By: Matt Fraction (writer), Salvador Larroca (art), Frank D’Armata (colors), Joe Caramanga (letters)

The Story: Tony Stark continues to try to rebuild his life and business after rebooting his brain (and losing the last few years of memories) a few issues ago.

What’s Good: I really enjoy the way Fraction is playing up the fact that Tony Stark is his own worst enemy.  After frying his brain to protect the identities of all the other super-heroes from Norman Osborn, he had to reboot his brain from a memory backup that was several years old.  Thus, he doesn’t remember Civil War at all.  Over the course of the last couple of issues, you can see that although his friends are still angry with him, they are ready to forgive except only Tony won’t apologize.  He’s said repeatedly that even though he doesn’t remember Civil War, that he’s sure that he did everything for a very good reason and that if he was presented with the same choices again… He wouldn’t do anything differently.   As you can imagine, this isn’t making his friends want to spend much time around him!  It kinda bit him last issue with Thor and really nails him this issue with Maria Hill.  Ouch!

Larroca’s art is much improved in this issue.  It still isn’t my favorite artistic style and there are a few ugly panels in this issue, but the last issue was only 3 weeks ago (and was double sized to boot).  I’ll forgive an ugly panel or two to get books that come out on time.

What’s Not So Good: I have faith in Matt Fraction’s ability to tell a story, otherwise I’d be really dispirited about the way this arc is unfolding.  It is mirroring the movies a bit with Tony’s desire to use his tech to make the world a better place.  I really don’t like that turn and I don’t think it fits with the way he’s responding to Civil War.  With Civil War he is basically saying, “Yeah….I was a creep.  I’d do it again.  That’s who I am.  Take it or leave it.”  But, when it comes to weapons……he is a reformed man.  I think it would work better if he was equally unreformed on the weapons side of things too, especially now that he is broke.  You could write a great story about how he had to invent bigger and badder weapons and sell them to ever bigger dirtbags than in the past.  Oh well…..I’ll trust Fraction to make this good.

I’m also not thrilled that the enemies in this arc seem to be other armored folks.  Why does Iron Man always have to fight dudes in armor?  Why can’t he fight some other type of villain?  If you follow solicits for Marvel, you’ll see that the X-Men are about to fight vampires.  If the mutants can do that, why can’t Iron Man fight zombies or something else?

Conclusion: I do like most of the characterization of Tony Stark even if I’m not thriller (yet) with the storyline.

Grade: C+

– Dean Stell