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Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #4: Review

Oct 2013
Al Ewing, Neil Edwards

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #4 Review by (August 10, 2015)
Neil Edwards takes over as penciller for this issue, and will alternate with Lan Medina. This issue introduces many players to this series, some of them from recent issues of Iron Man. But Endotherm is an old IM villain from much further back, #136 of the original run. He was a 1-off villain then, but he'll return for the climax of this mini-series in #12-13. Eli Warren is from #5 of the current (2013) series. He stole tech, including Tony Stark's Extremis, to create the New Modernist Army, a group capable of taking humanity into space. Stark was on a mission then to stop the use of Extremis by rogue groups. He destroyed their supply, but left Warren and his Army with their existing Extremis enhancements. Another group that Shellhead stopped from using Extremis was Arthur and his Circle of Symkarian knights in #2, who were formed to guard against Symkaria's neighbour Dr Doom in Latveria. Hank Pym's pet Doombot appears in the Avengers AI series, and later will be the actual main villain in the Ultron Forever 3-issue 'series'. C Anderson Sixty and Cortex Inc are new here. They along with Eli Warren will be the focus of the story in the next 3 issues. Tony Stark gained a treasure trove of alien tech from Recorder 451 in the just-concluded Secret Origin of Tony Stark tale in IM#9-17.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Moon has a frontier town called Tranquility Gulch in the middle of a gold rush for the super-energetic liquid metal called phlogistone. The prospectors this time are scientists working for governments and corporations. But it has a sheriff, Iron Man, and his deputy the Soviet robot Udarnik. Udarnik and his spider-robot helpers used phlogistone to build the town, and create the air that forcefields keep in.

Udarnik alerts the Golden Avenger to a problem - someone who wants to kill him. IM finds a foe from a very long time ago, Endotherm whose armour absorbs heat and emits it as energy. Tom Wilkins was a Stark Industries security chief who tried to kill Tony Stark because he thought Stark was going to fire him. He was put under psychiatric care, but he's obviously now out, and blaming Stark for the recession. In particular his introduction of repulsor tech and now phlogistone have wrecked the conventional energy industry.

Tony checks his database and discovers that Wilkins now works for Eli Warren, whose dream of leading mankind into space were curtailed by Iron Man. Now he's part of the Lunar colony. Eli says he hired Wilkins for his expertise with heat, useful in the long Lunar day. But he certainly doesn't seem bothered about Tom attacking Tony.

Tony's memory now takes us in a flashback to another armoured fight (or sparring match) 1 hour ago in the Symkarian Lunar Embassy. Arthur is the leader of the Circle, that country's armoured knights. He is concerned that Dr Doom has been allowed to join the phlogistone rush. Stark says he can't legally keep him out, but he too is worried.

Back in the present Iron Man's force shield has successfully repelled energy blasts, but now Endotherm switches to a thin heat beam which drills through the shield, IM's armour and Tony's body. It also ignites an internal oxygen tank. Shellhead has to tune all his attention to dealing with the fire and is vulnerable to more attacks.

But Udarnik steps in. He restrains his own Shockworker/Hammer personality, and the more reasonable Udarnik/Sickle side just gets his spider swarm to form a prison around Endotherm.

We get another flashback, 2 hours ago in the Latverian Lunar Embassy. Armoured Stark faces 5 Doombots of the Dr Doom lookalike variety. He dismisses them as irrelevancies, because the real Doom is on Earth. He can't understand why Doom makes robots that pretend to be him - they're never as good as the real thing. Henry Pym even has 1 as a pet. But we get to see that 1 of the Doombots really is Victor Von Doom.

Iron Man has quenched his fire and his armour has healed, but not his body. Endotherm breaks out of the spider-prison and attacks again, as Shellhead's med-system finally kicks in to block the pain of his wound. So we go to another flashback, this 1 not timestamped.

There Stark meets with C Anderson Sixty of Cortex Inc who openly admits his company is effectively a super-villain in that they intend to take over the world - by creating products that will change culture to suit their aims. Sixty thinks Tony should join them because they're going to build a better world. Stark opts instead to oppose them.

Back in the now, Endotherm is trying his original trick - absorbing heat from Iron Man to freeze him. But Tony has had years to improve his own thermocouples, and beats Endotherm at his own game. The villain winds up encased in ice.

Leaving Udarnik to get psychiatric help for Wilkins, Stark heads for the robot's base which it called Crimson Dynamo after the Soviet Project which originally created him. Udarnik has built him a lab there. Using alien tech he got from Recorder 451, Tony has discovered that phlogistone has a built-in problem - prolonged exposure causes megalomania, obsession, psychosis and hallucinations. This is why he said at the end of last issue that he has to destroy it all. But he wonders when he'll start suffering from the effects himself.

Neil Edwards
Terry Pallot
Jesus Aburtov
Neil Edwards (Cover Penciler)
Terry Pallot (Cover Inker)
Jesus Aburtov (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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