The trade (which features varient covers, not something I’ve seen before on a trade. Bit strange) covers Matt Fraction’s first arc, The Five Nightmares which sees Tony balancing his life as Director of SHIELD and involvement with Stark Industries, as Ezekiel Stane, son of Obidiah Stane finally enacts his lifelong plan to get revenge for his father’s death.
Its a great story. I used to read Iron Man all the time, but after Heroes Reborn (I loved that take on the character), I fell out of collecting the book. I briefly got back on board during the Secretary of Defense storyline, but then that was torpedoed by Avengers Disassembled.
This is the first time in a long time that I felt I was reading the Iron Man I remember. Matt Fraction does a brilliant job of playing with how Tony’s mind works, through little scenes inserted into the story, where someone will say something, which gives Tony an idea as to how to solve some completely unrelated problem. It also picks up on a well-visited aspect of Tony’s character. His fear of the Iron Man technology falling into the wrong hands, that formed the basis as the original Armour Wars storyline.
Here we have Ezekiel Stane. Son of Obidiah, and who has a genius-level intellict comparable with Tony’s. While not as inventive as Tony, he none-the-less manages to reverse engineer Iron Man technology and incorporate it into suicide bombing, merging the bombers with repulsor technology. Tony is once again forced to confront the idea that his technology is in the wrong hands, and this time its being used to cause countless deaths in acts of violence and terror.
Its a great opening to Matt Fraction’s run. Ezekiel makes for a great foil for Tony. Equally brilliant and younger, we have a great scene where Tony is playing chess with Reed, and Reed throws these facts at him. Tony’s confidence comes to the fore as he beats Reed at all their games of chess simultaneously and says that’s how he’ll beat Stane.
And that’s what I truely loved about this story. Yes, there’s a great villain, yes Fraction brilliantly plays the horror and scale of the threat this technology means, however what really makes this story is that the character of Tony Stark felt just right. He’s a genius, he’s confident, and he’s also haunted, and absolutely terrified of what this thing he created can do.
Of course, with the benefit of reading the current issues, we can now see how Tony’s character is still being played with, with that very same confidence now being his downfall, and his intelligence being slowly taken away from him. From what I’ve read so far, I really think Matt Fraction’s run on this title has the potential to be remembered as one of the really great runs.