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Invincible Iron Man #526: Review

Oct 2012
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

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Story Name:

The future 6: Independence day

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #526 Review by (October 13, 2012)
Mandarin's plot as laid out here is similar to the future displayed in #500. It was set in 2052, where Mandarin and a full complement of 10 Titanomechs ruled the world. Certain large installations all over the globe were important, and this issue suggests that they were drills. As Mandarin rants here he and the Titanomechs were going to the stars, leaving a shattered Earth behind. However he also claimed there that, if not for the interference of resistance fighters, he could have done it without destroying the Earth. The project would only be completed 40 years hence. In this time Stark would have built the other 7 Titanomechs, and this issue suggests that the Earth would have been mined for fuel. In this respect it is worth pointing out that Mandarin didn't start the current lone drill going now, it was Iron Man last issue. It doesn't seem likely that the future shown in #500 is *exactly* one that Stark & Co have forestalled now. That future had Pepper and Tony's child Howard Stark II and grandchild Ginny, both freedom fighters. With Tony under Mandarin's control in the current story, I don't think Tony and Pepper would have a chance to produce a child. Unless there's something Pepper isn't telling us? Next issue is slated to be a 'where are we now and where do we go from here' issue, ending Matt Fraction's run and gearing up for the Marvel NOW restart. It will presumably tidy up some loose ends like Justine and Sasha Hammer. Maybe it will explain why the rest of the Marvel Universe hasn't noticed that Tony Stark and Iron Man have been missing for weeks, maybe months.

This is the last part of 6 of The Future. Stark says it wasn't necessary for Resilient and the Swarm to reprogram him as he'd already removed Mandarin's programming himself, which allowed him to plot the uprising in previous issues. But presumably the procedure does give him access to the nanobots. This issue is the first to raise doubts about the reality of the alien entities in Mandarin's rings, suggesting that insane Mandarin may have imagined them. Presumably this is to allow Iron Man to destroy the Titanomechs without it definitely being murder. Where's James Rhodes in all this? Last issue he was going to join Pepper's rescue army, but he never showed up. In fact, despite the publisher's solicitation promising 'Rescue and Iron Man 2.0 vs Hammer', Pepper isn't in the Rescue suit, Iron Man 2.0 doesn't show up, and neither do the Hammer girls or their subordinates. And another thing, the blurbs have several times referred to Rhodey's new suit as Iron Man 2.0, but I don't think he's ever called that in the comics themselves. He was Iron Man 2.0 in a very different suit in the title of that name. But I think he reverted to calling himself War Machine after that. And undercover in the newest suit he's just been 'that other Iron Man'.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #526 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Iron Man and Ezekiel Stane are facing Mandarin and his 3 Titanomechs as a giant drill heads for the centre of the Earth.

Mandarin claims the 3 Titanomechs host alien intelligences from 3 of his rings. (Tony Stark built the 3 for Mandarin under duress. He hadn't got round to creating hosts for the other 7 rings yet.) Mandarin now claims that the ring beings are not just from space but also from the future. He says that he's going to send them home with fuel from the centre of the Earth (destroying Earth in the process). And they'll take him with them.

Stark and Stane have started a revolution against their captor Mandarin. Now their 3 fellow revolutionaries Blizzard, Living Laser and Whirlwind join the current battle by driving a car into Mandarin.

Meanwhile the Resilient staff are preparing to use Swarm nanobots to remotely update Tony's Extremis program to remove Mandarin's influence. And Pepper Potts is destroying the helmet of her Rescue suit, containing the AI JARVIS which has also been corrupted by Mandarin.

Iron Man, Blizzard and Living Laser are still having trouble dealing with Mandarin and the Titanomechs, while Whirlwind (his combat suit damaged last issue) is using the car as weapon against Mandarin's ground troops. And Zeke is trying to stop the drill. When Bethany Cabe arrives with some backup, the members of Triumph Division and The Dynasty.

The Swarm reboots Stark's operating system (amazingly quickly). The Swarm also puts him in touch with the Resilient base. And provides him with a horde of local nanobots to do his bidding. As Stane attacks Mandarin, Iron Man uses the nanobots to destroy the drill, and then the Titanomechs.

In the aftermath Tony is horrified to discover that Zeke has used an energy blade to kill, or at least lobotomise, Mandarin. Stane answers him by pointing out that Stark has just murdered 3 possible alien beings.

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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)

Plus: Anitun, Bethany Cabe, Blizzard, Carson Wyche, Ezekiel Stane, Fighter One, Great Mongoose, Mighty Mother, Mrs. Arbogast, Red Feather, Revolutionary, Saber, Soldier One, St George, Star, Tim Cababa, Walter Macken, Weather Witch, Whirlwind (David Cannon), Wishing Man.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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