By Daniel & Charles Knauf (writers), Roberto De La Torre (art), Dean White (colors)

Tony Stark’s a busy guy this week! In Avengers he’s sucked into a time vortex and in his own book, well, let’s just say he’s sucked into another kind of vortex. The story arc involving the Mandarin doesn’t conclude this issue, but we do finally get the confrontation we’ve been waiting for. Because Tony isn’t using his Extremis based armor, the playing field is pretty even. So what do we get? An all out slugfest that leads to one gorgeous piece of art in the middle of the book.

Once again, the Knauf brothers deliver a solid script that never chugs along. My only complaint is they get a little heavy with the techno jargon. I can see why a scientist may talk in this manner, but it’s something that we could have done without. It’s not that I want it simplified – the dialogue is just totally unnecessary. That said, I love the way they handle Maria Hill and Dugan. Finally, someone tells her to drop the “by the book” crap and just do her job. And she does step up and makes a gutsy call.

As far as art goes this is Roberto De La Torre’s best Iron Man work to date. He and colorist, Dean White hit a homerun are pure magic together. De La Torre really knows where to put the camera. His angles give the art so much more expression and drama. I’d really, really love to have the double-page splash they did in this issue made into a poster. (Grade: B)

– J. Montes