Review: Invincible Iron Man #504

Published on May 24th, 2011

How are you guys and gals liking this Fear Itself thing? Pretty neat, am I right? Of course I am. When am I ever wrong? Okay, maybe the rapture didn’t happen and I shouldn’t have stood outside staring at the sun waiting for something to happen all day last Saturday. I will say that Invincible Iron Man #504 was not a waste of time. In fact, it’s probably the best Iron Man comic book I’ve read in a long time. Matt Fraction really did a fantastic job on this one.

ironman503What’s great about this book is that it gets straight to the point. No waiting around and flash-backing to what’s been happening. We get Grey Gargoyle in France, he finds one of these hammers that’s been falling to Earth and then the shit hits the fan. It’s probably one of the most action-packed Iron Man books we’ve seen since Dark Reign.

So, Iron Man volunteers to go to France to neutralize the threat and protect the innocents once the Avengers track the impact from the hammers, but when he gets there, there’s nobody to protect. Every single person in Paris has been turned to stone. Well, almost everybody. Somehow there’s one guy that’s been able to hide out from the Grey Gargoyle and Iron Man’s sensors. Before Stark can do anything, the Gargoyle shows up and he’s already got the hammer and he’s more beefed up than Macho Man Randy Savage (May he rest in peace). The guy Iron Man found is then turned to stone without the Gargoyle having to touch him and then the two go at it.

It’s a really awesome fight, but what’s messed up is what happens to the people. Grey Gargoyle smashes Iron Man into any and all stone people that happen to be in the vicinity. Usually when someone is turned to stone by the Gargoyle, there’s a good chance the spell will ware off and the victim will return to normal and everything’s all right. I think in this case, Iron Man is gonna need a whole lot of super glue.

In any superhero battle, there’s bound to be some collateral damage, but we never think about what happens to the people who just happen to be there. Say the Skrulls start invading and they blow up a few buildings, do we really think about the people inside? It’s rarely something that comes to mind. But when Iron Man is being smashed through dozens of people, it’s not something we can ignore. There’s a scene early in the book where Tony Stark opens a package from Hammer Industries that was sent to him as a gift. When he opens it, he finds a pretty nice bottle of booze. I’m wondering that the guilt of inadvertently killing all these people might be enough to make Tony fall off the wagon. Maybe I’m just speculating too much.

To be honest, I’ve been kind of bored with this book for quite a while. I was thinking it might be time for someone else to take on the book, but after reading this issue, I take that back. I really think that Fraction has a clear direction he wants to go with Iron Man and I can’t wait to see where this leads.

Ken Zeider