Invincible Iron Man #596

by Harlan Ivester on February 02, 2018

Invincible Iron Man #596
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Stefano Caselli & Alex Maleev
Colorists: Marte Gracia & Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            The Search For Tony Stark has been interesting enough, but I think most will agree that it’s being dragged out for too long at this point. At the same time, it seems like he was just put into that bio-techno-whatever stupid coma last week. I had been asking for a while, “what’s the point of putting him in a coma if AI Tony can still fight in the Iron Man armor?” and almost a year later, I really don’t feel like there’s a good answer. I get the vibe that good ol’ Bendis didn’t know how to fill up his remaining time on the book, but he knew he wanted his finale to be something (supposedly) big and important, so he stretched this out to eight issues. Eight whole issues. As usual, not much happens, but here’s your spoiler warning.

            We pick up where we left last issue with some Stark corporate goons led by one Iron Maiden confiscating Riri Williams’s work in her garage. I’m sure many of us were expecting some sort of melee to unfold, but probably in an attempt to keep us on our toes, Bendis instead has Riri surrender her work. It’s actually a nice move for the character. Even though she’s supposed to be one of the smartest people on the planet, we’ve seen Riri do a lot of stupid things as Ironheart. It’s nice to finally see her do something smart, like not leveling a suburban neighborhood in a fight for work that she could easily produce again. As for our other protagonist, Doom continues to not really do much. Some bad guys get the upper hand on him for a second, which we all know should never happen to DOOM, DESTROYER OF WORLDS. So we’re supposed to take away from this that something’s wrong – he’s been weakened. We’ll see how long it takes for this thread to go anywhere, though. Tony has a talk with his dad in his head, and Blade shows up for some reason…. I honestly have no idea how he’s going to fit into all this. I’m at least a little intrigued, I guess? Likewise, I’m still scratching my head at newcomer Xavier. I am glad, though, that the dialogue all around feels great. He has only three small lines, but Bendis writes Doom so well. Everyone else is given great Bendis banter, but not Bendisspeak. If so little is going to happen in each issue as is typical for one of his titles, it’s crucial that the character interactions we’re left with are believable and entertaining. Even though I feel that this story is going nowhere fast, I’ve had a good time reading it overall.

            Artists Stefano Caselli and Alex Maleev are still stellar choices for their roles with Ironheart and (Infamous) Iron Man, respectively. Some may find the change between the two a little jarring as Maleev’s work doesn’t have the same “depth” as Caselli’s, but they fit the tone and themes of each character too well for me to care. If it were switching back and forth, it might be a problem, so the choice to consolidate arcs was a good one. My highlight for each is that Caselli’s faces are so animated and distinguished, while Maleev’s magic is mesmerizing yet somber thanks to his work on colors. Alternate color artist Marte Gracia seems to spend an absurd amount of time giving shadows the attention to detail that they deserve while keeping the things bright so that it still looks a comic book. On the other hand, Gracia depicts Tony’s loneliness by fantastic placement of shades of blue, black, and gray. They contradict so well.

            I’m holding on to my sentiment that the Search For Tony Stark will ultimately have no need to be an eight issue arc, but I also realize that I shouldn’t complain too much when I’m still enjoying what I read, to a degree. At some point (specifically the next issue), though, this needs to start moving. I can only tolerate such little progress at $3.99 a month for so long. If you’re already on board the Stark search party, you shouldn’t skip this issue. It’s got the everything that’s kept you from abandoning the book for this long. If not, you’ve probably already decided to wait until #701 when Dan Slott takes the wheel.

Our Score:


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