Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, VC’s Joe Caramagna, and Kael Ngu
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 15th, 2023
No one is safe around Tony Stark! A close friend is dead, and the culprit looks to be Tony himself! But who is the real murderer? And why are they trying to frame Iron Man? All this, plus…a new armor for War Machine in this week’s Invincible Iron Man #3 by Gerry Duggan!
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Invincible Iron Man #3 Review.
Duggan takes the time in Invincible Iron Man #3 to provide readers with a background to this new person introduced into the story merely to die right away. Now, don’t get me wrong, the background is nice. However, is it necessary? The only way it’s essential is if it plays a bigger role in the story down the road. Otherwise, Duggan takes the readers on a ride, gets them to feel for this mystery guy, feel for his family, and then never talks about him again. That would be foolish storytelling and wasteful in terms of page count. Zhong’s story beat was a good 10 pages of the issue and was a well-crafted narrative that I wasn’t expecting but grew to love, especially with the second read-through.
Additionally, Duggan takes fans on a second wild ride that leads readers towards what we think will be a reveal as to who’s been behind all of this when in fact… you won’t. Sure, we see a preview for the next issue of Invincible Iron Man, however, Duggan really doesn’t give any context clues as to who is behind this takeover of Stark Industries. Ultimately, fans get the answer by looking at the cover preview for the next issue. Of course, that could be a solid fake-out. Nevertheless, I still can’t shake the purpose behind focusing an entire issue on a never before seen character’s backstory who just died to then not reveal any hints or narrative clues whatsoever as to who is behind this takeover. It seems silly and in bad character… unless Zhong is somehow a part of all of this for some reason.
Lastly, I wanted to also focus on the push for the Life-Model Decoy. Why was Rhodey so taken aback by how realistic the Life-Model Decoy was? These things were all over the place years ago and no one could tell the difference then. So, why is its realism a big deal now? But again, it’s a plot thread where Duggan decided to focus. Meaning, why spend so much of Invincible Iron Man #3 on two plot threads that may never be revisited again instead of providing fans with context clues as to who’s truly behind destroying Stark’s name?
Juan Frigeri continues his realistic style with his thicker, weightier lines that tend to outline the characters. Yet the biggest takeaways from this week’s display are the armor. Readers get some retro armor shots, War Machine, and two different Iron Man suits to boot that are simply stunning with this sense of shine that provides that extra layer of realism. Additionally, the lettering fits this more technical tone and style which would surround a Tony Stark comic. Overall, Duggan couldn’t be more pleased as Frigeri and crew complement the story incredibly well.
Even with the focus of Invincible Iron Man #3 being on two unrelated plot points that don’t (currently) seem to benefit the overarching story, I still found myself interested in the anecdote. I loved the background on Zhong and Duggan’s ability to quickly get fans to care for this newly introduced character. Moreover, the LMD better explains what happened to the Living Laser while simultaneously providing further potential for possible LMDs to pop up in the future which has been mostly gone from the Marvel Landscape.
I guess what ultimately worries me the most about Invincible Iron Man #3 is that Duggan is supposed to be guiding us through a mystery. A “whose done it” kind of story. In that sense, we need context clues. So, if this issue focused on Zhong and LMDs, how is this supposed to point us to Feilong? My point is: it shouldn’t! He’s a mutant hater trying to take over Mars. What does this have to do with Tony? Therefore, I’m more on the fence that Feilong is a red herring. And if not, I’ll have some issues with THIS specific issue. Thus, my review hangs more on the balance of the future than the present. Right now, it feels like an average story that kept my interest enough. However, if later we find out something deeper involving these LMDs and Zhong, that very well could escalate my review of this issue immensely. Otherwise, we will have to wait to find out!