Invincible Iron Man #8
It’s a new day for Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man.
While he may be the star of a multi-hundred million dollar movie with a sequel in the works, in
comics, he’s become the world’s most wanted criminal and
A quick bit of history on how the mighty fell: after a horrible
accident involving super-heroes, the government required that all
heroes register their secret identities with S.H.I.E.L.D., the
country’s all-knowing police force. Stark headed up the Registration
initiative, which turned him into an enemy in the eyes of many
(Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, etc) who felt that
registration was an invasion of their privacy by a system that could
not be trusted. That was Civil War.
And then the aliens invaded. Shape-shifting Skrull, to be precise. Long
story short, after positioning himself to be the world’s top cop, Stark
a) didn’t see the invasion coming, and b) could barely do anything to
stop it once it got started. As a result, he was kicked out of his job
as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D.was summarily dissolved, and Stark
was replaced by Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin). That was Secret Invasion.
That covers the basics.
This week, writer Matt Fraction kicks off the “World’s Most Wanted” arc in Invincible Iron Man #8,
which tells the story of Stark’s high speed fall from hero to criminal.
As Fraction told Newsarama, Stark’s fall was already in the cards when
he came on to the series, so he’s known since the beginning that he’d
soon be writing about a hunted Tony Stark.
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“The broad strokes were in place,” Fraction said. “The Skrull virus
damaging all the Stark tech, and Tony's fall from grace at
S.H.I.E.L.D., Norman's ascent. If anything, I started trying to throw
gasoline on the fire. I pitched the first and second arc all at once to
get the book, with the second being informed by the fallout from Secret Invasion. The timing all worked out.”
As the coming arc will show, Stark’s fall isn’t something that’s
limited to just the power brokers and the upper eschelons of
superhero-dom in the Marvel Universe. Much like the crisis we’re in
today, the problems of Tony Stark…well, the problems Tony Stark caused are something that everyone has an opinion on.
“Some people still hold him responsible for Cap's assassination,”
Fraction said. “His company was attacked globally by radicalized,
highly mobile and horribly inventive superterror assault waves that
crippled his management and manufacturing capabilities, to say nothing
of the lost lives and attendant shock and horror. He couldn't marshal
the forces needed to ultimately defeat the Skrulls-- that was Norman
Osborn who fired the shot heard 'round the world, as it were. During
the invasion, his armor failed, and the Extremis enhancile-- the
technogoo that interwove his suit with his nervous system-- failed,
along with all the other commercial grade Stark tech that was on at the
time. Every computer, every cell phone, every satellite, every toaster
oven-- all failed. So Tony - at one time the top cop of the Marvel
Universe - blew it when the Marvel Universe, or at least the Earth
corner of it, needed him most.”
And that; the writer continued, is where the story starts this week –
with a macro look at the world: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s death knell,
H.A.M.M.E.R.'s ascent, Stark abdicating his position as CEO of Stark
Enterprises and Stark handing the keys over to Norman Osborn. “It
happens very fast; it's very brutal,” Fraction said. “And it moves
micro from there. Tony, [Maria] Hill, and Pepper [Potts], and what
happens to them after the devil takes the wheel. Tony has very specific
missions for the three of them; to prevent Osborn from inflicting the
maximum damage possible on the world, the three of them have to throw
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And on the personal level, the defeat is a gut punch of gut punches to
Stark – first and foremost, he let the world down, both in being unable
to stop the invasion, as well as allowing his technology to be
vulnerable to the Skrull virus.
As for that tech? As Fraction explained, “If it was on, during the
invasion, it's toast. A Skrull virus rendered it useless. Some of it
still exists, some of it still works, but the Stark name doesn't
engender Brand Confidence in the consumer sector anymore. I mean,
imagine if 90% of the tech running Windows around the world
bluescreened all at once and stayed bluescreened.”
Secondly in that gut punch category Fraction explained, is the
psychological factor. “He's a genius that got beaten at the
genius-game. I think he's shaken up badly, in deep trouble, and up
against the wall. I don't want to give away what exactly happens, how,
or why, but Tony becoming the most wanted man in the world also makes
him the most dangerous man in the world. At least to Osborn.”
That said though, he may be shaken up, but he’s still Tony f’n Stark.
“Tony'll never lose his swagger,” Fraction answered when asked if Tony
was beaten. “He'll lose the attendant billions that go with it, but
Tony will go to his grave with a smirk on his face. So taking that
personality-- that larger than life arrogance and confidence, and
shattering it against a fascist regime that wants him dead is a lot of
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Fans are already speculating on just what Tony has (and
refuses to hand over) that Osborn wants. As for his goal and a possible
way out in this game that he’s now found himself in?
“He... needs to stay alive and out of Osborn's hands for a set period
of time,” Fraction said. “That's the only way out. That's maybe not his
larger goal, so much as his immediate goal. His larger goal is known to
him and me. Not even Pepper, not even Hill, know what his master plan
is. They have less to hide if they get caught that way.”
Big picture-wise, as Fraction said, this arc was in his plans from the start of his work on Invincible, and fits perfectly into his larger vision for what he wants to do with Tony Stark and Iron Man.
“I’ve said from the get-go that I wanted a reckoning to come for Tony--
not just for whatever sins real or imagined he committed during Civil War,
but all his sins, for all his life-- who he is, how he came to be...
the sins of his entire legacy will be answered for. What started with
Zeke Stane, and Tony's history as a weapons designer and manufacturer,
continues on... If Zeke hated Stark the weaponeer, Osborn hates Stark
Invincible Iron Man #8 by Fraction and Salvador Larocca is due in stores on December 17th.