Regardless of how much you enjoy Matt Fraction’s run on "Invincible Iron Man," it’s tough to argue that the 17-issue epic of "World’s Most Wanted"/"Stark Disassembled" didn’t go on longer than many readers would have preferred. Admittedly, the pay-off managed to justify the bulk of that time, but after over a year, I was certainly ready for a new direction. And luckily, that’s precisely what "Invincible Iron Man" #25 provides.
With his mind restored, Stark sets about rebuilding his company, armor and support network. That includes mending a few bridges with some of Marvel’s other heroes. As a result, this issue is a perfect jumping on point. Indeed, it almost feels like a new first issue.
It’s impossible not to mention that, two years after Fraction launched the book with a pseudo-sequel to the first Iron Man movie, he appears to be taking a similar approach with this one. Yes, it’s set firmly in present-day continuity, but also recurs themes from "Iron Man 2," such as the weaponization and military application of Iron Man technology. Although Justin Hammer, who is also featured prominently in the film, might be dead, there are relatives available to ensure that the familiar name is plastered all over the comic, should movie fans come knocking. It’s a perfect example of a company matching their comic to the movie without having to compromise. New readers should feel just as home as seasoned veterans.
Just as the writing has returned to top form, so has Larroca’s artwork. It’s a shame that this opportunity wasn’t taken to exorcise a few of the artwork’s faults, however. Frank D’Armata’s colors, for example, are occasionally very strange, with characters depicted with oddly red, overly shiny skin. I’m at a loss to explain what the rationale is. On the plus side, the art team’s depiction of the new armor gives it a weightier, more physical look that the promotional images did, so on that level they’ve won me over.
As if providing a new reader-friendly story, great writing, and enjoyable artwork wasn’t enough, this issue is also double sized, despite being priced at $3.99. As well as a double-length feature, which is packed with memorable reveals and twists, you also get a few pages looking at the development of the new armor design. From any angle, this is one of the best value comics Marvel has put out in months, and anyone even thinking of buying Iron Man should be assured that now is the time to get on board.