Part eight of the "World's Most Wanted" arc puts Pepper Potts in Russia with her former boss, evading Norman Osborn and his H.A.M.M.E.R. goons. Madame Masque, however, isn't just a run of the mill H.A.M.M.E.R. goon. No sir. She is a woman scorned who just so happens to have the man who scorned her in her sight –- of her rifle.
Fraction runs two tales through this issue of "Invincible Iron Man," choosing to alternate between the adventures of Pepper and Tony in Russia and the adventures of Maria Hill and Black Widow in New York. Fraction packs a great deal of action and intrigue into this book between the two tales, but the main focus, for me, was the encounter between Hill and Widow. Tony's story strikes me as something that should be sad, but Fraction plays the humor and the payback angles up a little too much to truly elicit much sorrow directed towards Tony. After all, Rhodey's got his own title, and there's a second feature film coming out, so it's not like Tony Stark isn't going to be Iron Man, right?
Larroca could be supplying storyboards for that feature film, as his paneling carries a propensity for widescreen storytelling. Larroca's propensity for photographic reference also peaks in this issue. The rooftop conversation between Hill and Widow -- specifically the fourth panel on that page -- is too fumetti for me to remain focused on the story. Larroca also stats in a panel with Tony and Pepper talking wherein the steam trail from Pepper's coffee cup doesn't change between the first and the second use of the panel. This deflated the scene a bit for me and seemed lazy or unchecked. Other than these two instances, Larroca's art is great, but I would like to see more drawn from his mind and less from photos or photos manipulated in Photoshop to the point of becoming "illustrations." True, some of this may lie with D'Armata, but for the most part, D'Armata's work is solid, providing mood and atmosphere, even if there are occasions of unworldly color or distracting backgrounds.
This issue of "Invincible Iron Man" moves the characters into position for revelations next issue. I would, however, like to see a little more Iron Man in my "Iron Man" comics and less of Forrest Gump meets Tony Stark.