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Invincible Iron Man (2017 series) #593

October 2017
Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

The search for Tony Stark part 1

Reviews & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

By Rob on October 21, 2017

This series is a continuation of both Riri Williams/Ironheart's Invincible Iron Man title and Victor Von Doom/Iron Doom's Infamous IM. Most of the ongoing plotlines from both are mentioned except Amara Pereira's pregnancy (InfIM#12). The heads box on the cover and the dual origins suggest that this title belongs to Stark and Williams, with Doom relegated to supporting character or guest star.

Stefano Caselli is artist for most of the issue with Marte Gracia on colours. But Alex Maleev continues to handle Doom's pages. (I wonder what they'll do when both sides meet?)
There are separate creators for the 3-page primer. Darren Shan edits and Robbie Thompson writes them all, and as usual as far as I've seen they use the letterer from the main part of the book (Clayton Cowles). Valerio Schiti is artist for this 1 with colourist Frank D'Armata.

This is the 3rd version we've seen of our chars of finding Tony Stark's body gone. In 1 page of Marvel Legacy Mary Jane Watson arrives at the Denver facility to be shown that the body isn't in it's container. This fits well with this issue where MJ is contacted by cryptic text message from the facility - they tell her in Legacy that they didn't want to transmit the sensitive reason. Then here she presumably calls in the other 3 females (counting AI Friday), and Friday explains she can't track Tony's implant.
But in our previous issue (#11) the 4 are together reminiscing about Tony when Friday suddenly goes quiet and then says she can't locate Stark (presumably, since Brian Michael Bendis wrote that issue and this, she was searching for the implant).

My speculations for what's going on are usually well off target, but why should that stop me. In #5 we had a hint that the AI Tony might have suspect intentions. In #9 Friday was worried about the AI copy of Tony having no body to ground his intellect. Maybe AI Stark took Tony's body. Maybe it's activated a clone and downloaded itself.

Simon Williams is of course Wonder Man who got lots of applause as a movie actor. AI Tony warns Riri about what fame did to Simon. The only genuine consequence I can think of is their egos clashing in West Coast Avengers. Things like Simon dying a couple of times after that and turning against the Avengers when he formed the Revengers are not really results of his celebrity.

Eric Lynch previously tried to take control of Stark International when Tony was undercover presumed dead in Iron Man (2015) #11.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In the Stark International facility in Dover, New Jersey Tony Stark is lying in a coma in a containment vessel. He's been in there a while and his hair, beard and moustache have grown long. Someone touches the faceplate.

The AI Friday gives us a rundown of the current situation, including some new bits of information. Tony's been in the coma since he was fatally injured at the end of Civil War II. She speculates that some secret changes to his body related to his Iron Man armour saved his life. (Surely she knows about Extremis so it can't be that.) But it's keeping him in the coma and she doesn't know how to get him out of it.

Friday reminds us that teenage Riri Williams took over the IM role as Ironheart (the last Invincible IM series, or this 1 before the issue numbering changed - however you want to look at it). Her armour is run by Stark's consciousness in AI form (it's not been put *quite* like that previously), and that AI has started to have some worrying ideas.

She also reminds us about the Infamous IM series where master villain Dr Doom has taken on the role and name of Iron Man to redeem himself as a hero.

Tony's recently-found birth mother Amanda Armstrong is introducing the Annual Tony Stark International Sciences Expo. Tony would normally do it but as they all know he's indisposed. And Amanda promises that anyone here who has invented a way of waking him up will be guaranteed winner of the show. But whatever, in his honour she wants this to be the best Expo ever.

And in the absence of Tony as Iron Man she introduces Ironheart, fresh from her success as temporary Queen of Latveria (the latest #9-10). Riri revels in the applause, but the Tony Stark AI warns her not to let it go to her head like Simon Williams (no relation).

Mary Jane Watson, who organised this whole thing, is watching from the wings when she is approached by Eric Lynch chairman of the SI board of directors. He tells her that the board is tired of an ex-supermodel (MJ) and ex-rock star (Amanda) wasting the company's money. They're taking control of the company.

Just then she gets an emergency text from the Dover facility.

Cut to the other half of this combined operation. An FBI Agent has arrived to investigate a massive prison break from Ryker's Island. Warden Mosley claims that now that SHIELD has been disbanded they haven't got the staff or power to keep all these super-baddies in jail. Especially after Victor Von Doom dressed as Iron Man recently supplied them with dozens of top supervillain inmates (in the InfIM series). (Those guys were planning a break in InfIM#12, so presumably they did it.)

He must be able to hear when his name is spoken anywhere because Doctor D chooses that moment to drop in. The lawmen almost piss themselves despite Doom saying he's just come for a list of escapees. But Thing is there too and wants to arrest him. Victor points out that SHIELD hired Ben to pursue him, so he can stop now SHIELD is gone. But Ben Grimm says he doesn't need anyone to tell him to hunt down his mortal enemy. Doom's next ploy is to say that the escapees were the villains he captured (I thought he needed a list), so they'll be after his blood and Ben needn't bother.

Thing responds with a speech along the lines of:- No matter how much good Doom does no-one will forgive him for his past. He may wear the armour but he's *not* Iron Man. But even if he *does* convince people he's changed his spots, Victor himself will know what he is inside. He could have matched the calibre of Reed Richards, but he just didn't have it in him.

Doom just teleports away.

Amanda, Friday, MJ and Riri have come to Stark Dover where they find that Tony's body is missing from the medical pod. Friday doesn't respond when Riri asks about security footage, so presumably it doesn't show what happened. Instead she says that Stark has wavotech implants that she can access, but she can't find him anywhere in the world. She reassures the others this doesn't mean he's dead because she would still be able to detect them. Someone somehow has stopped them transmitting to her. She doesn't seem to consider that his body could have been completely destroyed. But she does offer the possibility that maybe Tony has taken *himself* off the grid for reasons of his own.

All the while the others have been asking who they should call. Friday says she's already alerted his friends. We see lots of superheroes chasing down leads, which mainly seems to consist of beating up bad guys. But she ends by suggesting they could call Victor Von Doom.

The issue ends somewhere else. A naked hairless man staggers out of a mist-filled room, falls, and drags himself towards some suits of Iron Man armour. He puts on Tony's favourite fallback Model 4 armour and curls up into a foetal position.



This issue includes 3 pages of historical background.

Tony Stark's long career gets 1 page. 4 panels cover Iron Man's origin. (Millionaire playboy arms manufacturer gets injured in a conflict zone and captured by a terrorist who wants him to create weapons. Instead Tony creates the prototype Iron Man armour to stop shrapnel in his heart from killing him and to allow him to escape.) 1 panel then shows him looking at his array of old armours and says he's changed from warmonger to superhero.

Riri Williams gets 2 pages. The precocious teen built her own armour at MIT and became a hero. Tony helped her and gave a copy of himself as an AI to control her later Ironheart suit.

Elektra


Brian Michael Bendis
Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Marte Gracia
Adi Granov (Cover Penciler)
Adi Granov (Cover Inker)
Adi Granov (Cover Colorist)
Tom Brevoort

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Thing
Thing
Tony Stark
Tony Stark

Plus: Amanda Armstrong, Eric Lynch, Friday, Iron Man (Victor von Doom), Ironheart, Mary Jane Watson, Tony Stark AI.