Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blogathon 29: The Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares

[Discussed in this post: The Invincible Iron Man #1-7.]

My dislike of these comics is a little exagerated because I'm not a big fan, which isn't the common consensus for Fraction's Invincible Iron Man. After all, it won an Eisner. If you're going to listen to me or the Eisner's... well, I can't fault you for siding with them.

The first issue of this story is very good. The epilogue (issue seven) to this story is very good. Everything else is rather bland and mediocre, I find. The story really suffers from a first issue that was overwritten -- in that good way where it's amazing because a lot of hard work and time... hard work and time that you couldn't reasonably expect Fraction to put into subsequent issues. The drop off in quality is actually pretty big from the first issue to the second and it never really recovers until issue seven -- and even then, it's not a steady line of improving quality, that's more a momentary jump that doesn't last (I dropped the book in the next arc).

The first issue here is a perfectly crafted little jewel. The narrative coheres for the whole issue, the pacing is spot-on, the ideas are great -- actually, I'll state that the ideas are consistently great in this arc. The character moments/interactions are quite good. I'd put Invincible Iron Man #1 up against almost any other single issue Fraction's written (not Casanova #14, though, because that's his best).

After that, though, it doesn't hold up. Things don't get bad, just less good, more mediocre, more middling. I wasn't really bored reading this story, but I wasn't engaged either. Tony doesn't really have any personality, Stane is very typical, everything just seems like it's going through the motions.

Things aren't helped by Salvador Larroca who does some of his work art ever on this book. He uses a lot of photorefence and forgets how to draw. It's ugly, ugly stuff. The worst part? In issue three, he does a couple of flashback pages in a Moebius style that is SO good. Why couldn't he draw the entire comic in that style?

Question: when Tony is in China, why would China, a permanent member of the UN security council, try to arrest him when he is the Director of SHIELD, the UN-funded world peacekeeping organisation? I know China doesn't get along with everyone, but that seems like one of those lines they wouldn't want to cross since it would cause MANY problems. Oh wait, SHIELD isn't really a UN organisation... somehow... right? (And I didn't hold this against Fraction really since it's a problem the entire MU has with SHIELD... thank god they got rid of it...)

Issue seven has heart and heart will ultimately win me over.

We're soon approaching Secret Invasion, folks. But, first, in 30: New Avengers: The Infiltration (aka 2 issues that don't fit anywhere else).

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]