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Invincible Iron Man #7

Review by Paul Bowler

Tony Stark deals with the global affairs of his company and War Machine confronts Biohack Ninjas in Tokyo in Invincible Iron Man #7: The War Machines Part 2, as a new threat to the Marvel Universe begins to emerge. Calling on some unexpected assistance from Spider-Man, Iron Man and War Machine must prepare to face a deadly new menace!

Invincible Iron Man #7 continues The War Machines story arc where Tony Stark is already late for a very important meeting. When it becomes clear that Rhodey is missing in Japan, Tony’s armors AI, Friday, is soon on the case, and together with some concise observations and suggestions form new assistant Mary Jane Watson, Tony finds himself calling on an unlikely ally for assistance – Spider-Man! Meanwhile in Japan, Colonel Rhodes is up to his neck in trouble as War Machine after being captured by the Biohack Ninjas.

Brian Michael Bendis cuts right to the chase during second part of The War Machines saga, particularly when it comes to some pretty major issues for Tony Stark and his company. Indeed, the addition of Mary Jane Watson to this series is already proving an inspired move. MJ’s meeting with Tony to discuss her new role at his company is a prime example, she’s also clearly done her homework, puts loyalty to the “sisterhood” before anything else, and its clear right from the outset that Mary Jane is going to be no pushover when it comes to dealing with the eccentricities of Stark‘s way of thinking and shaking up the status-quo.

Invincible Iron Man 7 (Cover)

The characterization and plotting Brian Michael Bendis employs in this issue is superb. His handle on the characters is pitch perfect, the opening scenes alone between Tony, MJ, and Friday, are a sublime mix story and exposition which finely balances the overarching narrative with the action unfolding in Tokyo with War Machine. It’s also great to see Spider-Man in this issue as well. I guess it was inevitable that Tony Stark’s path would eventually cross Peter Parker’s and Parker Industries at some point, especially now they both move in the same business circles. This really allows Bendis to capitalizes on the interesting dynamic already evolving between Tony and MJ, particularly as he doesn’t know everything about her connection to Spider-Man / Peter Parker. I also really liked the scenes where Tony is surprised to learn that Mary Jane has Peter Parker’s emergency number!

The series’ new artist Mike Deodato and colorist Frank Martin continue to make their mark on this title. The impressive décor at Stark gives way to the technological splendour of Tony’s lab / workshop, as Deodato relays Tony’s and MJ’s meeting across a spread of numerous panels; which collectively forms collage-like page layouts of interlocking imagery that seamlessly blends dialogue and movement to hit every emotional mark to perfection. Mike Deodato and Brian Michael Bendis are a brilliant team for Invincible Iron Man, they instinctively know what makes the story and visual work in unison, and the results here are stunning.

Along with his impressive take on both the Iron Man and War Machine armors, Mike Deodato, to coin a phrase, also draws an amazing Spider-Man, and the sight of our friendly neighboured / globetrotting web-spinner set against the gleaming Tokyo skyline at night is absolutely breathtaking. Frank Martin’s colors also really come into their own in this issue, with the soft tones and hues inside Stark’s building giving way to the shadows and glowing instrumentation in the lab, while a subtle noir tone permeates Spidey’s web-swinging across Tokyo, and the ominous gloom of War Machines predicament feels genuinely menacing.

The humour in the issue of Invincible Iron Man is sure to raise many a wry smile or two. Bendis cleverly eschews what was once a very familiar Iron Man trope as Tony sidesteps his green-eyed animosity towards Peter Parker to get his number from MJ, so he in turn can ask Peter to get his “bodyguard” Spider-Man to begin looking for Rhodey while Tony suits up jets over to Tokyo himself. Indeed, Tony’s jibes about his father, real or otherwise, along with Peter’s phone number, and the tracking device in Rhodey’s armor are all key instances that highlight what make this Marvel series and its characters feel so real and the plot so enjoyable.

While the majority of this issue focuses on Tony and Mary Jane, and Spider-Man‘s brief cameo, when we do catch up with War Machine it seems that Rhodey might’ve underestimated the Biohack Ninjas technical capabilities! Invincible Iron Man #7 builds towards a thrilling climax, with Rhodey facing terrible danger, Iron Man flying to the rescue, and at a certain Institute of Technology; someone is busy burning the might night oil…

Invincible Iron Man #7 might be a little light on actual Iron Man action, but the time is well spent developing the new story arc and the relationships between the characters, and it all races towards a triple-edge cliff-hanger of sorts that hones the plots momentum enough to keep up eagerly awaiting the next issue to see how everything is going to knit together. With the excellent writing of Brian Michael Bendis continuing to impress on every level, combined with the superb artwork by Mike Deodato, the high quality of Invincible Iron Man #7 is a sure fire indication that Iron Man’s adventures and The War Machines story line looks set to be one hell of an exciting ride!

Publisher: Marvel / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Art: Mike Deodato

 Color Artist: Frank Martin / VCs Clayton Cowles Letterer & Production

Cover Artists Mike Deodato & Frank Martin