Welcome to the Third Day of Bendis! Today we’ll be looking at the first issue of his 2015 Invincible Iron Man series!
So, I’m going to admit something to you all now. Pinkie’s the one who picked out these issues, right? Turns out that he intentionally picked out some of Bendis’ best stuff for me to check out, and avoided giving me some of his really bad stuff. Don’t you worry, though! Pinkie has assured me that he’ll torture me with shitty Bendis at a later date, and you all will get to see the pain I’ll be in, but I figured I should be up front about the quality of the issues I’m reviewing. Just so it doesn’t look like I’m needlessly praising someone’s work, whether they deserve it or not.
Because trust me, Bendis wrote one of my least favourite, most rage inducing comic events ever, so I’m definitely not scared to tear this guy apart.
I do appreciate, however, getting a chance to look at the work that made this guy so famous and well-loved. It’s nice to see that this guy deserves the jobs he’s been getting over the years.
And it was really nice reading this issue and seeing him inject some much needed personality into a character I find can be absolutely insufferable (mostly because the last time I read Bendis’ take on this character, he turned him into a total fucking knob).
With that said, on to the review!
This issue was pretty good.
I mean, after reading the last two it feels a little bit lacklustre, but it still carries the Bendis charm that made the last two issues so amazing!In this issue, we’re introduced to an old Iron Man villain, Madame Masque (Pinkie had to tell me who it was…the only Iron Man villains I really know are Iron Monger, Crimson Dynamo, and The Mandarin…I guess Whiplash too because Iron Man 2 exists, but I digress). We also get to see Tony Stark as we know him best: locked away making Iron Man suits and off playing Billionaire Playboy for a night with a hot chick. A nice change of pace, however, is that Bendis’ writing flips both of these iconically Tony Stark things and makes them a little more…I dunno, meaty? It just feels like it has more depth to it than I’m used to.
Tony is introduced building a new Swiss Army Suit, something with brand new tech to wow the world after his old suit was reverse engineered by some genius kid, but that’s only half the reason he’s doing this. He’s also doing it in order to not deal with the fact he’s adopted!
However, before he gets to test out his new toy, his trusty AI assistant Friday tells him to get his shit together because he has a date with a gorgeous biophysicist named Dr. Amara Perera. Friday warns him not to be late because it’s, like, totally not cute, and Tony gets his ass in gear.
They meet at a restaurant that Tony’s bought out for the night, and he fellates himself a bit (calling himself “Beatles famous” and whatnot), and Dr. Perera totally calls him out for it. Tony takes it in stride and manages to bounce back with a cute, self-deprecating quip.
We cut to Madame Masque, who in her introduction killed an ex-A.I.M. guy for some top secret stuff, and is now busy killing some ninjas in Osaka Stark Tower.
Back to Tony’s date, he’s taken her back to his pad to impress Dr. Perera some more, and she comments that she’s not looking to be impressed. He tells her that if he was trying to impress her, he’d bring in Thor for a surprise visit. She tells him that’d make her straight up leave, so he shoos Thor, who was hovering around on stand-by. It’s great.
Tony opens up to Dr. Perera, and asks if she’s ever invented anything that she knew she couldn’t release to the public because the public would use it wrong. She admits that yes, she has: a cure to mutants that doesn’t harm the host.
And here’s where Bendis loses me a little.
One, Dr. Perera goes on to say that she’d never release it because it would be like “curing Judaism”, clearly calling back to some Holocaust shit, but…like…it’s just a little different, maybe? Like, for one, mutants can’t be “cured”. It would be like finding a “cure” to blue eyes, or red hair, or pale skin. You’re just born with it, so I think the comparison is a little muddy.
But even if the comparison was talking more about cultural Judaism, such as a certain set of looks or genetic makeups or whatnot, then I feel like the comparison is a little bit cheap. Like, he wants to impact the audience with how bad the idea of the cure is by reminding us that humans commit genocide. Nice…
And two, she goes on to say that it’s “not to be done”, but…she did it. At first I thought, “Oh, maybe this means she was trying to find a cure to cancer or something and accidentally found a mutant cure,” but no… For some unknown reason she was watching a psycho Evangelical talk about the gays…I mean the mutants and their evils and how there should be a cure, and so then she decides to take the afternoon to think about it and discovered a cure?
