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Invincible Iron Man #14: Review

Jun 2009
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

World's Most Wanted Part 7: The Shape of the World these Days

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #14 Review by (May 30, 2012)
Part 7 of 12 of the story behind Iron Man's no-show in Dark Reign.

The Marvel Chronology Project and the Index put a large gap between this issue and the last, with lots of Norman Osborn activity and these are some of the highlights. He fought War Machine for control of Ultimo technology in WM's 2nd series. (Part of this storyline appeared to have Tony Stark doing business as usual, but it turned out to be his cousin Morgan.) He tried to transform his son Harry into his armoured protégé American Son in Amazing Spider-Man #595-599. He formed the Dark X-Men, and was involved in the X-Men's exodus to Utopia island. He tried to subvert Captain America's rebirth in the Reborn mini-series.

While all this was going on Norman was running his Thunderbolts team including a crossover with Deadpool and another with Secret Warriors. He also ran the Dark Avengers including the Utopia xover with the X-Men, fighting the New Avengers and several members having their own mini-series. There was also a continuing conflict with Punisher.

Recently Osborn made a list of people he wanted dealt with, which played out through a series of Dark Reign: The List 1-shots. I began with DR:L Avengers (mainly Hawkeye), included DR:L Punisher (where Dark Avenger Daken cut Frank Castle into pieces, leading to the FrankenCastle series) and ended with DR:L Spider Man. After that he lead the DAv as Iron Patriot into Might Av #32-33, and in Daredevil #504 he began to suffer the consequences of DD taking control of the Hand ninjas in DRL:DD.

But now back to the current story.

Stark is supposed to be destroying caches of Iron Man armour so they don't fall into Osborn's hands. The ArmorMap showed lots of sites still active last issue. Probably Tony destroyed a lot in the gap.

Tony Stark is now in a different, much earlier armour than before. The idea is that he's been working his way back through ever-simpler armours as he mental state deteriorates.

While she's supposedly been looking for Stark, Madame Masque has also been with Hood in his Dark Reign: Hood mini-series and New Avengers #52-60. But then Hood has also been in loads of other Dark Reign stories without her, so that left her plenty of time for Stark-hunting.

Black Widow hasn't been inactive during Dark Reign. She's been having adventures with Captain America (Bucky), with Thunderbolts (including both xovers) pretending to be then *other* Black Widow, featured in her own Deadly Origin, and figured strongly in CA: Reborn. After that she cameoed in Nomad: Girl Without A World and Wolverine: Weapon X #10.

This Crimson Dynamo is Dmitri Bukharin, the 5th and longest-running person to wear the armour and name. He débuted in Iron Man #109 and often served as part of the Soviet Super-Soldiers and then the Supreme Soviets. In Soviet Super-Soldiers 1-shot due to political in-fighting after the fall of the Soviet Union Valentin Shatalov was given the CD armour and DB was given new armour as Airstrike in the renamed group People's Protectorate. However whenever he appeared in the PP it was as CD despite VS appearing as CD in the same period. But he hasn't been seen since Hulk #393, and others have used the armour since then.

I presume Dmitri doesn't give Tony his *only* Crimson Dynamo suit.

But I don't know how come he's important enough to have the power to refuse HAMMER entry to Russia.

I'm not sure how exactly various people are tracking Tony. JARVIS seems able to detect the use of (modern) Stark tech, but this obviously doesn't apply to the Crimson Dynamo armour, and probably not to the older Iron Man suits Tony's been wearing lately. So maybe he can only detect when Tony uses stuff in an armoury like that at Kirensk.

I think HAMMER can't track any Iron Man suits (but strangely they can track the Rescue armour). But in #10 Tony said HAMMER would know whenever he powered up one of his armouries.

Presumably JARVIS and HAMMER could both track Stark through the armouries I figure he's visited since last issue. So why didn't Pepper go to any earlier ones? And why didn't Osborn send Madame Masque to any of them?

In fact Osborn and Masque have been proceeding even more strangely. Osborn showed Masque the Armormap computer system last issue, detailing where all Iron Man's armouries were. But they don't seem to have been actively using it to chase Tony. Instead Masque appears to have gone off on her own, because Norman doesn't know where she is and what she's doing this issue until she rings him up. And somehow she's arrived at Kirensk at the right time.

***** The rest of the comments after this are an old copy of parts of this comment.


But now back to the current story. Stark is supposed to be destroying caches of Iron Man armour so they don't fall into Osborn's hands. The ArmorMap showed lots of sites still active last issue. Probably Tony destroyed a lot in the gap. Tony Stark is now in a different, much earlier armour than before. The idea is that he's been working his way back through ever-simpler armours as he mental state deteriorates. While she's supposedly been looking for Stark, Madame Masque has also been with Hood in New Avengers #52-60. But then Hood has also been in loads of other Dark Reign stories without her, so that left her plenty of time for Stark-hunting. Black Widow hasn't been inactive during Dark Reign. She's been having adventures with Captain America (Bucky), with Thunderbolts (and Deadpool), featured in her own Deadly Origin, and figured strongly in CA: Reborn (in more or less that order). This Crimson Dynamo is Dmitri Bukharin, the 5th and longest-running person to wear the armour and name. He debuted in Iron Man #109, but he fell out of favour with the Soviet rulers and was stripped of the armour in Soviet Super Soldiers #1, but took up new armour as Airstrike. Several other people have briefly used the Crimson Dynamo name since then. But now Dmitri seems back in favour with the post-Soviet regime, and back in the armour. I presume Dmitri doesn't give Tony his *only* Crimson Dynamo suit. But I don't know how come he's important enough to have the power to refuse HAMMER entry to Russia.

