Brian Michael Bendis is one of the best comic book writers of the modern era, maybe even of all-time. Most of us know him best for his Spider-Man efforts, various Marvel crossover events, and a ton of really good runs on numerous books. Iron-Man is a new task for the talented storyteller, and as always, he hasn’t disappointed yet.
Tony Stark has hired Mary Jane Watson as his new assistant to “make him less of a mess“, and she is a character which with Bendis is obviously very familiar. He gives the two of them great chemistry together. MJ is used to being the organizer of the chaotic super hero’s life and is a perfect choice. It’s also nice to see her being used again in a charming role instead of just being a jerk to Peter Parker. Besides, Tony also likes to be a jerk to Peter and especially now that Parker Industries is succeeding while Stark Industries is not.
Through seven issues, Bendis’ take on Stark is really enjoyable and is something he doesn’t always come across as – sympathetic. The Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 series has helped wash the bad taste of Superior Iron Man out of reader’s mouths in a major way. As Tony himself points out, a lot of what’s going on in Amazing Spider-Man is taking its cues from Iron Man’s book; the same goes for Iron Man’s recent tales being reminiscent of Spidey books.
Bendis paints Stark as a mess of a human on the edge of total self destruction at all times, but he never lets it come to the surface and he hides his faults behind self-deprecating humor. Everything that comes out of Tony’s mouth is perfect in every way for the character, and the dialogue between he and other characters is just as fantastic. It’s a breath of fresh air into the lungs of this beloved Marvel icon who over the years may have come across a bit stale. Scenes where Tony isn’t involved, however, are the complete polar opposite – flat, uninspired, and exist only to move along the plot elsewhere.
Invincible Iron Man #7 is supposed to be the first inching towards the big Civil War II event, and the cliffhanger starts to point readers in that direction but leaves it unclear just how we get to the hero versus hero epic showdown. Apart from Stark, Rhodey is captured by the mysterious “techno ninjas” that Tony had a run-in with previously. There isn’t much to say about the happenings away from Iron-Man in this issue, as it’s all very early staging for a seemingly bigger picture, especially when you slap ‘Road to Civil War II’ on the cover.
Visually, the book is stunning, even without any real action. Given only scenes of dialogue and transit, Mike Deodato and Frank Martin give readers plenty to look at. The best part of Original Sin was the artwork and that’s exactly the same style and atmosphere that Invincible Iron-Man #7 serves up. The artwork adds darkness and grit to the lighthearted overall attitude of the series in a masterful blend of color and depth. (This is what I wish TMNT books would look like sometimes.)
Invincible Iron Man #7 isn’t perfect, even though Bendis writing Stark is, but there is room for improvement in the dialogue involving supporting characters. Outside of that little negative, the issue overall is a big win for me, I love what is happening with the character and I look forward to seeing how long MJ sticks around. I also really hope Bendis doesn’t break my Spider-loving heart and attempt to make MJ and Tony any sort of romantic item; but if anyone were to do it with any chance of me not hating it immediately, it would be Bendis.