INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOL 2.: THE WAR MACHINES BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, DAVID MARQUES, MIKE DEODATO
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES is a standard Iron Man story, with solid story and character, but little else. Brian Michael Bendis hints at growth for Tony Stark but seems more interested in bringing in other characters. David Marquez delivers solid art throughout.
82 %
LOOSE ARMOR

Collaborations can be hard. The most unlikely group creates a masterpiece (Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’), while two titans of rock join forces for a middling effort (Lou Reed and Metallica’s ‘Lulu’). INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES falls into the latter category, with Brian Michael Bendis taking on Tony Stark and falling short of expectations for Iron Man.

The Story

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES is a two-part story comprising INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1-11. Tony Stark creates a suit of armor that can mold to fit any purpose just as the ever dangerous Madame Masque shows up. Masque steals mystic artifacts while Tony receives help fighting her from Dr. Strange and the unlikely ally of Dr. Doom. Later Tony persues Dr. Amara Perera, who gets Tony to admit to some insecurities. In another part of the story James Rhodes follows a trail to Tokyo, finding a new villain dubbed the Techno-Golem, while Tony woos Mary Jane Watson into joining Stark Industries. The Golem kidnaps Rhodes, and Tony fakes his death to uncover her web of crime as Stark Industries teeters on the edge of a takeover.

READ: If Doom helping Iron Man seems weird, see what happens in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #1!

The Good

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the story of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES. Bendis understands Tony Stark and maintains his personality throughout. The story feels genuinely Iron Man, with technological musings, the cost and benefits of Tony’s ego, and real questions about Dr. Doom and other characters. Bendis also does a fine job of adding humor, not just with Tony’s trademark quips, but with new gags. For example, Tony and Dr. Strange’s ‘secret handshake’ routine is a delight.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOL 2.: THE WAR MACHINES
This must make it into INFINITY WAR (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment).

Dr. Amara Perera acts as a good addition to Tony’s character, seeing past his rich-boy tricks and getting him to admit some truths (he feels no one wants to listen to his problems because he’s rich). Additionally, the Techno-Golem is a great villain, turning Tony’s beloved tech against him. The art is as wonderful as the characters. David Marques mixes realism with slightly cartoonish expressions (like above), while Mike Deodato brings in grit as the drama and fights escalate.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOL 2.: THE WAR MACHINES
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

So why does this solid Iron Man story get such a low rating from me?

Because solid is all it is.

The Bad

Earlier in his career Brian Michael Bendis earned a name as one of the great modern comic writers. Marvel giving him Iron Man should be the most obvious pairing in the world. Bendis could’ve added new depth to Iron Man and made a classic for the ages. Instead, he took familiar elements (tech, corporate problems, and Tony’s ego) and used them to tell an Iron Man story that feels identical to any other. It’s certainly competent and well told, but at this point, we expect more from Bendis than competent. The author doesn’t seem to know what to do with Tony. There are hints of ideas — Tony dealing with magic, his new ‘perfect’ suit, and Dr. Parea. None of them go anywhere. Tony gets help with magic, his suit never malfunctions, and Dr. Parea has just a few good scenes. None of it takes Tony in a new direction.

Bendis seems aware of his shortcomings and tries to solve it by bringing in other characters: Dr. Strange, Dr. Doom, Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson, War Machine, and the Avengers. All of these characters appear in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES, and while none of them are bad, their purpose seems clear. Bendis uses them to fill space because he doesn’t know what to do with his star character. It’s not entirely his fault. Tony Stark is a major cog in the Marvel Universe. Bendis could have submitted ideas to evolve Tony Stark, only for Marvel to shoot them down.

READ: Tony and Spider-Man team up again in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, but did we see too much already?

The Legacy

The major bright spot in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES is Bendis’s debut of Riri Williams. Williams took over for Tony following CIVIL WAR II and her early days are fascinating. Readers see her build an Iron Man suit from scratch while dealing with a less than understanding college campus. Then she takes it out for a test run.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES
Truck-PUNCH! (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

Riri’s inexperience is a sharp contrast to Tony’s standard adventures. Bendis seems the most alive during her scenes, a nod to the excellent work he would do with her in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN.

READ: Want to see more of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN? Check out a review of  INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4!

Final Configuration Of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES isn’t the worst Iron Man story by far. It’s full of action and humor, which will no doubt please fans. It may be the most disappointing, though, since Brian Michael Bendis adds little to Iron Man’s legacy. The hints at Ironheart are easily the most interesting moments, and Bendis has done amazing work with her since. The rest of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES functions as another credible, but uninteresting Iron Man tale, that won’t reach the heights of classics like DEMON IN A BOTTLE. In conclusion, putting two greats together doesn’t always produce something great.

So I’m gonna go listen to Lou Reed’s’ Transformer’ and then Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets.’ They’re still good by themselves.

Pick up a copy of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN vol. 2: THE WAR MACHINES here

Advertisements

One Comment

  1. GST Impact Analysis

    June 26, 2017 at 2:04 am

    Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don’t really provide anything that attract others, but I’m most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

    Reply

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!

Check Also

MIGHTY THOR #701 Review: Fight, Thor, Fight!

MIGHTY THOR #701 has War Thor battling the Mangog. There's solid art by James Harren and D…