Monday, October 11, 2010

Critical Commentary: Invincible Iron Man To Be Renumbered

As was long suspected by yours truly and was officially announced over the weekend at New York Comic-Con, Invincible Iron Man is being renumbered to #500 with what would have been #33 in January.  Unlike most Marvel renumberings, this one makes more sense: 332 issues of the original run, 13 issues of Volume 2, 89 issues of Volume 3, 35 issues of Volume 4 less the 3 issues of the War Machine tryout, and then 33 issues of Invincible Iron Man.

(Of course, the title was never officially called Invincible Iron Man before the Fraction/La Rocca book, but that's nitpicking even for me.)  

Scribe Matt Fraction did an interview with Newsarama regarding the renumbering, which you can find here.  I have taken a few snips from the piece for critical response.

Fraction: ...And there's a macro-story my run's been telling; this issue is what if, as "everything so far has been leading up to this point," Tony, somehow, loses? What if Iron Man doesn't save the day?

Considering that the entirety of IIM has been about Tony Stark losing in one sense or another, I fail to see how this is special or unique.  I'm willing to give Fraction the benefit of the doubt, but don't spit in my face and tell me it's raining.

Nrama: A high number may not be the most significant thing in the world, but writing issue #500 for such an iconic character still has to be pretty cool. How meaningful Is that to you?

Fraction: It's bonkers. It's nuts. When we started, we were the other Iron Man book. And that was at a time when, in my opinion, as a guy reading the book since 198, the title had never been stronger. What the Knaufs were doing, and what Ellis did before them was, for me, a high-water mark in the character's history.

Okay, if you so liked what the Knaufs were doing, why did you take everything they did and jettison it out of the window?   The Knaufs' run on Iron Man v.4 was indeed one for the ages, but how can you say it was a "high-water mark" and then completely undo everything they built?  

Also, it was very clear at the time that IIM was never the "other" Iron Man title, since all of the push, advertisement, and other general hype was directed at it, something which Volume 4 never received once the inane delays of Warren Ellis and Adi Granov became self-evident.

As I said, I am willing to give Fraction the benefit of the doubt when it comes to #500 and beyond.  I don't always like what he is doing, and when he is off his game he is OFF his game, but I believe him when he says he is a fan and that he has plans for the character.  I may be the only comic reader on the planet which is not in love with his weak depiction of Tony Stark, but if only for the flashes of brilliance (and the eternal search for hope), I continue reading.

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