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Invincible Iron Man #9

Review by Paul Bowler

Tony and Rhodey’s friendship is tested to the limit in Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man #9: The War Machines Part 4, as the explosive fallout of the showdown in Japan between Iron Man, Rhodey, and Spider-Man against Tomoe and her biohack ninjas unfolds. This exciting road to Civil War II story will challenge Iron Man and War Machine like never before as new players are revealed and threaten everything they represent…

Iron Man may have called on Spider-Man’s help to find Colonel Rhodey in Japan, but rescuing Rhodey from techno-golem Tomoe and her biohack ninjas didn’t prove quite as straightforward as expected. Tomoe is able to attract and assimilate all forms of technology, including Rhodey’s and Tonys armor, and even Spider-Man’s web shooters! With Tony’s suits AI, Friday, unable to counteract this new technology, Tomoe initiated a cataclysmic explosion to destroy them all. Now, writer Brian Michael Bendis delivers further action-packed developments as Invincible Iron Man #9 takes The War Machines arc to whole new level of excitement and intrigue.

Invincible Iron Man #9 begins with Tony Stark MIA, shares in his company have plummeted, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as Brian Michael Bendis surreptitiously casts a veil of mystery and suspense over what has really happened to Tony Stark. The War Machines Part 4 might not be wall-to-wall action like the previous issue, but it makes up for it with some brilliantly crafted character moments: with Friday dealing with an irate shareholder, an immensely thought provoking interlude with Doctor Amara Perera and the reformed Victor Von Doom, and Rhodey’s return visit to the secret underground nightclub in Osaka to get information about Tony’s whereabouts from its wheelchair bound proprietor – the mysterious Miss Yukio.

Invincible Iron Man #9 cover

The most startling scene is that aforementioned meeting of minds between Victor and Amara, as advancements in her research into Alzheimer’s disease remains elusively beyond her grasp. Its a matter further compounded for her because of Tony’s disappearance, even news reports that Peter Parker has his best people searching for him offers little comfort, but it is the way Doom gains access to her lab that initiates the most fascinating debate of all. The startling juxtaposition between science and magic Bendis strikes in their conversation becomes intermingled with the ethical, moral, and potentially far-reaching consequences that reside in the core of Doctor Amara Perera’s argument with Victor Von Doom, and we are left wondering just how far she is prepared to go to compromise her principles in order to see her research move towards human trials.

Mike Deodato’s artwork for this issue is as captivating as it is dynamic. Deodato’s art brings added emotion and intensity to this densely plotted issue from Bendis, it’s almost as if they instinctively play to each others strengths as writer and artist, and the result is one of the most gripping issues of Invincible Iron Man so far. From the pang of emotion on Friday’s face when she’s asked if Tony is dead, to the frenetic action when Rhodey goes looking for information in the club in Osaka, and the marvellous scene between Amara and Victor, this issue has it all. Color artist Frank Martin is also on fine form, delicate tones and velvety shadows are blended in perfect harmony with every beat of the story, effortlessly drawing us into the narrative, and the Rhodey, War Machine, and biohack ninja scenes are the action-packed highlight of the issue!

Of course, the striking cover for Invincible Iron Man #9 by Mike Deodato reveals the debut of a brand new armored superhero, a woman, and the cover blurb reads: “OK, she doesn’t have a hero name yet – She’s working on it!” It’s certainly going to be the big talking point of this issue, but who is it? I won’t spoil it for you, but rest assured, everything – kind of – is revealed in this issue, it actually links back to scenes from earlier in The War Machines story-arc, and it skilfully sets up some really exciting possibilities for the future!

So, where is Tony Stark? Well, after keeping us – and most of the characters – guessing, that question is indeed answered in this issue, and it’s ingeniously done as well. Invincible Iron Man #9 is a tense, exciting, and thoughtful issue in The War Machines story-arc, Brian Michael Bendis is making Tony Stark’s work more compelling with every issue, it feels like we are building towards a real epic now, and with Mike Deodato’s excellent artwork and Frank Martin’s intricate colors, Invincible Iron Man continues to impress on every level and remains one of Marvel’s best new titles.

Publisher: Marvel / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Art: Mike Deodato / Color Artist: Frank Martin

VCs Clayton Cowles: Letterer & Production

Cover Artists Mike Deodato & Frank Martin