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Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #13: Review

Jan 2014
Al Ewing, Neil Edwards

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #13 Review by (September 2, 2015)
Cora Birch walks out of Tony Stark's life here, and out of the published Marvel Universe. Iron Man will revisit Udarnik in a story in the IM(2013)Annual. There are still traces of phlogistone inside Tony Stark, and he wants the robot to remove them. The carrot he dangles is that he's building a future city Troy (IM#19) and a geostationary orbital platform which will springboard mankind into space, and back to the Moon. This confirms that this series exists in the months between IM#17 and IM#19.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #13 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark (in Endotherm's armour) foresees the result of the robot Udarnik converting all metal on the Moon to the liquid metal phlogistone. He sees the Moon colony Tranquility City destroyed as the weakened Moon breaks apart. He sees the tides on the Earth rising into tsunamis. He sees the Earth's spin affected, and tectonic movements causing earthquakes and volcanoes. He sees the end of the human race.

But it hasn't happened yet, and Tony tries to talk sense into Udarnik. Whose response is to send his swarm of spider-drones on the attack with their electrified tentacles. But Endotherm's armour turns all that electricity into an explosion of heat. So much that it destroys Tranquility.

But that turns out to be another precognitive hallucination. So he tries getting the armour to freeze everything before Udarnik can send the swarm. This wrecks Udarnik, but also the nearby Iron Man suit containing Dr Doom's cosmic energy syphon. So Stark can't use that in his plan to destroy phlogistone, which gets exported to Earth and drives everyone mad (as it is doing to Tony) and dead.

But that was another hallucination. This time armoured Stark just lets Udarnik batter him. As a vision of Ho Yinsen reminds Tony of all the friends, starting with himself, who helped him and sacrificed for him. And he realises he should have accepted Udarnik's friendship instead of trying to solve the problem all by himself. Tony doesn't always know best.

He apologises to the robot and asks him to scan his body. Which shows that the phlogistone in Tony's blood is killing him. And this is what will happen to all humans. Phlogistone must be destroyed, in his blood and everywhere. Udarnik protests that if that happens everyone will leave him alone on the Moon again. But Stark points out that if all humans die then Udarnik will be alone forever. Without phlogistone they may leave now but they'll return eventually. Tony promises to come back himself.

Udarnik now believes and trusts him. He helps Tony up and agrees to join him in getting rid of phlogistone. But surely they can keep just a bit for scientists to study here on the Moon. Stark agrees to lull the robot's suspicions, but then blasts Udarnik in half. (The robot is defeated way too easily after the things we've seen him do before.)

Tony now exchanges the Endotherm armour for his own, complete with cosmic syphon. He starts to convert phlosgistone to iron, beginning witht the atoms in his own body. He immediately regains his own mind, along with the realisation of what he's done during this series - using everyone around him as pawns in his grand plan. Phlogistone made him more reckless and uncaring, but underneath was his own ego.

While philosophising Tony completes the destruction of all the phlogistone on the Moon, and beams its cosmic energy into space. As with Extremis, Stark has taken the decision upon himself to deny humanity access to something that he deems too dangerous.

Later he explains everything to his biographer Cora Birch - phlogistone turned him into a supervillain. She might be willing to forgive him, but his biography is no more - the publisher thought her approach was too negative.

1 month later, with no phlogistone to fuel a gold-rush, Tranquility City is deserted apart from Tony repairing and improving Udarnik. He reboots the robot, and offers to take him to Earth where he can meet new friends. But Udarnik won't talk to him, and walks out onto the Moon's surface.

Stark then leaves the Moon, promising himself that he and mankind will return 1 day. And Udarnik is alone once more on the Moon, this time with only an inactive spider-drone for company.

Neil Edwards
Terry Pallot
Chris Sotomayor
Lan Medina (Cover Penciler)
Lan Medina (Cover Inker)
Lan Medina (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

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

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