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Invincible Iron Man #19: Review

Oct 2009
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

World's Most Wanted Conclusion: Into the White (Einstein on the Beach)

Review & Comments

5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #19 Review by (June 5, 2012)
This is the last of the 12-issue World's Most Wanted, wherein Stark spent most of Dark Reign on the run from Norman Osborn, destroying his own brain to keep it out of Osborn's hands.

It's a rousing conclusion to the story, which gets it a 5 from me.

This issue is also the first at the new price $3.99.

Agent Walsh is taken on again by SHIELD when Osborn and HAMMER are defeated, and reappears in the Stark Resilient story.

I see why Osborn didn't kill Stark on TV. But I don't see him letting Stark live later, and meekly letting his body go.

Captain America (Bucky Barnes) cameos here after his cameo in #17. But he'll have more to do in the next 3 issues. As will the next char.

Dr Blake is of course the alter-ego of Thor, and Broxton is where Asgard is currently located. Thor has recently fought Dr Doom in Thor #604-606 to bring his people back from Latveria, followed by his 2009 Annual where he fought Egyptian Gods. Then his latest app was Mighty Avengers #34 where he rescued Loki from that team's clutches.

Pepper Potts obviously joined Maria Hill and Black Widow in Maria's quest from Stark to deliver a harddrive to Captain America (Bucky). We're never told how they knew to go to Dr Blake. But next issue we learn that JARVIS has instructions for them left by Tony. So probably JARVIS directed them to Broxton.

The next 5 issues Stark: Disassembled will see various characters help to put him back together again. And we'll find out what's on that harddrive.

These issues will also take place during Dark Reign, because Tony's back in the armour for the Siege event.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #19 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Victoria Hand has discovered the real Madame Masque trapped inside the Crimson Dynamo armour that HAMMER retrieved from Tony Stark's destroyed Tunguska base. She now realises that it must be Pepper Potts behind Masque's mask. Hand orders Potts found and killed before she has to inform Norman Osborn, or she may not survive Osborn's anger.

Maria Hill can't believe that she and Black Widow have just been rescued from HAMMER captivity by Stark's secretary Pepper. But they're still stuck inside Avengers Tower, which Osborn has taken as his HQ. Pepper redons her Madame Masque disguise and intends to bluff their way out.

Meanwhile the AI JARVIS in Pepper's Rescue armour, currently stashed in Osborn's armoury, has uploaded a virus to disable all Stark tech in the building, including Osborn's Iron Patriot suits sharing the armoury with him. 'He' has also located where the Stark hard drive is, that Tony had tasked Maria with delivering to Captain America (Bucky Barnes).

The 3 women are about to go get the hard drive when Hand issues an emergency shoot-to-kill broadcast (strangely she doesn't actually specifically mention Pepper/Masque). Pepper tells JARVIS to go after the hard drive, while the 3 prepare to surrender.

Meanwhile Osborn is flying over Pakistan in an Iron Patriot suit (unaffected by the virus) looking for Stark in an Iron Man armour. He is being guided by Agent Walsh from the HAMMER helicarrier. Unfortunately (for Osborn) the ex-SHIELD agent has had a bout of conscience, and has been sending him in the wrong direction. And Norman can't get in touch with his right-hand woman Hand.

As Osborn rages inside his helmet, Stark is shakily on the way from Afghanistan to Dubai in the simple original prototype bulky grey armour (or a copy thereof). His brain is almost completely wiped by the process he initiated in #9, to destroy the last remaining copy of the Superhero Registration Database (stored in his brain by the Extremis process) and other critical data.

But unfortunately (for Stark) Walsh's supervisor spots what's going on. He has Walsh arrested, and sends the true data to Osborn. Norman changes direction, and can tell he's catching up with Tony. So when Victoria Hand reluctantly confesses what's been happening at Avengers Tower, he calmly forgives her and tells her to sort it out.

Pepper and pals are trapped in an open lift. Natasha pushes the button to close the doors and HAMMER troops open fire. Pepper uses her chest implant to magnetically deflect most of the bullets and they duck the rest. As the lift rises towards the hard drive, Pepper tells JARVIS (who has infiltrated the tower's computer system) to keep the lift working.

Meanwhile (again) Stark's armour and brain are both almost dead. He is reduced to walking the rest of the way, still in the armour. Osborn arrives and starts a fight. He is amazed at the crude armour, and also at Stark's refusal to fight back. It's taking all the fun out of it!

But despite that, and the Hulk-like speech of Stark's dying brain, Iron Patriot prepares to pound him to death.

The 3 unarmed women have no idea what's on the hard drive. But if Tony said it was important, then it must be. Maria and Natasha separate from Pepper, and burst into the room where JARVIS detected the drive, ready to fight hand-to-hand whoever's guarding it. But it's just a bunch of techies, who give up immediately.

Pepper reaches JARVIS and the Rescue armour. She suits up and blasts her way out of the building. On the way out JARVIS tells her he has alerted the media to Osborn's fight with Stark in Dubai.

Hill and Widow leave with the hard drive, but are immediately surrounded by HAMMER troops. Maria calls on those who are ex-SHIELD, and reminds them what they once stood for. And that she was their superior officer.

Osborn has removed Stark's helmet, and is about to kill him in full view of hovering news helicopters. Stark's only response, with the dying embers of his brain, is "I win". But Victoria Hand contacts Osborn and tells him not to do it. Not while the world is watching!

Stark's body is taken on board the HAMMER helicarrier, where he is declared in a persistent vegetative state. Osborn can't get at the Superhero Registration Database, or the secret of Stark's repulsor power systems.

Osborn tells the doctor to pull the plug on Tony's life-support. But the doctor says they have to follow Stark's living will, and contact Dr Donald Blake. Osborn reluctantly allows it.

Dr Blake takes the call in Broxton Oklahoma, surrounded by Maria and Natasha (presumably Hill's stirring speech had an effect), Pepper and Captain America.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Christopher Walsh, H.A.M.M.E.R., Ms. Hand, Norman Osborn, Victoria Hand.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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