Iron Man: World’s Most Wanted/Tony Stark Disassembled

Wow, long title.  I’d love to say that I decided to review these stories as one since one blends into the other making them one epic story.  That is rubbish, it’s because I fell too far behind and decided that Stark disassembled would be finished before I got a chance to blog on worlds most wanted and so I may as well bundle the two together.

Anyway, this has been an epic Iron Man story, and almost certainly the rehabilitation of Tony Stark from what people thought was irreparable damage during the Civil War Event.  While they tail one into the other and are written and drawn by the same people (Matt Fraction on words and Salvador Larroca on pictures) the stories are really quite different.

A warning in advance, I’m not holding back on spoilers, so if you don’t want to know the scores, look away now.

Worlds Most Wanted

The Secret Invasion is over, Norman Osbourne is in charge, SHIELD is no more and Tony Stark has been booted out.  With his Extremis offline he can barely control his armour anyway.  As a parting shot to Osbourne and more importantly to preserve the trust of those who registered, Stark deletes the entire Superhuman Registration database, leaving only one copy, the one written in his head.  This leads to a relentless pursuit of Stark across the globe by Osbourne and his agents while Stark slowly erases his own mind to destroy the last copy of the database.  Meanwhile Pepper Potts gets a suit of armour and a new identity as Rescue and Maria Hill goes on a harrowing mission to recover a mysterious hard drive for Stark.

This story was actually quite episodic, at least for Tony Stark, each issue usually focused on an encounter with friends or foes from his past as Tony battles across the world, having to use ever more obsolete suits as his ability to run them degrades.  This includes Friends, like War Machine and Crimson Dynamo, and Enemies such as Namor and Madame Masque.  When I say episodic you would probably be bloody confused if you jumped right in, particularly with the ongoing subplots featuring Maria Hill and Pepper Potts, but most of the encounters are self-contained.  Fraction crafts a brilliant tale, capturing Stark’s slow disintegration, Pepper’s joy of being a super hero and Hill’s near breakdown after an ordeal at the hands of the Controller.  The final showdown with Stark in his Mk1 suit and Osbourne in the Iron Patriot has a brilliant twist, and indeed was the first time we saw someone hurt Osbourne through the media.  At the end we have Stark left in a vegetative state, but A recorded message, and a gathering of old friends means this may not be the end.

Tony Stark Disassembled

The conclusion to this epic is a mere 5 parts, perhaps a little slow, it details how stark backed up his mind on the Hard drive Hill retrieved in Most wanted and, with Pepper’s Repulsor generator, and a bolt of lightning courtesy of Thor, Stark may be restored.

This was slower, and perhaps a little long, it could have probably been done in 4 parts, but a very good ending for Worlds Most wanted.  Nice to see everyone try to save Stark, and very good use of Ghost (Also an example of good crossovers again with how it linked in with Thunderbolts) and the surreal trip through Tony’s subconscious was predictable but a nice touch.  It was similar to the “Soul on Ice” backup story during Jim Rhodes’ second Tenure as Iron Man (Run up to his first War Machine ongoing) which had a cryogenically frozen stark living his past and his influences.  Only that was more recap, this was a wierd nightmare.  Of course we get the twist at the end, turns out Stark isn’t particularly good at keeping regular backups of his mind, and this copy is Pre Civil War, which has come of something as a shock to him (Although probably not as much as him sleeping with Pepper Potts and Maria Hill in teh same week will later)

Fraction must go down as one of the best Iron man writers for a good while, crafting two very different stories with ease.  Larroca was faced with a fairly daunting challenge himself, to draw what amounted to an “Iron man through the ages” or basically a whole load of different armors.  If I’m looking forward to one thing Post Siege, and I’m looking forward to a lot.  But one over all others is Iron Man, which is testimony to this teams success.


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