Invincible Iron Man #600 Review

by Harlan Ivester on May 23, 2018

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Stefano Caselli, Alex Maleev, David Marquez, Daniel Acuna, Leinil Francis Yu & Gerry Alanguilan, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato Jr., Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy & Scott Hanna, and Andrea Sorrentino
Colorists: Marte Gracia, Alex Maleev, Daniel Acuna, Guru-eFX, Romulo Fajardo, Marcelo Maiolo, and Rachelle Rosenberg
Publisher: Marvel Comics
            UPDATE: A few things have come to my attention about the issue that are worth mentioning and in fact are going to lower my rating for it. Tony digs up Rhodes, still in his War Machine armor. Frank Castle is supposed to be wearing that armor right now. Just another great example of Bendis disregarding and outright disrespecting other writers. Also, the final pages of this issue are shameless reprints from All-New X-Men Annual #1. Bendis teased that this issue would have some kind of appearance of Eva Bell, but it’s pages we’ve already seen before. Just another middle finger to the fans.

           Original review below.

            Well, this is a landmark issue, that’s for sure. Yeah, the big six hundred, but who cares? This is Brian Michael Bendis’s last issue of Spid—I mean, Iron Man, or more importantly, his last Marvel comic. It truly is the end of an era. I only about a week ago finished reading all of his Ultimate Spider-Man run, and it blows my mind that it’s written by the same guy that wrote Invincible Iron Man #600. USM (at least until Ultimatum) is one of the greatest Spider-Man runs of all time, while this is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. It’s up there with Civil War II, also by Bendis. How far we fall.
            Now, before I go any further, I need to get this out of the way. I must reiterate, anything bad I have to say about this issue is solely because of the writing and is nothing against Bendis personally. I’m sure he’s a good dude, and like I said, he’s written some truly fantastic stuff that I will always love. But when something has a price tag on it like this and feels this phoned in, I have to say something, because we and these characters deserve better. Even Riri, who I suspect was created simply so that Bendis could get paid if she were ever to be adapted outside of the comics. With that said, let’s get into it. Here’s your spoiler warning, but you really shouldn’t care because this book is atrocious.
            Where do I even begin? There’s so much to pick apart here, so forgive me because I’m going to jump around a lot. There’s a lot of sentences that simply don’t make sense. AI Tony says that “this one time,” Tony’s messing with his body saved his life. How is that true in any way? Just once? It’s been said before that Tony intentionally set up his body to go into a coma if he fell in battle. Here, he has the thought that if it worked for him, it might work for Rhodey. So Rhodey is back, just like that! No build up to it, no struggle, that’s it. But Rhodey died before Tony did. Why the hell did he wait until AFTER it worked on him to see if Rhodey could be saved? What did he have to lose? Rhodey was already dead!
            Were you reading this book for the Doom parts? I sure hope not, because he’s pretty unceremoniously dropped. Mephisto’s back, I guess, unless Red Hood is actually just another character showing up completely out of nowhere like our good pal LEONARDO DA VINCI. I didn’t review last issue so I saved my WTF for this one. WHAT THE %$&@? Who allowed this? Who thought this was a good idea? I know comic books are inherently ridiculous and I love them for it, but this is just a whole other level. This is bad fan fiction that somehow got published. I can’t believe this is how Bendis wants to go. If this is supposed to be his thesis statement on these characters, I have no idea what he got out of them. The only positive thing I have to say about the story is that it’s at least nice that Sorcerer Supreme Tony wasn’t completely dropped like I was starting to think…. but it’s Bendis’s last issue, so the idea probably will be dropped now. Also, the dialogue is improved. It’s not as pretentious, not trying so hard to be “realistic.” Credit where it’s due.
              I’m not sure that AI Tony had it any better than SS Tony. The book has been building him up for so long as a time bomb that was sure to be Riri’s greatest threat by a mile, since he’d have complete control of her armor and probably every other asset she has. He’s been withholding crucial information from the group, and nobody is concerned by it, and in the final pages, he just says, “eh, I’m gonna sit back and see what happens. I love everyone. Life is good.” By far the most interesting threat Riri has had, and he’s popped like a balloon. Why does Tony go back to an older armor when he has the Prime armor earlier? It’s objectively better. Maybe if he had just woken up and wasn’t thinking clearly, but he starts with the Prime armor and then downgrades. Just so we can have a nostalgic look, I guess.
            We have a whopping twelve artists and seven colorists this time around, and I’m sorry but I’m not going to go over them all. Bagley is great. It’s cool to see him drawing an adult Mary Jane again. Tony’s hair or lack thereof is inconsistent. Throughout the book, it’s really hard to tell what is happening when the action picks up. It can look cool but good luck actually trying to make sense of any of it. I have no idea what happened with Doom. Is he scarred again? What was that light over his castle? Magic? By him? I don’t know. I’m probably not supposed to know anyway but it’s a problem all the way through. The various colorists do pretty good work in setting a tone for a piece, but some people may be distracted by the inconsistencies between them. Some create a very 80’s vibe when it’s meant to be the exact same moment as the previous page. I enjoyed it by itself but it will easily take you out of the experience when some colorists only seem to stick around for three panels before they leave.
            This is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Brian, thank you for everything you’ve done, and I truly am excited to see what you do at DC and wish you well. You’ve been an undeniably huge part of Marvel’s development for almost twenty years, good and bad, and you have much to be proud of, but I’m excited for these characters to get the breath of fresh air they deserve from new voices and new directions.
            If you’re interested in Iron Man, wait for the new number one, obviously. Do not buy this book. It’s a mess. It’s sloppy, it’s rushed. It barely makes any sense. It does not reward those of us who’ve been with Bendis’s Iron Man for a long time, but instead just fakes an emergency phone call, gets an Uber home, and leaves you with the bill after inviting you to dinner at the most expensive Italian restaurant around. Pass.

Our Score:


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