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Invincible Iron Man #18: Review

Nov 2013
Kieron Gillen, Joe Bennett

Story Name:

Iron metropolitan

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #18 Review by (November 7, 2013)
When Tony gives Arno the telepathic voice control he refers to it as a Frost-level interface. Does he mean the telepathic quality is similar to Emma Frost's? And when the AI Iron Man goes fighting mutants, his foes look like Emma Frost and Cyclops. This issue says that Iron Man appearances while Tony was in space were an AI-driven armour. Eg in Avengers #12 where he claimed to be operating a suit by remote-control from far away in space, he may have been economical with the truth. Presumably the only appearances we can be sure about are where he showed up as Tony Stark as well as Iron Man. But then he could have used an AI-controlled LMD as well! Is British Kieron Gillen slipping in an in-joke with new character Beryl the (Red) Peril (of Dandy fame)?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #18 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It's 30 years in the future and Tony and Arno Stark survey what they have wrought. They are in geostationary orbit at the top of 1 of several space elevators. On the Earth power is being beamed down to giant pyramids. They got here by inventing a new way of urban living that started out as individual dwellings. But they foresaw/planned that it would develop into the world they have now. They achieved it by free enterprise and bits of alien technology sneaked in.

1 of the components of this future is gene tailoring that, amongst other things, extends life expectancy, which is why the brothers are still going strong.

Suddenly their robot companion HELEN goes berserk, and reveals she has developed sentience, which the Starks thought they'd guarded against. And she doesn't respond to the deactivation codeword. But she became aware a while ago, and has been surreptitiously sabotaging their plans.

The monofilament cables of the space elevators start snapping. They land on Earth like whips. And their alien alloy composition cuts deep, releasing magma.

Tony Stark blasts HELEN with his chest-beam. And the brothers unleash the Iron Rain - 20,000 Iron Man suits guided by duplicates of the minds of Tony, Arno, James Rhodes and Pepper Howards. But they can't do enough to save the world.

The resulting 'nuclear' winter devastates the globe. The Starks are executed  on the Moon colony. A Kree/Skrull alliance finishes the job and mankind is extinct.

Of course this is all just a simulation being run by Tony and Arno in the present - 1 of many. Arno, still in his iron lung, taps out the ongoing conclusion - be very careful of AI and alien tech. Especially the tech they can salvage from the remains of Recorder 451, which it seems Tony brought back with him from his space adventures. Not just the tech in 451's body, but the info stored in his database. In fact it is 451 tech that runs the detailed simulations they've been playing with.

Arno has refused to use an Iron Man suit to get him out of his hospital bed. But now Tony does persuade him to accept 1 piece of helpful tech. A telepathic interface to a voice box, that will allow him to speak faster than typing words on a keyboard.

Tony's current AI PEPPER notifies them of an Avengers alert. But Tony doesn't want to waste time away from his planning with Arno, so he sends an AI-controlled IM suit to deal with what he terms just 'some new mutant criminals'. It appears he's been doing that a lot lately - including while he was really off in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Tony claims that he wants to work with his genius 'brother' Arno as much as possible to make up for all the years he didn't know he existed, while crippled Arno was being hidden from Recorder 451 as revealed last issue. But Arno suggests Tony is really avoiding dealing with the fact that he was adopted (also from last issue). Tony responds that humanity is doomed if they don't do something. They just have to figure out what to do.

Meanwhile someone else has a different idea. A sphere of energy approaches Abigail Beryl Burns/Red Peril in London, and speaks to her. She is a journalist who thinks that the current way the world is run isn't working. The sphere gives her a ring and power. It calls her Mandarin-Seven and says she's going to save the Earth from Tony Stark.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Joe Bennett
Scott Hanna
Paul Rivoche (Cover Penciler)
Paul Rivoche (Cover Inker)
Paul Rivoche (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.


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