By Matt Fraction (writer), Barry Kitson (breakdowns), Javier Salteres (pencils), Stefano Gaudiano & Derek Fridolfs (inks), J. Robers (colors)

The last few issues have been building towards this fight. With one issue to go, it’s The Order versus a plethora of bad guys, lead by Ezekiel Stane (son of Obadiah Stane). What he has in store for our band of west coast heroes ain’t pretty, either. As usual, the beginning of each issue focuses on one of The Order’s team members. This issue gives us Heavy’s backstory, which Matt Fraction writes as a tragic one. It’s also clever how he connects Heavy and Tony Stark’s origins together.

As for the big fight itself, it felt obligatory (honestly, there was no way to avoid it), and just wasn’t very exciting. Even the planning that lead up to it felt “by the numbers”. I realize this issue’s Heavy’s story, but putting him in charge of the team for this mission didn’t seem to make much of a tactical difference. He mentions strength in numbers, and they take an “alternate” route the to bad guy’s base, but other than that, we don’t see any of his battlefield prowess at all.

Remember when Barry Kitson actually drew this book? Me too. It’s a complete bummer we’re at the next to last issue of the series and Kitson’s finished pencils are still sorely missed. Sure, he does the layouts and Javier Saltares does a competent job on finishes, but this is Kitson’s book as far as I’m concerned. Not seeing him ride this book into the sunset is just disheartening. I hate to say it, but this is the first issue of The Order I’ve been disappointed with. The story finishes strong with a sad moment for the team, but everything that happens prior to that is a yawn fest. Please guys, don’t let this book go to the crapper with your last issue. (Grade: C-)

– J. Montes