Tony into a trap. Jude now has a gun so MJ shoots him in the shoulder with a hi-tech light weight weapon Stark gave her. So now Hydra goons drop in from a hovering troop carrier.

But MJ isn't alone. Ironheart, Iron Patriot and her 2 armoured pals (1 of them is Madison Jeffries) bring the fight to Hydra alongside Spider-Miles, Blade, Cable and another armoured figure. Jude is about to shoot Amanda in the back when Iron Man and War Machine arrive and blast him. Colonel James Rhodes also calls in the military.

Amanda tells Tony Jude is his father, and he obviously wasn't dead (and he isn't now). Riri explains that the extra armoured figure is Leonardo da Vinci. (Her 2nd armoured pal doesn't take his helmet off or speak so Tony doesn't appear to know it's his brother Arno Stark.) The other Champions Hulk (Amadeus Cho), Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) and Viv Vision appear to have also been in the battle. (Nova (Sam Alexander) isn't with them but he leaves the team in an imminent issue. I don't know why Wasp (Nadia Pym) isn't here unless she's too small to see.)

Riri also tells Tony that Leonardo has a plan for the future, and Stark wants in. But he still also wants to know why Victor von Doom was playing Iron Man.

AI Tony takes us 1 last time to see Doom's lacerated body crawl within the ruins of his Latverian castle. His face is scarred again, possibly worse than it was pre-SWIII (because we don't actually know how bad that was or wasn't). Energy cloaks the ruins.

The AI says it's decided not to take over the world to save humans from themselves. He enjoys the suspense of not knowing the future. What's Jude been doing and what does he want? Will Leonardo's big idea work? What will Rhodey, Riri and her Armour Squad do? What about Doom's unborn son (we haven't seen Amara Perera this issue)? But because he's an accurate copy of Tony he *knows* what Tony's future is. (And how much of this will be followed up by Dan Slott in the new series?)

Then we get a glimpse of (a) future. In 2099 Eva Bell (Tempus of the X-Men) visits a mansion to be met by Wagner, a besuited Nightcrawler who doesn't know her. She pushes past him a demands to see the (female) Doctor. But Dr Strange is a man. But he's not Stephen Strange. He's Dr Anthony Stark, Sorcerer Supreme.

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Marte Gracia
Chris Sprouse (Cover Penciler)
Karl Story (Cover Inker)
Edgar Delgado (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Eric Brooks)

(Amadeus Cho)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Victor von Doom)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Kamala Khan)

(Miles Morales)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Amanda Armstrong, Champions, Cloud 9, Eric Lynch, Friday (Friday Stark), Iron Patriot (Toni Ho), Ironheart, Jude, Leonardo da Vinci, Madison Jeffries, Mary Jane Watson, Reptil, Striker, Tempus (Of X-Men), Tony Stark AI, Trauma.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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