It’s always intriguing to see a hero hit rock bottom. When they have lost everything, the character’s true qualities emerge, and it often leads to an engaging story. This seems to be the premise brought forward by Invincible Iron Man #1 by Gerry Duggan, Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, and Joe Caramagna. It’s a good idea to take Tony Stark, who has had such a rich history (literally) over the decades and bring him down to Earth so that new and old readers alike have a chance to grasp on to a fresh take on Iron Man.
The first section of the issue brings us up to speed on Tony’s current place in the Marvel Universe. He’s still a genius, though he seems to have come to terms with and even appreciates not being the smartest person in the room anymore. He still has influence, as he recalls sharing a table at the Hellfire Gala (an issue which was also written by Duggan) with Feilong and Emma Frost. What he no longer has at this point is his immense wealth. A focus of the previous run and what is recapped here is that Tony spent almost all of his money in the pursuit of dangerous weapons in the hopes of locking them away. This Chekhov’s Cache will certainly become important later on, so it’s good that we have the reminder here.
But where his resources were something he gave away willingly, it seems that someone is coming for anything Tony might have left. A series of attacks not only leave him physically injured but damage his reputation in the public eye in a way he’s not used to. Duggan makes it clear how much of a support system Tony has if he embraces it. Captain America, She-Hulk, Rhodey, and Riri Williams all offer help, but in an attempt to protect them, or maybe just his ego, he declines. Whoever this enemy is may be a mystery, but they’ve already nestled themselves inside Tony’s brain.
This issue is a strong start to a new chapter in the Iron Man saga. juan Frigeri’s art displays the action cleanly and gives us a shaggy Stark that clearly states his current lot in life. A reveal late in the issue is only given a couple of pages but the art is horrifying enough that it has stayed with me. Joe Caramagna’s lettering is also particularly notable throughout as it changes between Tony’s autobiography/narration, his dialogue, and his voice in the suit.
The combination of the character going back to basics and fighting against someone new and particularly harrowing is an exciting and dangerous place to start this arc. The last page of the Invincible Iron Man #1 especially hits home with the message that this is Tony at one of his lowest points, and you can’t help but root for the brash, charismatic hero to pick himself back up. Despite the title, Iron Man is anything but “Invincible” here, but that’s what makes him so compelling.
Invincible Iron Man #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.