Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, VC’s Joe Caramagna, and Kael Ngu
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 14th, 2022
Tony Stark, the genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist, has lost it all: his wealth…his fame…his friends. But Stark doesn’t realize he still has so much more to lose, especially when the assassins start to come for him in the opening installment of Invincible Iron Man #1 by Gerry Duggan. It’s the beginning of the end, as the Golden Avenger must fight for his life and find out what it really means to hit rock bottom.
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So, stop me if you heard this one before. Billionaire losses all his money and is forced to find a way like the “normal folk”. Remembering the movie Trading Places? Rocky V? Or how about the most recent Detective Comics run? Therefore, the idea of a rich, billionaire playboy losing all his money just isn’t anything new. However, it is new to Tony Stark and the Avengers. And, the spin as to why Tony has no more money is quite fascinating and commendable. Nevertheless, aspects of it will still need you to hold a little bit of disbelief.
As the story continues to unfold, fans watch as Duggan builds on his version of Tony’s character well. Readers will see more of a sense of remorse than I can recall in quite some time. Moreover, Tony is obviously depressed and seems to be shaken to his core, which only tends to compile more with a “new opposition” on the scene. This new character seems more striking as someone from Gundam Wing than a Marvel Comic.
Nevertheless, this new edition provides an interesting look at the direction of Invincible Iron Man moving forward. Someone or some group wants to make Ironman suffer but not just physically. They want to tarnish his legacy, turn the public against him, rip down his entire empire, and leave him desolate BEFORE they kill him. This new villain must hate his guts for some reason fans are left to figure out. However, Duggan furnishes the narrative with some sturdy plot threads to draw just enough attention to see Invincible Iron Man #1 through while simultaneously tugging at some classic character flaws in the process.
Juan Frigeri doesn’t hold back with the detail in this week’s Invincible Iron Man #1. However, it’s almost as if the edgy detail makes the characters look a bit off in smaller panels. For example, Tony Stark looks almost Asian at times, which is fine… except he’s not. However, when you zoom in on his face inside the armor, he looks entirely different. Nevertheless, Frigeri does a fantastic job emphasizing emotion and shock from the characters’ perspectives.
Just look at Tony’s reaction after the fight with the Messenger. There is a ton of emotion in both the Messenger and Tony. Nonetheless, towards the end of the issue, it’s almost as if Tony’s face switches back to how it was at the beginning of Invincible Iron Man #1. Maybe it’s the darker inks and colors present in the nighttime as opposed to the day that makes the difference? Either way, Frigeri shines through better in the middle of the issue than the sandwich ends. Moreover, the excessive lettering cluttered up a few of the panels and oftentimes overloaded the page.
Invincible Iron Man #1 isn’t the most exciting opening installment packed with loads of action AND is reasonably heavy on the dialogue for an opener. But, Duggan paints the picture well as to where our hero is at in this ground zero issue. Tony is broken and Duggan has set up the long con that’s torn him up from the inside out. Nonetheless, Tony’s way is a bit different than the rest causing this creative team to focus on his stubbornness multiple times throughout the issue.
Overall, this story is a mix between Trading Places and Minority Report (in the premise, not the futuristic precog stuff) with a weighted slap of almost every bad characteristic of Tony Stark you can think of wrapped up in one comic. If Duggan’s point was to make the character be at one of his lowest points, he’s certainly succeeded. But, who’s behind all of this, and why? For someone to go through all of this, there must be some serious hate involved. As of right now, I’m intrigued and think it’s worth sticking out for a six-issue arc to see how this “irons out”. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!