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Invincible Iron Man #11: Review

Jun 2013
Kieron Gillen, Greg Land

Story Name:

The secret origin of Tony Stark part two

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #11 Review by (June 9, 2013)
Dale Eaglesham draws most of this issue, but Greg Land contributes a double-page spread describing the changes 451 makes to the unborn Tony Stark, based on the cover image. There were mutants around before the Marvel Age. For instance Sub-Mariner has been touted as the 1st mutant (though surely Wolverine must precede him, and Apocalypse for 2). And Timely's Toro was also a mutant. There were several mutants mentioned in 1950's Atlas stories. And the recent First X-Men series featured mutants preceding the X-Men. There were also supernatural beings for the alien watchers to pick up on at that time too. For instance Timely's Black Widow. But such types go back even further in time. Eg Morgan Le Fey who's making a come-back in Age of Ultron. Is 451 referring to alien invasions we have already seen like the Kree/Skrull War and Secret Invasion, or possibly to the upcoming Infinity event? 451's modifications start off with a genetic loom. Is Kieron Gillen a Dr Who fan? The DW novel Lungbarrow described how Time-Lords were grown on a genetic loom. As far as I know this is the only previous use of the phrase. (Or maybe Kieron Gillen is actually an alternate-timeline Karen Gillan who played the recent DW companion Amy Pond.) 451's list of changes sneaks in a 'reason' for Tony's alcoholism, and maybe sex addiction? His explanation also explains why Tony kept going back to weapons manufacture, despite publicly giving that up more than once.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #11 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The largest part of this issue is the continuation of the flashback story of Rigellian Recorder #451 and Tony Stark's parents. It's bracketed by modern-day scenes of a minor space battle and some chat between 451 and Tony.

In the flashback Maria Stark is pregnant with the future Tony, but there's a genetic problem which means the baby probably won't survive the birth. Last issue Howard Stark rescued 451 from a gang of grey aliens on Earth, expecting that the robot's fund of advanced alien tech will include a solution for their problem.

The Recorder tells them he can cure the child. But he has conditions. He explains that alien empires and powers (not the grey aliens who aren't worth thinking about) have noticed Earth, and its burgeoning nuclear power, mutants and supernatural beings. By the time their son has grown up these aliens will be poised to crush the Earth in a preemptive strike. And humanity won't have developed weapons advanced enough to stop them.

451 can't openly give humans advanced weaponry, or the alien powers will strike now. But he can modify the Stark foetus to make Tony an even greater inventive genius than Howard. Stark Sr is understandably worried that the robot will secretly do other stuff to their baby. 451 can't prove that he won't. But he'll show Howard everything he does. And the Recorder also admits that he has an ulterior, but altruistic, motive. He believes that Humanity will be a great force for peace and good in the universe. And their son can ensure that this happens.

Over the next 5 months leading up to the birth Recorder #451 performs a series of genetic modifications. As well as fixing the original genetic disorder, he makes the baby as clever as its species will allow, including installing the 'Leonardo assembly' which presumably makes him a polymath like Da Vinci. Some particular enhancements bring with them side-effects. Concentrating on practicality (ie engineering rather than pure science) degrades his sense of wonder (?!). And sensory enhancements make him susceptible to addiction.

As Tony is being born, some of the grey aliens Howard liberated 451 from find them. Stark and the robot deal with them, but not before they report back to their base. The Recorder informs Howard that the aliens will now be after his son. And Stark Sr prepares to go after them and wipe them out.

In the present 451 has Tony Stark captive in a stolen Badoon warship. He has taken control of the Iron Man armour and its AI PEPPER, but allows Tony some freedom of action. The robot needs Stark for some big plan.

They are approaching an unspecified destination, but are detected even through the ship's  cloaking device. They are attacked by a bunch of drone ships. 451 believes Iron Man stands a much better chance of destroying the unmanned drones that the whole Badoon warship. And Tony could do it much better than 451 operating the armour remotely. Stark doesn't want to help whatever 451 is planning (given that it already involved the genocide of the Voldi in #8). But the robot plays on his ego by suggesting that surely he'll be able to outwit 451 later if he keeps them both alive now. And anyway, 451's plan is important for the good of the whole universe!

So Iron Man nips out and blasts all the drones to smithereens.

Back in the spaceship Tony still doesn't believe what the video recording told him (the flashbacks in this and last issue), despite the fact that the information was narrated by his father, with 451 standing by his side. 451 insists that he designed Tony to be a genius who could make weapons that could defeat alien armadas. He contrasts him with other superhero geniuses like Reed Richards and Hank Pym who are men of peace. And people like Dr Doom and AIM can't hold a candle to him.

451 also confirms that he built something else into Stark as well. Something that is necessary for his own plan.

We learn that the video that is the source of the flashbacks was recorded by Howard Stark just before he went off to fight the grey aliens, in case he didn't come back. So we now know everything that was in it. But 451 now prepares to tell Tony what happened next.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Greg Land
Dale Eaglesham
Greg Land (Cover Penciler)
Greg Land (Cover Inker)
Guru-eFX (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Howard Stark, Maria Stark, Recorder 451, Voldi.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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