I mean, I know she’s supposed to be a genius, but she didn’t even write any of this down, so I guess this was all mental math…but I would think without any testing, there’s no guarantee she even found a “cure”, right?
I don’t know…I don’t do biology. I like chemistry more.
But what I know of science in general is that it takes trial and error in order to prove anything. So…without any trials or errors, then she hasn’t actually found a cure at all. She just had a mental exercise, and mental exercises do not make a functioning product.
I guess I’m just not sure why she seems to be experiencing this mental anguish towards this “discovery” of hers. Until Tony mentions that psychics could get into her head and steal the idea from her…then I get it, since someone else might actually take the idea and perform the necessary experiments to prove her theory. Until then, though, it seems like she’s really torn up about something she doesn’t even know would work. It’s just weird.
Also, why is she using the term “cure”? She’s a genius biophysicist! She knows damn well that genetic mutations can’t be fucking “cured”. In Marvel, only idiots and bigots should be using the term “cure” around mutants, calling back to the whole “the gays can be cured” nonsense. It seems odd to make someone who is clearly supposed to be progressively minded say this, considering she isn’t about the whole “cure” thing. Then again, she got the idea by watching psycho Evangelical television, so maybe she’s a closeted nut job?
And I know this must seem like I’m really splitting hairs, but this issue is kind of boring and I couldn’t help but notice it and it bothered me.
After sharing this moment, Dr. Perera and Tony get closer, and he goes in for the kiss, and she tells him no. He seems flabbergasted, but she tells him that she’s not really into getting frisky with someone who’s a total horndog. He asks if he can see her again, and Friday then shows up and totally cockblocks him, telling him that Madame Masque has hit Doomstadt, Doctor Doom’s very own Castle Dracula.
Wait…wasn’t she just in Osaka, Japan? How did she get to Eastern Europe so quickly? Because the way this is written makes it seem like within the couple hours this date takes (plus the hour and a bit before the date when Tony was working), Madame Masque travelled from Shanghai to Osaka to Doomstadt… Uh… I guess you’re not supposed to think about that too much…
Moving on, again!
After fretting that it looked like Friday conjured an excuse to bolt because Dr. Perera wouldn’t kiss him, Tony takes out his new suit (which I’m not really a fan of) for a spin. He flies over to Latveria to check things out, and we get some exposition about how Doctor Doom has been out of power for a while, and how Latveria has actually crumbled without his little dictatorship.
Tony runs into some angry locals, who are quickly taken out by some kind of sonic boom his new armour completely protected him from. Tony then hears a voice telling him they need to team up. Tony turns around and BAM: It’s Doctor Doom!
Dun dun duuuuuun.
That’s probably the most exciting part about the whole issue. I mean, Madame Masque’s few pages were kind of interesting. It successfully sets up some tension, because we have literally no idea what she’s up to, but even this can’t really save the issue.
It’s not bad. Not at all. It’s well paced, well written, and I like the characters and the art (except for the new Iron Man suit). It’s just…I dunno. Nothing really happens. I guess we get some character development, but I feel like most of it went to Dr. Perera and it was weird. Probably because I just know she’s not likely going to last very long as Tony’s love interest.
It’s a decent issue, and I am interested to learn more, but almost in spite of this issue. It offered up just enough intrigue with Madame Masque and the introduction of Doctor Doom at the end to make me want to see where the story goes, but it didn’t really do much for me as a stand-alone issue.
The last two issues I read were amazing stand-alone stories that got me excited for the rest of the series. This one just kind of piqued my interest and that’s about it.
We’ll be diving into the 2016 run of Jessica Jones! I’m really excited for this one. I really liked Bendis’ Alias, and I ADORE the Netflix series Jessica Jones (season 1, at least…season 2 I haven’t finished yet). I look forward to what Bendis has in store for everyone’s favourite alcoholic, super-strong private investigator!
Until next time.
- Tony is actually likeable. Still an asshole, but likeable.
- Bendis writes women well. 🙂 Even AI women!
- Doctor Doom joins the party!
- Mutant Cure. Like...why?
- Kind of a boring issue.