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Old 10-27-2009, 02:53 AM   #1
Bruce Castle
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Default Invincible Iron Man

I know there are a few fans out there. I thought, especially with the last issue, the book deserves a thread. A good opening salvo?

Matt Fraction Talks Iron Man

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Since Norman Osborn's Dark Reign began, some of the Marvel Universe's greatest heroes have stepped forward to challenge and defy the former Green Goblin's authority. But for Iron Man, the best way to fight Norman Osborn was to run away. That's because Tony Stark's brain contained a database with the true identity of every hero in the Marvel Universe, as well as other vital information that could be devastating if it fell into Osborn's hands. With Osborn wielding the power of the U.S. Government, the intelligence agency H.A.M.M.E.R. (formerly S.H.I.E.L.D.), and an army of superhuman operatives, Stark knew he couldn't run forever, but he didn't have to. After using a powerful device to gradually erase the database--along with the rest of his mind--he just had to stay out of reach until the process could complete.

This was the premise of “World's Most Wanted” an epic 12-issue storyline in Marvel's “Invincible Iron Man”. In issue #19, writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca brought the arc to a close, which saw Tony Stark succeed in his mission but pay an awful price. The database Stark wanted to erase is gone but so is his mind. The once-invincible Iron Man is now trapped in a persistent vegetative state and is incapable of breathing on his own. Which leaves many to wonder what's next for Tony Stark? For answers to that question and more, we spoke with writer Matt Fraction about the conclusion of “World's Most Wanted” and “Stark Disassembled,” the next story arc of “Invincible Iron Man”

In “Invincible Iron Man” #19, Norman Osborn finally suited up in his Iron Patriot armor to confront Tony Stark in person. It was a violent confrontation in which the Iron Patriot beat Iron Man into his current vegetative state, but the ultimate victor of the battle was Tony Stark, not Norman Osborn. “I think planning to lose is still a win and that ultimately was Tony's plan,” Fraction told CBR News. “He knew that going up against Norman Osborn was an unwinnable fight and an unwinnable race. He formed his plan with that in mind.”

Part of Iron Man's plan to lose involved using the art of peaceful resistance. When the Iron Patriot assaulted him, he didn't fight back. “He employed a similar strategy to the one Cyclops used against Osborn. They both saw that the Rope-a-Dope was perhaps the wisest. They went for that and let Osborn be the evil, megalomaniacal prick they know he is,” Fraction said. “All Tony needed to do was keep him busy and distracted. He just needed to buy time and hope his friends came through.”

Tony's friends--Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, and Natasha Romanov, AKA the Black Widow--came through by helping alert the major world news networks' of the Iron Patriot and Iron Man showdown. So footage of Osborn's vicious assault on a pleading Tony Stark was seen by citizens around the world, which will impact the way people view Iron Man in the months ahead.

“I wanted 'World's Most Wanted' to be Tony paying the ultimate price for his transgressions. Not just in terms of who he was during 'Civil War', but for his entire life. His career as a weapons designer and really his entire history was here on this stage. We got to see him live through the sins of it all, culminating with the kids in the cave in issue #18,” Fraction explained. “So the way I'm going to handle things is that we'll see people who might disagree with what Tony did and the way he behaved and handled himself, but they saw him dig in, man up and take responsibility for his actions. This was Tony owning up to the fact that the smartest guy in the room was wrong about some stuff over the course of his life. He found himself in this crazy 12-part adventure where he had to answer for all of it all at once. And he had to do so without his super power, which has always been his mind.

“In out next issue we get a chance to talk to Tony before 'World's Most Wanted.' On the very dawn of 'World's Most Wanted,' you get to hear Tony's valediction,” Fraction revealed. “It was this very intense and personal expression of farewell. It's this kind of cool chance as we move forward into this new story to reframe what we've been through in a different perspective that's been kind of missing from the book for awhile, and that's Tony's P.O.V.”

Iron Man may have been ready to say his farewells, but at the end of “Invincible Iron Man” #19 it was revealed that he didn't go into “World's Most Wanted” without a safety net. It involved others playing their parts, allies like Maria Hill, Pepper Potts, and, ultimately, Thor's alter ego Doctor Donald Blake, who was revealed to be Tony's personal physician at the end of the arc. “I know a guy who's paid money to game out these horrible and incredible scenarios like how to turn our planet into a weapon to kill people. Tony is that kind of planner,” Fraction said. “He's always thinking of the full scope of things. Tony sees not just one game board but the possible half dozen game boards that can come from it.

