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

The Story: Tony Stark continues the somewhat boring rebuilding of his commercial empire, Pepper Potts wants her repulsor disc back and terrorists strike in Tokyo.

What’s Good: I’m enjoying the growth of Pepper and her desire to have the repulsor disc back.  As a reminder, she had that installed in the earlier parts of Fraction’s run on Invincible Iron Man as a means to save her life, but it was removed a few issues back and I’d just kind of assumed that Fraction was putting the character back where he found her.  I think it’s actually kind of cool to have Pepper have some powers since the disc was augmenting her mentally and physically on top of letting her run the Rescue suit.  Bonus: She demands that Tony build her a newer/better suit!  Go Pepper!

And….finally on the last pages of this issue we get the promise of some action!  The only action that has happened in this comic in the last ~9 months was the fight between Dr. Strange and Ghost.  We’re a little overdue for something to blow up!

What’s Not So Good: I usually try to look on the bright side with the art on IIM and point out that it is NEVER LATE, but I just can’t defend it anymore.  I prefer for artists to draw and not use such heavy photo reference.  BUT….this style can be done really well.  See the way Maleev did it in Spider-Woman: they paid a model to pose for the pictures so she looked like the same person in every picture from every angle.  Not so in this book.  Characters have a consistent look from straight on and close-up, but as we get further away or off angle, their look changes dramatically.  I just don’t like it at all.  But…..I’ll also toss a rock at Fraction on the art.  Larroca draws Iron Man just fine.  In fact, I LIKE his art on Iron Man.  So, why have we basically had 4 issues of talking heads?  I think the art complaints would go way down if Larroca were given more opportunities to draw armor and play to his strengths.

Speaking of the story….what is up with this story?  IIM had a great time to do a jumping on point for new readers after the stellar World’s Most Wanted and Stark Disassembled story-arcs.  Plus, they had momentum from Iron Man 2 and the Avengers relaunch and they chose to do a story-line about a struggling entrepreneur building his company?  I don’t understand that story choice at all.  I do like Fraction as a writer and trust him to lead us somewhere good with this, but I keep saying that every month and I’m starting to have doubts as the start-up company story and the “bad guys with armor” story aren’t doing anything for me.

Conclusion: This series has really squandered a lot of momentum and gone from a stellar, monthly must-read to a mediocre book really fast.

Grade: C-

– Dean Stell