Iron Man, Mandarin, Stane and Hammer on Comic Book Weekly

Invincible Iron Man

One of the joys of reading Matt Fraction's work is his ability to handle a lot of pretty big characters in one story line without letting them swamp the whole piece. I am at issue 517 of Invincible Iron Man, at the point Tony Stark realises they are working together, and it very much feels like the end of act one, the start of act two.

Exit right, pursued by bear

Tony has just left China and the attack on the Yangtze dam, an attack seemingly in place only to feed the line of "disaster capitalism." As he is being escorted back by the US Army he realises those two are working together and I am so far with it.  Then, the full scale of attack is revealed and about 20 other characters are introduced.  I so want to enjoy this series but it feels like for want of a better plot,  they are going to throw every character at it until it works.  Mandarin and Stane play off each other brilliantly, I have no need for another 20 minor characters who won't add anything to the story.

Matt Fraction's Iron Man

His earlier work on Iron Man saw the psychological breakdown of Tony Stark, his friends questioning themselves about if they should revive him and his further struggle to come to terms with his actions.  It was gripping, beautifully written and a pleasure to read. This just feels like Michael Bay doing comics.  Each section feels independent of each other, the action doesn't feel plausible and the scale of it all is just unreal.  I love Matt Fraction's work when he deals with the consequences of actions, when the characters themselves shine - it is gripping.  Am not feeling the large scale action scenes.

I stayed away from Iron Man for a long time, as well as comics overall, because of these big, stellar action scenes which felt irrelevant.  This is Iron Man as I was expecting it, a big spectacle which is impressive in scale but feels disposable.