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Invincible Iron Man #517: Review

May 2012
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

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Story Name:

Long way down 2: How to make a madman

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #517 Review by (May 20, 2012)
Obadiah Stane has the jewel in his forehead again (see #512). I still don't know how that fits in with the Stane we knew and hated. Maybe it's all in Ezekiel's mind? Pepper may say her Rescue armour has no weapons. But its AI JARVIS has taken some offensive cyber-actions before now. Doug Johnson was Hammer Industries' original Detroit Steel, who was turned to stone by Grey Gargoyle in Paris during Fear Itself. When he recovered from that his memories were damaged. We last saw him in #513 obtaining an illegal passport to get home the USA. I don't know whether he knows that Sasha Hammer has taken over as (lead) Detroit Steel. OK so Sasha wasn't pregnant last issue, but her yoghurt had been drugged. (It's so much easier doing this for old issues, where you know what later issues are going to reveal.) Why couldn't she have called Justine herself. I don't know why Bethany would assume Spymaster is her mole, even with him using Pimacher's ID. We don't see what's inside the box Pepper has, but the glow makes it look like the Extremis stuff. Firepower was one of Mandarin's army in #513, so the Somali pirates are another tentacle of his villainous empire. Who's in the new super-suit? The glimpse of the face tells me it's not Tony or Pepper, and anyway they should be heading for Seattle not Somalia. It's probably Jim Rhodes, who's currently pretending to be dead as War Machine in order to be Stark's secret weapon.

This is part 2 of 5 of what was billed as Tony Stark's fight back against Mandarin, Ezekiel Stane and Justine Hammer. But future previews, and the title, suggest that we're still on the losing side. I think I need to try and sort out what's what with the Extremis armour stuff. FuturePharm invented the Extremis nano-virus in Iron Man (2005) #1. It rebuilds you as a super-soldier with a healing factor (internally somewhat cyborg?). Tony modified it and took it himself in #4. His modification allowed the undersuit of his armour to become part of him, stored in his body. He could mentally command the undersuit to form, and mentally draw the outer armour parts into place. It also gave him better control over the armour. Secret Invasion rendered the Extremis armour inoperable. Tony still had Extremis inside, but couldn't use it to control the old Iron Man suits he's wore during Dark Reign. His brain wipe and reboot during that period made his brain unable to work his body. But he installed a repulsor power source to do that for him. And in Stark Resilient he built an even better Extremis-controlled suit that was completely stored within his body. It is that suit that Mr Fantastic has just removed. I believe Tony's body still has its Extremis enhancements. I don't know whether he still has the Extremis virus in him.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #517 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A large part of this issue is a compare and contrast between Tony Stark and Ezekiel Stane.

It starts with a flashback to 4 year old Zeke. His father Obadiah is trying to make him do better than Tony did at that age, and punishing him when he fails.

At a similar young age Tony has dismantled his grandfather's pistol to see if he can make it work. His father Howard refuses to help him. He started so he'll have to finish.

Cut to now in Mandarin City, and Zeke is using remote-controlled devices to remove the bomb Mandarin put in his chest. And using his hatred of Stark to overcome the pain. Eventually he succeeds.

In the present Tony has invited Justine Hammer and Gen'l Babbage to the Baxter Building to watch Reed Richards remove the Extremis armour stuff that is stored within his body. This too is painful, and he blacks out.

When he wakes up he hands over the extracted glowing golden 'liquid' stuff to Hammer and Babbage, but tells them it's dead and they won't be able to use it for anything. Pepper Potts threatens them with legal action and forces them to take their inhibitor off Tony's chest. Since he resigned as Iron Man last issue, and no longer has the Extremis armour within him, they no longer have the right to monitor him for being drunk in charge of the armour.

Justine and Babbage express some doubt about whether they have really witnessed Stark shedding the Extremis armour. But they comply with the request. Babbage threatens to come after Pepper's armour too. But she reminds him it isn't an offensive suit, but designed for rescue missions only.

That night the original Detroit Steel Doug Johnson, mentally confused after Fear Itself, breaks into Sasha Hammer's apartment. Sasha recognises him and asks him to call her mother Justine and tell her she's been drugged. But the intruder seems intent on killing her.

Meanwhile Spymaster uses his ID as Len Pimacher to enter Stark Resilient HQ overnight. He locks the site down, and attacks Pimacher's boss Carson Wyche. But he is interrupted by Security Chief Bethany Cabe, who has at last found the mole she's been looking for. Cabe sustains a flesh wound in the ensuing gun battle. But Wyche uses the diversion to KO Spymaster with a heavy piece of equipment.

Stark is recovering from the operation. He apologises to Reed for bringing his problems to the Baxter Building. Reed asks if he has a plan. Tony is evasive, but Reed recognises his chess-playing face.

Tony still has the repulsor tech chest implant which keeps his body running, but which was damaged in Fear Itself. But Pepper has a superior replacement in a box, and Tony wants Reed to replace the faulty one for him.

Pepper gets a call alerting her to the goings-on at the Seattle HQ, and Tony asks Reed to do the operation now, so he can go sort things out.

And off the coast of Somalia some pirates get backup from the armoured Firepower. Until he is downed by a new flying figure, with boot jets and firing blasts from his hands. The person inside the new suit claims it is one of Tony Stark's creations.

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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)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Bethany Cabe, Carson Wyche, Detroit Steel, Ezekiel Stane, Firepower (Edwin Cord), General Babbage, Justine Hammer, Sasha Hammer, Spymaster (Sinclair Abbot).

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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