“In 'World's Most Wanted' everything went according to plan,” Fraction continued. “When Tony said, 'I win.' It was the god's honest truth, chapter and verse. It went pretty much exactly how he needed and wanted things to go, assuming Pepper and Maria did their part. We'll have more on that next month,”

“Invincible Iron Man” #20 is in stores November 18. The issue kicks off the “Stark Disassembled” arc, which begins shortly after the ending of "World's Most Wanted”. “This arc is sort of 'All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty back together again,'” Fraction said. “It also reveals what Tony's master plan was and answers several lingering questions. What was on the hard drive that was recovered? What was Maria Hill doing? Why did Tony put Pepper on this incredible and extraordinary path?”

“Earlier in 'World's Most Wanted' Crimson Dynamo asked Tony if he wanted to destroy his mind why didn't he do something like jump in a volcano? Tony didn't jump in a volcano because he didn't want to give up the ghost,” Fraction continued. 'World's Most Wanted' caused Tony to take a great fall though and what if on some deep, unconscious metaphysical level Tony doesn't want to come back? What if this was all for naught?”

“Stark Dissembled” features a rather large cast of supporting characters. Several Marvel heroes and villains play roles in the story. “Tony is in his persistent vegetative state in Broxton, Oklahoma, where he's under the care of Don Blake,” Fraction explained. “Someone who got their ass handed to them in 'World's Most Wanted' decides to exploit that opportunity.”

“World's Most Wanted” was a sprawling epic but “Stark Disassembled” is a smaller, more intimate tale. “It takes place over the course of about three days,” Fraction said. “You k now how 'Tomorrow Never Dies' was this giant, epic, James Bond film with like a billion different locations? Well 'Stark Disassembled' is more like 'Casino Royale'; smaller, more intimate and very much about what's left of your protagonist when you strip everything away.”

“Stark: Disassembled” may be a smaller tale but that doesn't mean it will be light on action or important moments. “There's a moment in issue #21 and it's the first time I've ever written a double page spread,” Fraction said. “I rarely do splash pages. I have trouble allowing myself to do those, but this issue has one of the biggest and most important moments that I've written in a Marvel comic. So there's a huge double page spread by Salvador Larroca of that moment.”

In November readers will get a chance to read not just one but two Fraction-penned Iron Man stories. November 25th sees the release of the one-shot “Iron Man: Requiem” a special issue reprinting Iron Man's classic origin story and featuring an all new framing sequence by Fraction and artist Kano.

“'Requiem' slots in between issues #17-18 of 'Invincible Iron Man.' I heard they were doing it and Iron Man is one of those characters who was framed in real world events so that part of his origin doesn't really work any more,” Fraction remarked. “They were reprinting those stories though and I wanted to use the chance of Tony saying goodbye to himself and his memories in 'World's Most Wanted.' Tony's decaying mental state was an opportunity to explain and not necessarily invalidate those older stories. He knows how old he is and what day it is, but why does he keep thinking he was in Vietnam? And he wonders why would he be wandering around the jungle in a raincoat and a hat? So 'Requiem' doesn't throw away those classic stories it uses Tony's mental state as a way of embracing them.”

Fraction is very happy to have all of “World's Most Wanted” available to readers and is looking forward to their reactions to “Stark Disassembled” and the crop of stories he has planned for “Invincible Iron Man in 2010. “I do want to thank my old editor Warren Simons. Issue #19 was the last script I turned into him before he left Marvel,” the writer said. “'Siege' is coming up in 2010 but we'll be handling it like we did 'Secret Invasion.' 'Invincible Iron Man' will sort of exist around 'Siege.' 'Stark Disassembled' occurs separately. Then we're back for our next story arc, which starts in issue #25. I can give the initials of the story. They're 'S.R.' It's pretty easy to guess what the S is but the R is not 'Reborn' or 'Reloaded.' So issue #25 starts a big post 'Siege' and really post everything storyline where Iron Man, whomever it is, gets to reintroduce him or herself to the world.”
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:05 AM   #2
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I thought the conclusion to World's Most Wanted was great. I knew the slow burn would pay off. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

And I thought the art in this issue was better than usual. I usually don't like Larroca's art, but he draws the armor cool I think.
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:26 AM   #3
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Looks like I have some trades to read.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:01 AM   #4
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I thought the conclusion to World's Most Wanted was great. I knew the slow burn would pay off. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

And I thought the art in this issue was better than usual. I usually don't like Larroca's art, but he draws the armor cool I think.
Yeah, the one thing Larroca can kind of handle is the armor.