At this point , as I write this, we are surfing the breaking wave of the Marvel Chronology Project and the Official Indexes (which have an overlap of creators). As it says in the last Wolverine Index issue, the chronology for 2010-2012 has mostly not been worked out yet. One of the reasons for this is long storylines like this one. With the average story these days being 6 issues (designed for later collections), you have to wait a couple of years before being sure how to fit the various series all together. And I also find that the leading edge of the chronology is uneven and chaotic. Some parts cover Siege, others don't even venture into 2009's Dark Reign. And what's there is quite sketchy and sometimes contradictory. All the evidence that does exist suggests that the compilers have placed all pre-Siege Dark Reign before this issue and the following ones. So for instance all of Steve Rogers appearances between CA:Reborn and Siege are listed before here. This has the effect that, after his reboot in the next story, Tony Stark leaps straight from his hospital bed into Siege as Iron Man. I don't see the absolute necessity for this. I could envisage some Cap appearances moved to after this sequence. And some of Dark Reign, e.g. the Dark Reign List stories. This would give Tony more recovery time.

Part 7 of 12 of the story behind Iron Man's no-show in Dark Reign. The Marvel Chronology Project and the Index put a large gap between this issue and the last, with lots of Norman Osborn activity. He fought War Machine for control of Ultimo technology in WM's 2nd series. (Part of this storyline appeared to have Tony Stark doing business as usual, but it turned out to be his cousin Morgan.) He tried to transform his son Harry into his armoured protege American Son in Amazing Spider-Man #595-599. He formed the Dark X-Men, and was involved in the X-Men's exodus to Utopia island. He tried to subvert Captain America's rebirth in the Reborn mini-series. Along the way he fought off attacks by Zodiac in the Dark Reign: Zodiac limited series, by Ronin in Dark Reign List: Avengers, and by Punisher in his own series and Dark Reign List: Punisher. And lots more stuff. CA: Reborn has to be placed this early. It's publication date coincides with the end of this storyline, where Tony will be reduced to a vegetable, and the start of the much shorter next one wherein he gets rebooted. But Cap plays a role in the reboot, and there is no gap between this issue and that story, so Reborn has to happen before now.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #14 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and Maria Hill have been pursuing individual courses in their resistance to Norman Osborn's Dark Reign. In this issue Tony and Pepper will reunite.

Tony has been moving between his secret armouries, switching to ever-older versions of the Iron Man armour. The armours are powering the process which is gradually wiping his brain out. This is the only way to destroy the last copy of the Superhero Registration Database, stored in his brain, to keep it out of the clutches of Norman Osborn. The process is reducing his mental acuity, which is why he has to use older simpler Iron Man suits. He's now back to Model 4 from Tales of Suspense #85.

He's currently flying over Russia, and gets shot down by Crimson Dynamo. Dmitri Bukharin is Tony's friend, but initially he doesn't believe it's him even after removing the Iron Man helmet. Because Stark has shaved his head and moustache as a disguise.

But after some convincing Bukharin takes Stark and the now-dead armour to his base. Tony wants to get clear across the ex-Soviet Union to one of his armouries near Kirensk (near the site of the Tunguska explosion) in Irkutsk, a part of the Russian Federation. Dmitri gives him a Crimson Dynamo armour, and Tony flies openly to his destination, sometimes with an official escort.

Maria is also disguised as she makes it to New York by bus. She makes contact with Black Widow.

Pepper is also in New York, in the Holland Tunnel to avoid tracking devices. She is meeting the ex-SHIELD doctor, Dr Lisk, now gone underground to hide from Osborn and HAMMER, who installed the device in her chest that powers her version of the Iron Man suit. He's giving her a check up.

Pepper's been using the armour to help in disasters. The suit's AI JARVIS alerts her that he's detected possible signs of Iron Man in Russia. But first she goes on another mercy mission, now using the nom-de-armour Rescue.

After dealing with an exploding grain silo Pepper heads to Kirensk, despite this violating the terms of her release from HAMMER (last issue). HAMMER tracks her, and Osborn asks Col Bukharin for permission to send HAMMER troops after her and Stark. But Dmitri rudely refuses.

Pepper too gets brought down by the Crimson Dynamo armour. And once again the occupant, a somewhat befuddled Tony, doesn't realise who he's facing. He thinks it's a HAMMER agent, despite having given the armour to Pepper. Pepper unmasks to reveal who she is. But Stark is still about to shoot her.

Osborn is contacted by Madame Masque, the agent he did send after Stark last issue. She's also in Kirensk, and has them in the sights of her sniper rifle.


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Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank D'Armata
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Warren Simons.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Crimson Dynamo (Anton Vanko), Dr Lisk, H.A.M.M.E.R., Ms. Hand, Norman Osborn.