Invincible Iron Man #506: Fear Itself

I’ve heard the Fear Itself event was originally supposed to be just a Thor story (thus the Norse gods), based around that title, which is written by Matt Fraction. Maybe that’s why this issue is remarkably coherent in bringing us up to speed with what’s going on; it’s also written by him. I found it very helpful in providing clarity as to the current state of affairs, with everyone in Paris turned to stony rubble, and Washington, D.C. under attack.

Invincible Iron Man #506 cover

That assumes, though, I care about what’s going on in Fear Itself. I don’t. I’m just waiting for everyone to team up, find whatever the magic Maguffin is, and banish the gods so we can get back to superhero stories that are better reads.

On the minor level, though, there is a lot I enjoyed about this issue. I like the idea of Tony having to get drunk to summon Odin. (He has to make a sacrifice of what’s dearest to him: his sobriety.) Although the master of the Norse god forge, Splitlip, is the same kind of curmudgeonly foul-mouth you’ve seen in all kinds of entertainment, he’s still amusing. Especially since all his cursing comes out as runes.

Fraction has an excellent voice for distinctive characters. When he’s able to just write Tony Stark, I like it a lot. And the supporting cast always leaves me wanting more, as they should. Stark needs someone to look after him, and although Mrs. Arbogast is also a familiar character type, the strong mother, she makes me feel better for Tony.

As with so many modern comics, this issue is dialogue-driven, but instead of wasting time being wordy or pumping out text to fill space, the conversations establish what’s going on, bring us up to speed, and let us in on the characters’ thoughts and feelings. At one point, a character even holds the reader’s hand in recognizing the virtue: she points out that too much talking reveals that she’s nervous and babbling.

The art is coherent and attractive without seeming posed or frozen. That should be the minimum, but since so often it’s not, props to Salvador Larroca for handing both office and Norse god scenes well. I certainly don’t recommend anyone pick this up unless they’re already following the title or Fear Itself or both, but it was a nice example of how to play well with a crossover event.


One Response to “Invincible Iron Man #506: Fear Itself”

  1. Greg Says:

    Calling Fraction’s Iron Man dialogue-driven is putting it mildly. I keep giving him more chances, and he keeps giving me more drawn-out conversations. It’s like watching the Phantom Menace with the pod race and final battles edited out.

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