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Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #12: Review

Dec 2013
Al Ewing, Lan Medina

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #12 Review by (September 2, 2015)
The alternation of pencillers continues, this time with Lan Medina, but for these last 2 issues layouts will be provided by Geoffo and J L Mast. See the Secret Origin of Tony Stark arc in Iron Man (2013) #9-17 for the revelation that Tony Stark was adopted. And the origin of his smarter 'brother' Arno. Recent (as I was writing this in the beginning of June) news says that after Secret Wars Tony Stark will find out who his real parents were. This implies that the end of SW will return the Marvel Universe to something like the status quo, and old plotlines will continue. Eli Warren and his Army will reappear in a story in the IM(2013)Annual where Arno Stark will hire them to run the geostationary platform (IM#21) that is being used to create the future city Troy. Endotherm's villain career will continue it's slow acceleration - 1 appearance in 1980, 2 apps in this series, and then in IM#25-28 he'll join C Anderson Sixty (as I mentioned last issue) as 1 of the Mandarin Ring-Bearers.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark wants to use Dr Doom's cosmic energy syphon to drain all phlogistone from  the Moon, because exposure to the Moon-metal results in madness and then death. But his deputy sheriff the abandoned Soviet robot Udarnik wants super-energy-source phlogistone to stay, to attract people to the Moon so he won't ever be lonely again. Tony thought he'd kept his plan secret, but at the end of last issue Udarnik revealed he knew exactly what was going on.

Now Udarnik has taken away Stark's Iron Man armour, and has his boss imprisoned in the bowels of his Crimson Dynamo Moon-house. Tony has already been infected by phlogistone, which has made some of his decisions lately highly suspect. Now he's plagued by a hallucination of his earlier alcoholic playboy self.

Ignoring this he plans his escape, using a rubber bedsheet and a metal rod from the hinge of the toilet seat. He waits for the next time a couple of Udarnik's spider-robots bring him food through a small hatch.

The spiders are armed with electric tentacles, but the non-conducting rubber sheet protects him there. He pins 1 drone with a foot while using the metal pin to rewire the other to explode in the hatchway. Carrying the 1st drone as a weapon Stark exits through the big hole.

But before he gets very far he is met by Eli Warren and some of his New Modernist Army. Which surprises Stark because he thought Udarnik had 'escorted' them off the Moon in #7. But now C Anderson Sixty's cryptic remark last issue about Warren and Co being disappeared makes sense - Udarnik has been planning this a long time, and he kept the Army as his army.

Tony tries to convince Eli of the danger of phlogistone. But Warren's still smarting from Stark stopping him using Extremis with the same excuse, in Iron Man (2013) #5. And he's not going to let Stark deny him phlogistone too. Tony resorts to his current standard line of reasoning that 'Tony knows best'.

But he also resorts to force - the spider-robot as a blaster and the fighting skills he's picked up form the likes of Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America and Shang-Chi, and also the Hulk's punch (he wishes!). The defeat of his 3 foes (although Extremis-enhanced) is swift.

But the hallucinations get worse. The corridors turn into a shifting warping maze, until he runs into his parents. They commiserate with his plight but suggest that his 'brother' Arno should be handling things - after all he's the 1 who's really inherited the Stark genes and brains. And now Tony's going to die without ever finding out who his real parents are. Meanwhile earlier Tony keeps tempting current Tony to drink.

Then current Tony is faced with another recent foe that Udarnik also 'took care of' - Endotherm from #4. Mentally unstable Tom Wilkins is still convinced that Stark is responsible for the Recession, and phlogistone is the key to the economic future.

Spider-electricity and martial arts won't work against Endotherm's armour. So Tony tinkers with his spider-drone to contact Wilkin's armour via wi-fi. And correctly guesses that Tom's obsession has caused him to use 'TonyStark' as a password. Endotherm suddenly finds his armour dropping off him, and Stark knocks him out with a thrown spider-drone.

Now Tony has a suit of armour, and he makes it back to his own lab within the Crimson Dynamo complex. Where he finds the Iron Man armour with the cosmic syphon linked in to something.

Then a giant Udarnik morphs up out of the floor. Tony has seen the robot's spider-drones combine to create objects before, including bulking up Udarnik's body. Now he realises that the whole of the Crimson Dynamo base, built by Udarnik, is actually part of Udarnik. And the Soviet robot confirms that the walls of Tony's lab do indeed have ears. Udarnik has been privy to Stark's plans from the very beginning.

Udarnik is going to use the power of phlogistone in a way similar to Dr Doom's plan in #8-10. He's going to use phlogistone to turn all the minerals in the Moon into more phlogistone. To make the Moon even more attractive to humans.

Tony tries to persuade Udarnik that his plan is fatally flawed. Phlogistone is a liquid metal. Turning the other solid metals to liquid will make the Moon unstable. It will break up, and then the Earth will die too.

But the mad robot doesn't believe a word Tony says. And the process has already begun.

Lan Medina
David Meikis
Chris Sotomayor
Lan Medina (Cover Penciler)
Lan Medina (Cover Inker)
Chris Sotomayor (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

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

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