I'd rather read Fraction's script.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:20 AM   #5
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Oh, I LOVE Invincible Iron Man! I think I love it a little more with each passing issue, to the point where it's now one of my favourite comics on the stands. I'll gobble up any writing on the series I can find, to the point where I've been checking readRANT daily to check if they're gonna put up a review for it (hinthintcoughcough). I made a couple of posts elsewhere on the World's Most Wanted arc, I'll dig them up and repost them here, methinks.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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Oh, I LOVE Invincible Iron Man! I think I love it a little more with each passing issue, to the point where it's now one of my favourite comics on the stands. I'll gobble up any writing on the series I can find, to the point where I've been checking readRANT daily to check if they're gonna put up a review for it (hinthintcoughcough). I made a couple of posts elsewhere on the World's Most Wanted arc, I'll dig them up and repost them here, methinks.


I think I'm the only one who reads it. You'll probably see me talk about it by month's end.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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Yeah, the one thing Larroca can kind of handle is the armor.

I'd rather read Fraction's script.


I thought his Victoria Hand was pretty cool too.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:54 AM   #8
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I thought his Victoria Hand was pretty cool too.
He's like Land. Sometimes, it looks pretty, but the storytelling is terrible.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:00 AM   #9
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Posted on the Tuesday before the latest issue's Thursday release in the UK:

In preparation for this week's release of Invincible Iron Man #19 - the 12th and final chapter of "World's Most Wanted" - I've decided to go back and reread the rest of "World's Most Wanted" to see how it all holds up. I read the first 5 parts in one sitting tonight, and I must say when put together the thing runs like a racehorse.

On a monthly basis, I was a bit worried that the pacing lacked urgency, and didn't really pick up until around Chapter 8. I suspected back then that this was a story that might work better in graphic novel form than single issue form. And it seems my suspicions were correct, as thus far at least the story is far more engrossing as a whole, where Fraction's lack of decent chapter-ending cliffhangers for a big hook isn't so much a factor, and the character arcs of his three central protagonists are more clearly apparent.

The big setback is still Larroca's art, particularly in the earlier parts. In the first chapter, there's a conversation between Tony Stark and Norman Osborn, and I swear Osborn's face looks totally different in every panel. Such inconsistency also pops up elsewhere, and it can be annoying and distracting. But I do think the art steadily improves as the story progresses.

I'll have some thoughts on 6-11 when I read them, hopefully tomorrow, and maybe offer a conclusion on "World's Most Wanted" as a whole when I read part 12 on Thursday.

...

And then on the Wednesday:

Having completed my marathon catch-up by reading chapters 6-11 today, it only serves to further confirm what a great storyline this has been. Could the 12-part story have been condensed into a 10-part or even 8-part story? Probably. But I think each issue has enough good stuff in it to justify its existence, even if some chapters feel more essential in furthering the plot than others.

I'm trying to avoid spoilers for the finale - though I have a good idea what is likely to happen - but if it lives up to what's came before it, I think you could argue that World's Most Wanted is the best Iron Man story since at least Extremis.

...

I never did get round to writing my thoughts on the storyline as a whole after reading Chapter 12, but I may do that soon.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:13 AM   #10
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I think you could argue that World's Most Wanted is the best Iron Man story since at least Extremis.
Oh, like that's hard to do.

Nobody read it, but Haunted was pretty good.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:34 AM   #11
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Oh, like that's hard to do.

Nobody read it, but Haunted was pretty good.
Yeah, the trickier argument would probably be - is World's Most Wanted BETTER than Extremis?
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:36 AM   #12
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Yeah, the trickier argument would probably be - is World's Most Wanted BETTER than Extremis?
I'd have to re-read them. Granov kicks the shit out of Larroca. WMW is double the length. Haunted was good. I should pick up the trade.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:44 AM   #13
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I'd have to re-read them. Granov kicks the shit out of Larroca. WMW is double the length. Haunted was good. I should pick up the trade.
I was gonna pick up Haunted, but someone advised against it, saying I really need to pick up the entire Knauf run leading up to it first for a better context of the story. So I might do that first, if I can find Execute Program around.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:45 AM   #14
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I was gonna pick up Haunted, but someone advised against it, saying I really need to pick up the entire Knauf run leading up to it first for a better context of the story. So I might do that first, if I can find Execute Program around.
Do you? I can't remember. I only read the floppies, never looking back.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:46 PM   #15
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Haunted was awesome.

