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Invincible Iron Man #527: Review

Oct 2012
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

The future: Finale: The stars my destination

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #527 Review by (October 28, 2012)
This issue still leaves me with the questions I had last issue. Why wasn't Rhodey involved in the final battle, because he was heading there in #525? How does the months-spanning sequence of issues (#517-526) with Stark not around as Iron Man fit around all the Avengers stuff (and other stuff) IM's been doing? A question which is only exacerbated by him flying of into space now. Looking back over Matt Fraction's tenure we see one long story, which actually began in his earlier Order series, which introduced Ezekiel Stane and brought Pepper Potts back into Tony Stark's life. Matt carried both of them over into the 1st arc of his run, imported Maria Hill and added Sasha Hammer. (James Rhodes/War Machine was already a regular in Iron Man stories.) The Dark Reign stories had Stark destroy and reload his brain, which we now know allowed Mandarin's infiltration. It also gave Pepper the Rescue armour. Stark Resilient reintroduced Mrs Arbogast and added a new background cast, one of whom was the mole Spymaster, plus Sasha's mother Justine Hammer, and ended by revealing that Sasha was Mandarin's daughter. Bethany Cabe returned during Fear Itself. Then Mandarin and the Hammer girls conspired to bring Tony down, leading inexorably to the story just concluded. (Along the way Matt created Triumph Division and The Dynasty.) This issue ties off some loose ends from the series, leaving the ground clear for Kieron Gillen to do what he wants in the next one. But I can't feeling that IM heading into space for an indefinite period is Fraction's way of saying that the guy in the next series is some other Tony Stark entirely.

The cover bills this as the Conclusion of the Future arc. The title page credits it as just a Finale, probably to the whole of Matt Fraction's run as writer. The 'previously' blurb confirms that Mandarin *was* killed last issue. (I wonder how long that will last?) I reckon the old model armour is the last armour he wore before being replaced by Teen Tony (and then going into the Heroes Reborn universe). I guess it was in Avengers keeping after he 'died' in The Crossing. He wears that rather than the suit he cobbled together in Mandarin City. And he had the internalised Extremis armour removed in #517. (He had *something* put back in its place. We never found out quite what it was, but it doesn't seem to generate an Iron Man armour.) Stark tries to make out that Mandarin's brain control was Maria Hill's fault. But she only fetched the backup from where he himself had made it and left it. He also suggests SHIELD's security was compromised, and somebody got to the backup after he made it. But Extremis had nothing to do with SHIELD, and the backup was made and stored in one of Stark's own factories. It isn't clear whether Stark has only taken Jim Rhodes' 'replacement Iron Man' armour (since #517), or his old War Machine suit as well. Zeke and Sasha are angry with Justine because she conspired with Mandarin to make Stane his slave, keeping it all secret from her daughter. It doesn't seem to me Tony was in *too* much of a hurry to investigate Zeke's text message. And by pure chance he contacts Justine *just* before Zeke and Sasha get to her.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #527 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Iron Man's wearing an old suit of armour he dug up at Avengers Tower. He stops someone using the tech from modern Stark devices in a suicide bomb. He explains that all current Stark hardware can detect when it is being used for nefarious purposes, and it contacts him. (In case anyone thinks this is an invasion of privacy, it's all declared in the terms of use small print.)

But he gets taken in for questioning by Maria Hill, Director of SHIELD, who wants to know what happened in the months he's been with Mandarin. Tony Stark explains how Mandarin infiltrated the code that's been running his body since he underwent the Extremis process in the 1st arc of Iron Man (2005). It turns out that he was infected by something in the mind backup Maria retrieved for him during World's Most Wanted. This also explains some of his behaviour before joining Mandarin, including getting drunk.

Tony claims to have removed the bad code, and he's OK now. But Maria doesn't know how he can prove it. But she has to let him go.

During the interview we are treated to a flashback following the end of last issue. Bethany Cabe flew Iron Man, Ezekiel Stane, Blizzard, Living Laser, Whirlwind and the members of Triumph Division and China's Dynasty team back from Mandarin City in China. Stark later was given a medal by the Chinese government. Stark learns from Hill (and the flashback shows us) that Bethany lent Zeke Stane a mobile phone to contact his girlfriend Sasha Hammer, because he'd been a secret prisoner of Mandarin for even longer than Stark. Neither of them are pleased about that breach of security.

Stark hides himself away, building a new Iron Man outfit. He doesn't take calls, even from Pepper Potts and James Rhodes. Pepper is still angry that Tony and Jim let her believe Rhodey was dead, as of #515. Tony didn't know who he could trust at that point. And it turned out that Pepper was a source of leaks, via the AI JARVIS in he Rescue armour.

We learn that Stark has confiscated the Rescue suit, and Rhodes' armour as well.

We also see a scene where Iron Man (still in old armour) has defeated a giant robot, but is fed up with the same old things.

Now Tony goes to see Bethany, and asks her about the phone she lent Zeke. They find the message he sent "Coming home tell your mom love Z". Stark rings Sasha's mother Justine Hammer to warn her that Stane is coming to kill her. But Justine is angry that the Chinese are now back doing deals with Stark Resilient rather than Hammer Industries, so she won't listen to him. Until she finds Zeke and Sasha in her car.

Pepper later tells Tony that Justine has gone missing.

Stark arranges a party to thank his friends (Pepper, Rhodey and Bethany plus Mrs Arbogast. Tim Cababa, Walter Macken and Carson Wyche). And also to say goodbye, at least for a while. The new suit is a spacesuit, and Iron Man's off to explore the universe.

Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank D'Armata
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Frank D'Armata (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.
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, Carson Wyche, Ezekiel Stane, Justine Hammer, Mrs. Arbogast, Sasha Hammer, Tim Cababa, Walter Macken, Whirlwind (David Cannon).

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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