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Invincible Iron Man #21: Review

Dec 2009
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

Stark: Disassembled Part 2: Digging in the Dirt

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #21 Review by (June 13, 2012)
This is part 2 of a 5-part story. We're still in Dark Reign, and our characters are hiding out in Broxton.

The mention of Dr Strange in the blurb is premature. He doesn't appear until next issue.

The Cube is a prison that was mainly known for holding Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr). It featured in Civil war and Secret Invasion. But in Dark Reign Norman Osborn took it over to use as a base (and also prison) for his villainous Thunderbolts team. (By then Noh-Varr was in Osborn's Dark Avengers.)

Ghost's new phasing-by-phone system obviously doesn't need to use physical phone lines. He's calling from a mobile phone. And in #23 he threatens to come out of Madame Masque's mobile phone.

Also, an interesting point, when he uses the phone, the phone itself will be transmitted with him.

Captain America hasn't been Reborn long. I'm not sure if Pepper knew about it. She's been busy and out of touch lately. But she doesn't act that surprised.

Cap's not made many appearances since he let Bucky continue as CA in Who Will Wield The Shield. And as far as I know they've all been last page cameos. In New Avengers Annual #3 he popped up to lead the Avengers fightback against Osborn. In Marvels Project #8 Steve gives Angel (Thomas Halloway)'s mask and guns to his grandson. And in Dark Avengers Annnual #1 he and Bucky consider recruiting Protector (Noh-Varr) to their side.

Cap is in uniform. This is before he converts to the Super-Soldier getup post-Siege. But he's carrying his shield, which actually the Bucky Cap has. The script suggests Cap hasn't yet met up with Bucky and the others, so he's had no chance to borrow it off him.

War Machine hasn't been seen since his 2nd mini-series, after he was in our #11.

I still don't believe Pepper's selfish dilemma. It isn't true that she's spent her whole life doing Stark's bidding. She spent a long time away from him, married to Happy. Until they both  came back to work for him.

Pepper's implant is now called a Rand/Stark combo, presumably to resolve previous conflicting statements that it was Stark tech or Rand tech.

I don't understand why Stark needs Pepper's chest implant. He says his brain has forgotten how to work his body. I can see that when he gets his brain pattern reloaded this will only recreate his consciousness, not the basic autonomic functions. But I can't see why he needs a power source. And the power source doesn't contain a program capable of replacing the non-conscious brain functions. Possibly the remnants of Extremis in his body will play a part, though this isn't made clear to me.

Maria found the disc at FuturePharm in #13 because it was FuturePharm that developed the Extremis virus, and that's where Stark underwent the Extremis process in Iron Man (2005) #4. So that's where he recorded his brain pattern.

This issue it turns out Stark's plan required Cap's shield. It seems that's all he needed Cap (Bucky) for. So Tony's instructions to Maria Hill back in #10 weren't really to get the hard drive and give it to Bucky, but to collect both drive and Bucky.

So everyone was there to do their bit. But Cap (Steve) wasn't needed at all. Except of course that he inspired Pepper (and everyone else). And the symbology of Cap/Iron Man/Thor being together again means that Dark Reign is on the way down. So this inspires me to give this issue a 5.

Madame Masque will skip next issue but she'll be back in #23 to insist Ghost completes his job.

*** The rest of the Comments are earlier versions of parts of this Comment that I can't get rid of.


Captain America hasn't been Reborn long. I'm not sure if Pepper knew about it. She's been busy and out of touch lately. But she doesn't act that surprised. Cap's not made many appearances since he let Bucky continue as CA in Who will wield the shield. And as far as I know they've all been last page cameos. In New Avengers Annual #3 he popped up to lead the Avengers fightback against Osborn, and in Dark Avengers Annnual #1 he and Bucky consider recruiting Protector (Noh-Varr) to their side. The 3rd such appearance that the Marvel Chronology Project mentions isn't anything to do with dark Reign. In Marvels Project #8 Steve gives Angel (Thomas Halloway)'s mask and guns to his grandson. Cap is in uniform. This is before he converts to the Super-Soldier getup post-Siege. But he's carrying his shield, which actually the Bucky Cap has. The script suggests Cap hasn't yet met up with Bucky and the others, so he's had no chance to borrow it off him.

This is part 2 of a 5-part story. We're still in Dark Reign, and our characters are hiding out in Broxton. The mention of Dr Strange in the blurb is premature. He doesn't appear until next issue. The Cube is a prison that was mainly known for holding Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr). It featured in Civil war and Secret Invasion. But in Dark Reign Norman Osborn took it over to use as a base (and also prison) for his villainous Thunderbolts team. (By then Noh-Varr was in Osborn's Dark Avengers.) Ghost's new phasing-by-phone system obviously doesn't need to use physical phone lines. He's calling from a mobile phone. And in #23 he threatens to come out of Madame Masque's mobile phone. Also, an interesting point, when he uses the phone, the phone itself will be transmitted with him.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #21 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark, in his persistent vegetative state, is still having his recurring dream where he's trying to unearth an Iron Man chestplate in a desert, accompanied by his long-dead parents. Some of his robotic creations keep stopping him, but eventually they get the armour out.

Tony has difficulty trying to put the chestplate on. His parents persuade him to let them help him. Tony has always had problems asking for help.

Meanwhile Madame Masque has asked the Ghost to find and kill Tony for her, against Norman Osborn's explicit orders. Ghost is one of Osborn's Thunderbolts team, and is supposed to be confined to the Cube. But he's an expert at getting in and out of places.

Masque knows Stark is in Broxton, where Asgard is currently located. And she suspects he will have hero friends around him. She gives Ghost a laptop that will use satellites to detect use of Stark tech, and pinpoint the building it's in. She also gives him a device made by the Tinkerer which will allow him to use his phasing power over a phone connection.

In Broxton Tony's body is accompanied by Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, Black Widow, Captain America (Bucky) and Dr Don Blake (Thor).

Pepper is still agonising over whether to agree to bring Tony back to sentience. Her life has always been subservient to his, and he even got her husband Happy killed. She wants a life of her own.

She asks for a sign from on high, and the 'dead' Steve Rogers Captain America walks in!

Jim Rhodes has brought him, along with Dr Lisk, the man who gave Pepper her chest implant in #3.

Cap says he's here to help restore Tony. And Pepper's doubts wither away.

Pepper agrees to let Dr Lisk transfer her chest implant into Tony. It is the only functioning repulsor power source left. Stark needs it because his brain has forgotten how to work his body.

Pepper doesn't need it to keep her alive anymore (its function in #3). But she'll lose the enhancements it gave her. And it also powered the Rescue suit. But Tony's recorded instructions suggest that he'll be able to build her a replacement later if she wants one.

During the operation the 2 doctors, assisted by the AI JARVIS in the Rescue armour, find that the Extremis process (Iron Man (2005) #4) has made Stark internally somewhat cyborg.

Now we finally find out what the hard drive Stark sent Maria Hill to get in #10 is for. Before undergoing the Extremis procedure, Tony backed up his brain onto it!

The docs hook the drive to the socket in the back of Tony's neck (that he used during the process that wiped his brain in the last storyline). Now they need something to kickstart the repulsor power source.

Rhodey uses his expertise to cannibalise the Rescue armour for stuff, and attaches Stark's chest implant to Cap's shield. And Thor channels his hammer's power through the shield. And Tony wakes up.

But Ghost, in the Cube, detects the activation. He phones the hotel they're in, and materialises, invisible, by the phone there.


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Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank D'Armata
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Rian Hughes (Cover Inker)
Frank D'Armata (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Ralph Macchio.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Dr Lisk.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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