cover of Invincible Iron Man #24 from comicbookresources.com
STARK: DISASSEMBLED comes to its conclusion! The Ghost vs. Maria Hill and Pepper Potts, alone inside an empty middle school! Tony Stark and Dr. Strange vs. the end of the world, alone inside the shattered recesses of Tony's once-great mind! After what might as well have been the entirety of the Marvel Universe coming together to get Iron Man back on his feet, can Tony himself run the last mile alone? What's left of a man after you take him apart?
A year and a half ago I asked the question at a conference, “What could induce fans to see a film about the tin-plated jerk who killed Captain America? What could possible redeem a character who had been rendered this unloveable, in time for his feature film debut?”
At the time, the answer included a common enemy to unite the heroes in the form of an alien invasion, a blitz of non-canonical kid friendly comics, teaming our hero with the cute children of PowerPack, and ultimately turning him into an icon for toddlers through Spidey ‘n Friends and the Marvel Super Hero Squad. With a hit film and the right amount of marketing spin, roughly 18 months after being held responsible for a beloved character’s death, the hero reviled as a traitor to all that is good could appear as the new icon of Americana.
Now, just in time for Iron Man 2 to hit theaters, Mighty Marvel is further distancing Tony Stark from his Civil War behavior by erasing his mind and reinstalling his memories from a boot disk created before his controversial (and sometimes reprehensible) actions in the Civil War and Secret Invasion crossovers.
While mired in funky spiritual vision-quest, dreamscape imagery and completely devoid of any of the typical “bam” “zow” repulsor-beam action we associate with Iron Man, this issue completes Tony Stark’s redemption and features some suitably heroic action and dialogue courtesy of Pepper Pots, Dr. Strange “master of the mystic –and martial, arts,” and even Tony Stark himself.
This issue witnesses the return of the good-old Silver Age Iron Man, best friend of Captain America who can now be shocked and dismayed as he reads of the choices made by Tony Stark, Director of SHIELD. Now, if only they could erase the past three years of Marvel comics from our minds as well…