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Review: Invincible Iron Man #26

Buy this book, now. Seriously.

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Tony Stark hires an ex-employee he wronged in the past while the Hammer girls with the Spymaster to sell his old tech to terrorists.

The Good

I haven't read Iron Man in a long while, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a comic excelling in as many ways as this. Fraction and Larroca are at such peak-performance here that they really make it look effortless. The dialogue hooks you in from the first bubble and doesn't let up for the whole issue. Like all good storytelling, in any medium, everything just flows. One panel logically leads to the next. The words expertly compliment the images and there's a true command of "closure" exhibited here.
I want to comment on Larroca's art, in particular, since I've followed him since his days drawing the Heroes Return mini. It's really amazing to see how his art has evolved from a cartoony style to the almost photo-real work., here Just an amazing transformation. I felt like I was seeing actual people interacting in these pages - - not comics characters. And I'll say that his redesign of Spymaster is very sleek. It modernizes the villain's look, making his costume seem practical, while still keeping visual motifs linked to the original design. And I love the way he draws Iron Man's bio-mechanical armor.

The Bad

Any readers who have a had a problem with Tony Stark being an "Uh-huh" in the last few years of storylines, or have been miffed about the whole brainwipe thing, probably won't dig this. Fraction makes Tony a very flawed protagonist, here, and not in a cute way either. He really does something awful to his ex-employee in the flashbacks and then he's too arrogant to even own up it to in the present. Accurate characterization, to be sure, but it'll rub some people the wrong way.

The Verdict - 4.5/5

Anybody who's enjoyed the movies and hoped to see more of that particular vibe reflected in the comics will thoroughly enjoy this. It perfectly captures that mix of real world grounding and flawed human charm, without sacrificing anything from the comics' history. And I'll say again how cool this liquid armor is... it's great to still see concepts in these comics that the movies can't tackle! This is an excellent "jumping on issue" and one of the best books I've read this week, right along with Deadpool.