Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Mike Deodato / Marvel Comics
I can’t really speak to what’s happening with Civil War II. I can’t even begin to speak to it. More accurately, I don’t want to because there’s really nothing to say about that grease fire that hasn’t already been said about smallpox, season 2 of The Wire or the Dallas Cowboys’ during the playoffs. I don’t know what Bendis is doing with that one, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s getting Invincible Iron Man right all the way across the board.
Issue #12 is about as charming and entertaining as a transition issue can be with any action beats whatsoever. The lion’s share of the book is dedicated to Tony Stark going about the business of cleaning up the mess his superhero life leaves on his civilian life. Bendis does a fairly good job of going down the laundry list of people and issues Stark has tabled since the beginning of the series. This highlights the thing I love the most about Bendis’ approach to Iron Man, treating the book almost like an FX show about an imperfect superhero trying to rebuild his day to day life with the help of his colorful supporting cast.
My only real complaint with the narrative is that I wish it weren’t trailing so far behind the events of Civil War II, the book it’s supposed to tie into. Starting off the issue with Iron Man wondering if he’s mentally off the reservation in the wake of (Major CW2 Plot Point) is a brilliant move but it would have been much more palatable if we’d read this alongside the actual issue it took place in. Visually, Mike Deodato is on point as usual. For an issue with basically no action, he keeps the exposition and exchanges interesting to look at with a well balanced color palette. This seems like a minor critique to have, but Riri Williams has one of the most fun looking afros I’ve seen in a comic book in a while.
Bottom Line: If anyone else (except maybe Matt Fraction… I mean, he did win an Eisner writing this book) had tried to pull a whole issue of an Iron Man book with no fighting, it probably would have tanked faster than the Suicide Squad movie apparently has. But Bendis and Deodato have managed to keep it fresh and deliver a book that’s as solid visually as it is with character development.