Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Punting It: Invincible Iron Man #505

I was supposed to review Invincible Iron Man #505 and even bought it for the expressed purpose of reviewing it. I didn't review it. This isn't the first time that's happened. I (and many of my fellow reviewers) have punted books because, when it came time to review them, there was nothing to say. But, I'm not sure that's actually the case with Invincible Iron Man #505; I'm more convinced that anything I have to say wouldn't really work in a CBR review.

That immediately raises the concept of what a 'CBR review' entails and, maybe, I've limited myself in that regard. That's definitely possible, I admit, but I do think there is a 'type' of review you write for that site, and most other 'mainstream' places. It's almost like a broad overview of the comic with a few specific examples whereas, here, I'm more inclined to focus in on a couple of specific points and ignore the broad view. I'm sure that approach could work on a place like CBR -- and I've probably done it and just don't remember when.

More than that, I have little opinion on most of this comic. It's a dumb action comic that tries to horrify us and seem big, but never does. Part of that problem with that is that, in destroying Paris by transforming almost everyone into statues by the Worthy-fied Grey Gargoyle's new Medusavision seems cheap to me. I doubt it will mean anything besides giving Tony Stark a reason to freak out. Will the consequences of the population of the capital of France being slaughtered be addressed in the future? I'd bet ten bucks on 'not fucking likely.' And, if it's not, why should I care? These dead people are props and nothing more. Hey, maybe I'm weird, but I tend not to care about props. You may as well have Iron Man and the Grey Gargoyle destroy cars and buildings like they usually would, because the people of Paris matter just as much as property in Marvel New York City. Hell, probably less. Avengers Tower getting destroyed will almost certainly have more follow-up than the dead city of Paris. It's had more build-up and emotion invested into it and will have more invested in it in the future, and isn't that what causes an emotional connection? The build-up and the payoff? That these are meant to be 'people' doesn't matter; they're just drawings on the page (and not particularly good-looking ones). They're not really people and no work has been put into it to make me think of them as such beyond Tony Stark kind of crying and vomitting all over their statue corpses. Is that a metaphor or symbol or something, folks?

The only other thing that stood out in this comic was that final panel that I haven't seen discussed online (I haven't sought out discussion on this comic or anything; I'm talking about discussion by the folks in my little circle of folks who talk about comics... though I may have missed it since I'm not on Twitter 24/7). The comic ends with Tony flying away, apparently to fix his armour and check in with his fellow heroes, except he took the bottle of whiskey that was sent to him by Hammer Industries as a big "Fuck you, you addict fuck!" gift. I've wondered when Stark would finally fall off the wagon, wondering if it would ever plausibly happen after the giant string of fuck-ups he had starting with Civil War. By the end of Secret Invasion (which, if you follow the Bendis timeline, took place all of a month after Civil War... AT MOST), he'd fallen so low that you kind of expected the story to be "Iron Man: The Drunken End" where he gets shitfaced for six issues until he's arrested and shot in the head by Norman Osbourn. Except, he didn't drink. That led to Tim putting forth the theory that maybe they'd wait until things are going so well for Stark that he decides that he's on the top of the world and can handle drinking. His ego would be his cause to begin drinking again. This issue seems to point to him heading back into the bottle because Paris was killed. Now, he hasn't actually drank yet and this could be a big tease by Fraction that leads to a scene where Stark takes the bottle to Paris, throws it at the Grey Gargoyle and makes some dumbass speech about how he's too strong to let the bastards get him down. That seems oddly likely. Personally, I'd rather see him just make a brief stop by wherever Steve Rogers is, tell him that it's on him and that they won't have Tony Stark to kick around anymore, because he's going to go drink himself to death on some island somewhere. Okay, not really, but that would be entertaining.

I'm wondering if Stark crawling back into the bottle is the lasting consequence of Paris. Is that how those deaths are made to 'matter?' Is that enough? Not really, because they're still just props then.

I will say this: I'm tempted to pick up the next issue to see if Tony pops that seal and says "Fuck it" to the rest of the world.