I picked it up in floppies and never had trouble following at all.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:14 PM   #16
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I still don't get how Fraction can be so amazing on Iron Man and be so Meh with Uncanny X-Men. It's mind boggling.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:36 PM   #17
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I still don't get how Fraction can be so amazing on Iron Man and be so Meh with Uncanny X-Men. It's mind boggling.
X-Men can be a very tricky title. I heard even the mighty Ed Brubaker struggled a bit during his run.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:01 PM   #18
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This was the best issue of 2009. Matt Fraction has written the best Iron Man story ever
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:43 PM   #19
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a solid book evrey month so far. i really have enjoyed this and i'm not a big fan of ol shelhead
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:23 PM   #20
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Iron Man hasn't even really factored into this whole series so far.

It's all been about the deconstruction of Tony Stark.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:22 AM   #21
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I still don't get how Fraction can be so amazing on Iron Man and be so Meh with Uncanny X-Men. It's mind boggling.
I would easily put those two side by side. Actually, Uncanny is better than IIM at this point.

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X-Men can be a very tricky title. I heard even the mighty Ed Brubaker struggled a bit during his run.
Brubaker only seems to work well on things he cares about.

Fraction > Brubaker


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This was the best issue of 2009. Matt Fraction has written the best Iron Man story ever
No, it's not even the best issue of the month.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:21 AM   #22
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Fraction's Iron Man is good stuff. Ellis's Iron Man was better IMO. And Ellis did do a new up to date Origin story for Iron Man, why is Fraction doing it again?
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:44 AM   #23
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Fraction's Iron Man is good stuff. Ellis's Iron Man was better IMO. And Ellis did do a new up to date Origin story for Iron Man, why is Fraction doing it again?
Ellis wrote six issues. Fraction has written 19 and counting. How could Ellis' be better?

What new origin story is Fraction doing?
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:57 AM   #24
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Ellis wrote six issues. Fraction has written 19 and counting. How could Ellis' be better?

What new origin story is Fraction doing?
“'Requiem' slots in between issues #17-18 of 'Invincible Iron Man.' I heard they were doing it and Iron Man is one of those characters who was framed in real world events so that part of his origin doesn't really work any more,” Fraction remarked. “They were reprinting those stories though and I wanted to use the chance of Tony saying goodbye to himself and his memories in 'World's Most Wanted.' Tony's decaying mental state was an opportunity to explain and not necessarily invalidate those older stories. He knows how old he is and what day it is, but why does he keep thinking he was in Vietnam? And he wonders why would he be wandering around the jungle in a raincoat and a hat? So 'Requiem' doesn't throw away those classic stories it uses Tony's mental state as a way of embracing them.”

This sounds like Fraction is doing a new Origin Story. I might be wrong. Ellis's Extremis arc made Iron Man an A list character and set the ground work for him being the center of the Marvel U. In six issues Ellis did way more than Fraction has in 19 issues. Quality not quantity. I am not saying Fraction has not given quality because he has. But it has not had near an impact as Ellis work did.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:25 AM   #25
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“'Requiem' slots in between issues #17-18 of 'Invincible Iron Man.' I heard they were doing it and Iron Man is one of those characters who was framed in real world events so that part of his origin doesn't really work any more,” Fraction remarked. “They were reprinting those stories though and I wanted to use the chance of Tony saying goodbye to himself and his memories in 'World's Most Wanted.' Tony's decaying mental state was an opportunity to explain and not necessarily invalidate those older stories. He knows how old he is and what day it is, but why does he keep thinking he was in Vietnam? And he wonders why would he be wandering around the jungle in a raincoat and a hat? So 'Requiem' doesn't throw away those classic stories it uses Tony's mental state as a way of embracing them.”

This sounds like Fraction is doing a new Origin Story. I might be wrong. Ellis's Extremis arc made Iron Man an A list character and set the ground work for him being the center of the Marvel U. In six issues Ellis did way more than Fraction has in 19 issues. Quality not quantity. I am not saying Fraction has not given quality because he has. But it has not had near an impact as Ellis work did.
Oh, is that from that sea of words that I posted?

Well, it makes sense. Ellis didn't make any attempt to explain Vietnam. I just figured we were following movie continuity at this point.

Oh, lord. Ellis didn't make Tony an A-lister. Really, if you didn't think he was before, it was the movie that made him A-list. He's now as recognizable as Spider-Man, just about.

Ellis' story gave Tony a new origin. Ok, no biggie. It also introduced a unique concept that has already been abandoned, and it made Granov the premiere Iron Man artist, which Ellis can't really take credit for.

Fraction, if nothing else, has removed Tony's baggage from Civil War, making everyone comfortable with him. Then again, the movie helped too, but hell, Fraction was involved with Iron Man 2!
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