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Invincible Iron Man #28: Review

Jun 2014
Kieron Gillen, Joe Bennett

Story Name:

Rings of the Mandarin chapter 6

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #28 Review by (June 21, 2014)
But there's a more significant problem with Hulk. The Starks cure Banner's brain (at least temporarily) in H#4 so that he can appear as a genius again in OS and the Av/NAv stories. But then in Av#28 Tony makes Banner disappear while secretly taking him to the Illuminati base in Wakanda. So how come he's back in public view in OS? Even more damning is *how* Stark and Banner effect the disappearance. They get the evil alternate Banner from Av#25-27 to take the rap for a Hulk rampage, then put him in a coma so he can't protest his innocence, and SHIELD take the fake into custody. So everyone except the Illuminati should believe that Hulk is in a SHIELD jail, not running free and working for them as Banner. And if they woke that Banner up they'd uncover the deception. But then OS *is* all about secrets and deceptions.

Iron Man is in a lot of conflicting storylines at the moment, but the end of Hulk #4 (accidentally?) sorts out some of the continuity. The Stark brothers use Extremis to cure Bruce Banner's brain damage, and Arno only developed his new improved Extremis in #26. And H#4 specifically precedes the OS issues, including #3.1-3.4. Meanwhile we have the Avengers/New Avengers strand. Specifically Iron Man is involved with the evil alternate Avengers in Avengers #25-27 and then in #28 Bruce Banner works out what the Illuminati are doing in New Avengers and Tony inducts him into that group. Then Captain America remembers about the Illuminati's activities (which Dr Strange made him forget) in #29. Then in #30 some of the Avengers start a time-trip, but Iron Man is sent back early to handle the Illuminati problem, which segues into NAv#18ff. And this whole sequence has no gaps. This might not be a problem - there could be some way of allowing the whole of 1 sequence to happen before the whole of the other. *But* in OS#3 Captain America learns a secret, which is presumably the 1 in Av#29. This immediately suggests that the Iron Man/Hulk issues above happen before the Avengers issues which coincide with OS. All well and good, but it may be difficult to fit the Hulk vs Iron Man mini-series into the Avengers continuity, as well any other apps by IM in OS.

The last few issues have been released at a fast pace, presumably to get this story over to make room for the Hulk vs Iron Man Original Sin mini-series (OS#3.1-3.4). This title is going on hiatus for a while. The Hulk series is also taking a break. (As are the Thor and Loki series for similar reasons around OS#5.1-5.5.) This rush explains the multiplicity of artists in the last 3 issues. Those other 3 series are coming back after OS. But so far (up to the recently-announced September issues) there's no sign of the return of Iron Man. This issue ends by saying 'The End?' - should we be taking it seriously? Apparently Kieron Gillen is moving on to a secret project for Marvel and I can't find any news about who'll be taking over. This also explains the rushed ending to the story - the tying up of loose ends. Those plotlines would probably have kept the comic occupied for at least the next 6 months.

The pencilling gets divided up again, this time between 3 artists. Joe Bennett does the battle against the Mandarins. Cliff Richards handles the Rigellians section, and also the Stark brothers flying off into the sunset. Derlis Santacruz, in only his 2nd Marvel gig, does the Abigail, Pepper and Malekith bits. The inking also had to be farmed out to 2 different bodies. I found it confusing last issue that Abigail Burns defeated Endotherm but he was later seen with the other Ring-Bearers. I now think the source of the confusion was the different pencillers of the 2 sections - I think Cliff Richards didn't know Endotherm had already been dealt with, and the editor didn't spot the mistake. Endotherm doesn't appear in this issue (but he *is* in the cover scene) and his Ring is already neutralised. Marc claims Tony hurt Pepper throughout their long relationship. I would say that Tony spurning Pepper's love in Tales of Suspense (secretly because of his heart problem), so that she married Happy Hogan instead, would count. As would Happy turning into the Freak several times because he helped Iron Man - and eventually getting killed because of their association. Sleeping with her during Dark Reign and then forgetting about it must have hurt. Giving her the Rescue armour and then taking it away when she'd grown into the role is in there too. And there's probably lots more I've forgotten about. The Rigellians call the upgrade to the Rings a Malkunian AI weapon. I think they meant Makluan - the Makluans are the dragon-like aliens who used to own the Rings.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #28 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark/Iron Man has invaded the underground city of the Mandarins along with his 'brother' Arno driving the building-sized Iron Metropolitan, Abigail Burns in a new Iron Man suit, and a troop of Trojan Guard AI Iron Men. The Starks used the 4 Rings Iron Man had won to create a Master Ring. Abigail, as the only experienced Ring-Bearer, is wielding it. It enabled her to locate the Mandarins' city, and now lets them all neutralise Rings once the wearers are defeated.

Arno battles a dark energy monster created by Exile (while 1 of Mole Man's real monsters tries to join in). A Trojan Guard looking like Iron Patriot takes out Colin Anderson 60. And Abigail kicks the crap out of Alec Eiffel.

While this is going on Tony confronts the wearer of the Liar Ring, Pepper Potts' fiance Marc Kumar, who holds Pepper hostage. Marc explains that the Ring approached him long after he started dating Pepper, and after he realised how much Stark had done to hurt her. The Ring offered him revenge, for her.

Tony offers to do anything if Marc will let Pepper go. But Marc insists on continuing to use her as a hostage, threatening to kill her. So Iron Man shoots Kumar (non-fatally) through Pepper!

As Pepper literally fades away Tony explains that he knew Marc loved Pepper too much to use her like that. So he'd realised she was an illusion created by the Liar Ring.

Now Iron Metropolitan crushes Exile's dark energy monster, and takes his Ring. That just leaves Mole Man, who throws his Ring away and takes his Moloids out through 1 of many tunnels. The last Ring tries to escape the city but can't (presumably due to the mystic confinement set up by Dark Angel last issue), until Iron Man grabs it.

Now we have a whole load of tying up of loose ends.

Tony, via SHIELD's space arm SWORD, contacts the Rigellians and they come to pick up the body of their rogue Recorder-451. Although the Starks have made good use of the robot's database of alien technology, it turns out to be too dangerous to have around. The Rigellians confirm that the Recorder was 'leaking' and gave the Rings an upgrade that made them operate independently.

This upgrade was supposed to make the Rings manipulate the world into a more favourable state. In this case the Rings saw democratic (and communist) systems as more primitive than the empires and monarchies that were the dominant forces in the galaxy. The Rings set out to do something about it, and the residual effects of the Mandarin made them target Tony Stark in particular.

In London Abigail gets a present from Arno - her original Incandescence Ring. Because she lost her hands to Malekith, Ms Burns wears it as an earring. And sets out to be superheroine Red Peril (without the Iron suit) - her 1st action to stop the firebombing of a mosque.

Pepper visits Marc in hospital to give him her engagement ring back. No matter how Tony treated her sometimes, she can't condone what Marc did.

In Svartalfheim Dark Elf parents use the threat of Iron Man to control their children. And we find out what Terrana's secret mission was in #24 - she kidnapped the Bride of Darkness's demon baby before #26. And now Malekith claims (maybe?) to be the father.

And Tony and Arno fly off together as a pair of Iron Men - Arno in his weaponised mobile iron lung.


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> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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Joe Bennett
Rick Magyar
Guru-eFX
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Penciler)
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Inker)
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Endotherm (Mandarin-Ten), Exile, Malekith, Marc Kumar/Liar, Red Peril (Abigail Burns), Rigellians.