Iron Man and War Machine December '09

Iron Man #21Its a big week for fans of Iron Man.  Not only do we get the latest part of the Stark Disassembled storyline, but we also get the final issue of the current series of War Machine.  Its worth noting that War Machine should be read before Iron Man, as Iron Man will spoil the finale of War Machine otherwise.

However just to be contrary, I’m going to review Iron Man first 🙂

Continuing on from last issue, Stark’s closest friends are gathered around his body as Rescue continues to recite Stark’s plan to bring himself back from the self-lobotomy he performed during World’s Most Wanted.  Interestingly Pepper’s reluctance to help last issue is revisited here in a way that makes complete sense as we see what exactly Stark’s rebirth will cost her.  Its a testament to Fraction’s writing and the development he’s done with the character that I really found myself feeling for her, and in some ways Stark’s plan seems cruel to her (although, of course, when it comes down to the crunch she signs up with little hesitation).

The contents of the mysterious hard disc Maria Hill retrieved during World’s Most Wanted are revealed, and while not being a great surprise, its perfectly in character for Tony.  In fact, despite being brain dead for the issue, Tony continues to get the best lines, via the holographic recording he left with Rescue.

Its also nice to see Ghost turning up here.  He’s a character I hadn’t really seen much of, prior to picking up Andy Diggle’s Thunderbolts run the other month, and he’s become a real favourite as mine.  There’s something wonderfully freaky about his design, and the way he operates completely under his own agenda under Osborn’s nose remains interesting (especially as that agenda isn’t the usual supervillain posturing).

There is also the symbolism at play here, as Fraction brings together the newly-Reborn Steve Rogers and Thor to help in Tony’s resurrection.  We’re seeing the big 3 Avengers come back together here, in preparation for the upcoming Seige event, and it does feel like something big is coming in Marvel just through these characters being together again.

While I wasn’t entirely sure about the ending of World’s Most Wanted, and this Disassembled arc from the solicits, I think its paying off nicely, helped in part by moving along quite quickly, obviously so we can have Tony back on his feet and in armour in time for Siege.

War Machine #12Over in War Machine #12, things aren’t looking particularly rosy for Jim Rhodes either.   While he’s not lobotomised himself, Osborn has captured him and has him on trial for war crimes and facing execution.

As a wrap up to the year of War Machine we’ve had this issue works brilliantly.  Osborn remains centre-stage as the villain of the piece and the main characters from throughout the run are all spotlighted with James’ mother visiting him in prison, Ares turning up to free his champion and team War Machine in their usual support roles.

Its actually a real shame to see this series come to an end, if only because this issue would’ve marked a major turning point that would’ve set things up to go off in a different direction to the first year of the run.  And with War Machine turning up in Iron Man 2 next year, you have to wonder how long it’ll be before we at least get a new mini-series.

I do like how Greg Pak turns Osborn against himself here.   There’s an interesting parallel between this and the ending of World’s Most Wanted, which in both cases sees Tony and Rhodey turn Osborn’s own arrogance against him (as we see with Osborn himself exonerating Rhodey from War Machine’s crimes).  In both cases, the resolution came down to the planning by the main characters, rather than a knock-down fight.  Which especially in the case of War Machine is an interesting way to go.

There’s also an interesting clearing of the decks going on across these titles in time for the new year and the new film.  It’ll be interesting to see how Matt Fraction continues to rebuild Tony for example, since he’ll now be free from Extremis, have a movie-styled repulsor unit in his chest, and have to rebuild Stark Industries from the ground up.  And how Rhodey will feature into the Marvel universe will be interesting to see.  If nothing else, it might be nice to have him feature in Iron Man for a while again (while Tony’s getting back on his feet).  Certainly I hope the character doesn’t languish like he did after his first ongoing was cancelled.

9 thoughts on “Iron Man and War Machine December '09

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  1. I’ll probably post my own on War Machine (hell, still getting round to my post on Iron man, World’s most wanted) But for brief discussion, have really enjoyed this arc. And yes, will be interested to see how War Machine moves on from this (For all teh ongoing is axed) something I loved was how much War Machine Grek Pak has read, there have been tons of references to old War Machine stories, particularly liked his lawyer being a relative of Vincent Cetewayo.

    iron man has had a really good vibe about it, and it is establishing the Avengers Big 3 again which is always fun.

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  2. I’d completely missed that about the lawyer. Really nice little reference that.

    I refuse to believe that Marvel has no plans in the works for Rhodey. I’d imagine we’ll at least get a mini-series around the time of the film release. Or possibly Rhodey and Tony teaming up in the Iron Man book.

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  3. I’d suspect the Latter, reckon it will do Iron Man no harm to have war machine appearing on the cover. In fact, wonder if we will have post Seige decks cleared by the movie’s release. Would probably be a good idea.

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  4. Given the film’s due to be released in May, I reckon it should be quite likely. Seige seems to be kicking off in January, so hopefully won’t go on more than a few months. Given Dark Reign’s been going on all year, a nice tight wrap up would probably benefit things I think.

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  5. I’m still enjoying the basic idea of Dark Reign quite a bit, however the tie-ins lately have been wearing me down. I’d thought that The List was representing the wrap-up of the event (not sure where I got that from in fairness, but I was sure I’d read it somewhere), so the idea of having the conclusion so all over the place really put me off. At least now I know its actually Siege where everything’s going down.

    I’ve been enjoying Norman’s slow descent as well as his mask of sanity keeps slipping, although you do have to wonder how he (politically) survived the events of World’s Most Wanted.

    I just wish Dark Avengers had done a bit more with the “evil Avengers pretending to be good” idea. In many ways its still come across as a bit too traditional an Avengers book for my liking. The Ms Marvel run was much more enjoyable from that point of view.

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  6. I think the Dark Avengers rate as the characters who work best outside of their own book. There have been some nice touches (Moonstone’s attempts at manipulation, well bedding Captain Marvel and Bullseye have been fun) but in general the Dark Avengers work best when they appear in other titles, good thing is, they often do.

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  7. The Ms Marvel stuff with Moonstone was good fun, and I enjoyed the issues I got of the Sinister Spider-Man miniseries (budget cuts stopped me getting the whole thing). I tend to agree the Dark Avengers have worked best in other books.

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