Top critical review
Iron Man on autopilot
on 27 April 2013
I'm not going to list exactly what the five nightmares of the title are because they're kind of the same thing - basically, Tony loses control of the Iron Man tech, they proliferate, and it gets used for evil. And whaddayaknow? It comes true. The son of Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges in the first Iron Man movie) goes nuts like his dad and uses his genius to subvert Stark Tech, incorporate it into his body alongside Extremis and becomes a terrorist out to sink Stark Enterprises and kill Tony.
Matt Fraction's an ok writer. I like his Fantastic Four stuff he's doing at the moment and I've heard nothing but good things about Hawkeye which I can't wait to read, but he also wrote some pretty terrible stuff in the 2007-10 period when this book is set, like his godawful Punisher and the brainless Fear Itself Event. Invincible Iron Man falls somewhere in the middle. It's not terrible but it's not that great either.
For me the best representation of Tony Stark has always been Warren Ellis' version from Extremis, Ultimate Human and Ultimate Armor Wars. His Tony is witty and pervy in just the right amounts, but also charming, funny and real. Fraction's Stark is a one-note character who's really kinda boring. He's the embodiment of liberal American attitudes from the Bush era where he feels he has to constantly apologise for all the suffering around the world as he feels somewhat responsible for it. Nice of you to acknowledge but it just doesn't make for a particularly likeable or interesting character.
Extremis makes an appearance because that's basically the best Iron Man book ever written and I think Marvel want to milk it for what's it worth, but it's not original, nor is Tony worrying about losing control of his tech which seems to be central to any number of Iron Man stories.
Salvador Larrocca's art is also very unimpressive. It's very heavily dependent upon computer imaging and it feels very polished and clean. It's so generic and bland that, while it looks professional, it also looks lifeless and dull. There was nothing about it that made me enjoy whatever I was looking at.
Iron Man is a surprisingly hard character to write. I was thinking about all of the Iron Man books out there and there is literally only one I could say is flawless - Extremis. Check that out for how Iron Man should be written but be warned - it will make you unsatisfied with every other Iron Man you read afterwards. Once you go Ellis you can never go back.