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Invincible Iron Man #514: Review

Mar 2012
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

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Story Name:

Demon 5: Melt

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #514 Review by (March 26, 2012)
Tony Stark's strategic prowess (symbolised by chess) has been a feature of Matt Fraction's era since his first Iron Man storyline The Five Nightmares (that I'm currently documenting). Tony suggests that he's known the general thrust of Mandarin's plan all along, and is at least one step ahead of him. Understandably we haven't been told this earlier, to maintain suspense. But even in this issue things seem contradictory. Early in this issue Stark tells Rhodey he's only just realised what's going on. Last issue (2 weeks ago Marvel-time) his thoughts claimed that he'd only just worked out that Mandarin and Stane were behind things. But then near the end of this issue he says he knew everything 3 weeks ago, when he (supposedly) had the drink, and deliberately played along. Will it turn out next issue that he never got drunk after all?

This is part 5 of what has long since stopped being referred to as Iron Man's section of Shattered Heroes. There are Dreadnoughts on the cover. Are there Dreadnoughts inside? No! The publisher's blurb continues to be equally misleading. It isn't clear that Mandarin actually is in America. And there's certainly little sign of Bethany Cabe and the mole. The gap of 2 weeks between last issue and this allows room for other events. In particular I have a suggested chronology to fit this storyline in with the Avengers one I'm also chronicling. Av#18 immediately follows Fear Itself. IM#510-513 start a couple of days later. Then Av#19-24 happen in the gap before this issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #514 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It is 2 weeks since Iron Man was 'escorted' home from China by War Machine and the Detroit Steel Corps. Tony Stark has been ordered by the government to submit the last 3 months of diagnostic data from the Iron Man suit, which will include proof that he was drunk in charge of the armour during Fear Itself. He delivers the data on paper, in 19 monster trucks.

Stark discusses the situation with his security chief Bethany Cabe. Mandarin, Ezekiel Stane and Justine Hammer (and Gen'l Babbage) are conspiring against him. They released the information that the alcoholic hero fell off the wagon during Fear Itself. Stark and Cabe know there's a mole in Stark Industries, but not who it is. But even the Mole shouldn't have known about the drinking.

Meanwhile Mandarin and Stane have been sending upgraded bad guys against Iron Man. So far Blizzard, Living Laser and Dreadnoughts.

Now the young new Melter is being prepped for action. Stane has made it so that he can project melting beams (which seem more like disintegration rays) from his hands. Blizzard reminds Melter that Stane has also put remote-controlled bombs inside the villains. Mandarin and Stane check that he's mentally prepared.

Stark is playing chess against Jim Rhodes. Jim doesn't really know how to play, but the game just gets Stark in the right frame of mind to plan a strategy against Mandarin.

Gen'l Babbage and Justine Hammer come to gloat. They know he got drunk because *they* sent him the bottle. And they'll soon find the evidence in the documents which Tony considerately arranged in date order. They offer to withdraw the charges against him if he'll agree to install an inhibitor in his suit. It will transmit his biometric data to Babbage and Hammer, allowing them to shut down all but survival functions if he tries to operate it drunk.

Tony refuses, but they leave the device with him and Pepper Potts to check that it only does what they say. After they leave, Tony installs it in his suit.

Before we get to see Melter in action, Iron Man faces an upgraded Whirlwind. He is on the point of beating Whirlwind when Babbage and Justine disable the suit, allowing Whirlwind to escape.

Meanwhile Melter causes a scene in town. Tony asks Justine to let him go to tackle Melter. But Babbage has already sent his own agent Jim Rhodes as War Machine to handle it.

However we are privy to Stark's thoughts during this. He worked out that the villains were plotting against him *before* his drunken spree, and deliberately gave them an 'unforced error'. But he and Rhodey are in cahoots. And Tony believes he has outplanned Mandarin.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank D'Armata
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Frank D'Armata (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Bethany Cabe, Blizzard, Ezekiel Stane, General Babbage, Justine Hammer, Melter (Bruno Horgan), Whirlwind (David Cannon).

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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