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Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #3: Review

Oct 2013
Al Ewing, Lan Medina

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #3 Review by (August 5, 2015)
Lan Medina completes his initial 3-issue run as penciller. The name Phlogistone is obviously derived from phlogiston which was the substance incorrectly believed to be released when something was burned. The Iron Man (2013) Annual will suggest the remainder of this series occurs before IM#19.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue ended with an explosion (again) that seemed to kill (again) Iron Man, this time on the Moon. But now we go back 5 seconds to show what really happened.

The Soviet robot Udarnik has damaged the repulsor battery on the back of Tony Stark's Saturn V armour, and it's going to explode. Tony jettisons the backpack - now his suit is running off the power in Repulsor Core One which keeps his heart going. Stark notices that Udarnik has shrunk from giant-size to human-size. He uses the dwindling power to erect a force shield to save them both from the explosion.

Next thing he knows he's lying immobile in the suit on the ground. The power core is counting down its remaining power. Udarnik has switched back from angry hammer mode to talkative sickle mode (by rotating the appropriate face to the front), and wants to know why his enemy saved him. But Tony's dying brain replaces him with a vision of Prof Ho Yinsen who helped him build the 1st Iron Man armour to escape their captors. Yinsen urges Stark to live, and to answer Udarnik. Tony tells the robot he saved him because they should have been friends. Then his power dies.

Later Tony has another vision of Yinsen who reminds him that he died so Tony could live. Now Stark must continue to live because his whole life is a still-incomplete attempt to be worthy of that sacrifice. And then Tony wakes up indoors, out of his armour. Udarnik has saved his life.

Udarnik is holding a tube of the mysterious and powerful substance Iron Man detected in the missile aimed at Hollywood in #1. (Udarnik is angry about being left alone on the Moon at then end of the US/Soviet space race. He wanted to destroy Hollywood because they made movies about space instead of going there.) Apparently a tiny bit of that substance was enough to power Repulsor Core One for a long time.

Udarnik explains that it is a liquid metal he found on the Moon. He believes that it was created by a succesion of energies that bombarded this globe. 1st the cosmic energy storm that also birthed the Fantastic Four (FF#1). The next image is of the X-Men and the M'Kraan Crystal in UXM#107-108 (this occurred nowhere near the Moon but the Crystal did affect the whole universe, so the Moon as well). The death of 'Jean Grey' in UXM#137 releases the Phoenix Force. The next scene has the Beyonder from Secret Wars II in the superhero armour he wears to 'help' the Avengers in Av#260-262 (none of that happened on the Moon, and I don't remember any relevant events on the Moon, so it must just have been his energy generally sloshing around the Solar System). Then we see Thanos, and the Infinity Gems are mentioned (again probably just use in the general area). The final ingredient was the White Event from Av(2013)#6-7.

The result was the powerful liquid metal that Udarnik calls Moon-mercury. Its power enabled him to build this base and his spider-helpers, and to transform himself and things when necessary. He has decided that Stark was right about friendship. While Tony slept he broadcast details to the Earth, where Americans have named the metal Phlogistone. This worries Stark because it will start a new Gold Rush. And we glimpse Udarnik's ulterior motive - he soon won't be alone anymore.

The issue ends with an epilogue 3 months later. There's a town on the Moon and Tony Stark has been appointed Governor by the United Nations. He's there in his regular Iron Man (2013) armour. Udarnik is delighted. As it's a frontier town he suggests they call it something with a flavour of the Old West - Tranquility Gulch. Shellhead will be the sheriff and he will be the deputy. But Stark doesn't tell him that he fears he'll have to destroy this frontier for the sake of humanity.

Lan Medina
David Meikis
Jesus Aburtov
Lan Medina (Cover Penciler)
Lan Medina (Cover Inker)
Lan Medina (Cover Colorist)


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> Iron Man: Fatal Frontier: Book info and issue index

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