Thursday, February 4, 2016

Invincible Iron Man #6: Nuff Said!

Let’s face it. We as a society are totally schizophrenic with our attitudes towards billionaires. On one hand, we hate their guts for buying gold-plated toilet seats and paying migrant workers 15 cents a day to wipe their ass. At the same time, we adore and emulate them in every way we can. We strive to be them, as though we wish we could afford to be the assholes we know we are at heart. It’s a disturbing attitude, but it has made Iron Man the most important character in the Marvel universe.

To be fair to Tony Stark, he hasn’t carried himself with the kind of assholery we associate with billionaires. Brian Michael Bendis has started his run on Invincible Iron Man by fleshing out the vulnerabilities of Tony and not just by making him drink again. He’s become a more compelling character and the pride with which he bears his facial hair is respectable. But now he’s got Mary Jane Watson in his corner. That’s like giving Bill Belichick 10 first round draft picks. It’s an embarrassment of riches. But I’m going to explore these riches as I review Invincible Iron Man #6. I’ll try to keep my own schizophrenic attitudes in check, but I can’t make any promises.

Like many obscenely rich people, Tony Stark often sends others to do his work for him while he enjoys his obscene riches. This means sending War Machine out to Osaka, Japan to investigate some more bloody shenanigans by Madam Masque at a Stark Industries facility. There’s not much hint as to what she’s up to, but she caused another big bloody mess and probably got horny while doing it. That’s reason enough to send a walking War Machine to deal with her.

War Machine enters to find a distinct lack of homicidal women, which I guess should come as some surprise in a building owned by Tony Stark. He does encounter some unexpected surprises though. Sadly, it’s just a terrified, underpaid maid from the janitorial staff. War Machine gets a wet sponge to the face. But given the women Tony has dated, he might as well have gotten off with a free puppy.

He basically comes up with nothing. It’s at this point Tony tries to fill him in on all shit Madam Masque has been putting him through. It’s not enough she likes to steal his shit and bust his balls. She’s starting to dry-hump demons as well and after what happened with Illyana Rasputin, he doesn’t need that. He needs a way to find her without terrifying underpaid janitors. And Tony wants War Machine to do the heavy lifting.

Why is he doing the heavy lifting, you ask? Well, like I said, rich people like to pay others to do their shit for them so they can enjoy being rich. And in this case, Tony is completely occupied by the intimate company of Dr. Amara Perera. Apparently, he convinced her to let him into her panties and they’re in the middle of the morning afterglow. So yes, he’s in no condition to hunt down Madam Masque. The man does have priorities.

Now is it a typical dick move for Tony to send someone else to do his shit while he bangs hot women? Sure. However, Dr. Perera is not just another pair of tits and a hot ass that can be found in nearly every hip hop video ever made. She’s actually someone Tony has connected with in recent issues. And yes, I said that with a straight face. Bendis has gone out of his way to have Tony connect with someone who isn’t a machine, an alien, or an underpaid assistant. It may be shocking, but damn if it doesn’t work.

Tony continues to stake a permanent claim in Dr. Perera’s panties by buying her breakfast at some hole-in-the wall diner that he randomly decided has the best waffles in the world and thinks its cute to be so rich and eat there. Those are her words, not mine. They start talking science and progress, the kind of shit Tony Stark lives for. It’s a beautiful moment for a man whose character is indistinguishable at times from an overly elaborate porno.

Then, Dr. Doom shows up. No, I don’t mean that he attacks New York City with an army of Doombots. I mean he actually shows up at the diner, wearing a nice suit, and carrying a cup of coffee. He has no mask, no Ultimate Nullifier tucked in his pocket, and no dead Avengers under his shoes.

It’s not as fucked up as it sounds. In wake of Secret Wars, Dr. Doom has a new outlook on life and he’s been exploring that outlook in this series. He’s been aiding Iron Man in his battle against demons and mystic forces. And he’s done it with a style that would make Don Draper’s dick shrivel. Tony still doesn’t trust him for obvious reasons. He might still be evil, but now he’s a real smooth motherfucker kind of evil.

Not going to lie, I think this new Dr. Doom is more interesting than Tony Stark has ever been.

While Tony Stark is protecting his girlfriend and his balls from Dr. Doom, War Machine continues his mission as James Rhodes. Since he didn’t find anything in Stark’s building, he hits up a shady Japanese gambling den run by Yukio. If there’s anything involving demons and cybernetic ninjas in Japan, she would know about it. This is the sort of thing she used to deal with every Thursday after banging Wolverine on Wednesday night. And wouldn’t you know it? There is some hulking asshole with two beautiful women on his arms who might know a thing or two. Because people who know shady shit tend to attract beautiful women. I don’t think it’s fair either.

It’s official now. Tony Stark’s breakfast date with his girlfriend is ruined, but not because Dr. Doom brings a bomb with him. He just continues to being a smooth motherfucker and making Tony look like an ass. He doesn’t even flinch when Tony has his Iron Man suit on standby ready to blow his head off. It makes me think this Dr. Doom would be the ultimate poker player.

But he’s not just there so that Tony can make an ass of himself, although I’m sure that’s a nice bonus. He’s there to convince Tony he’s on a new path. That path doesn’t involve him going to jail, standing trail for his crimes, or dedicating the rest of his life to hugging puppies. But it’s a path that doesn’t involve conquering the world every other week so it’s still an upgrade.

Doom’s main concern also has to do with Madam Masque. She’s rubbing elbows with demons and that concerns him. He already helped Iron Man stop her from tearing the demonic realm a new asshole. However, he’s not content with just sparing the world from one too many Exorcist sequels. He wants to be more thorough and efficient at containing threats. And damn it, I want to cheer him on.

Tony still isn’t buying it. He’s still looking for any excuse to kill Doom and dance on his grave. But Doom never gives him one. He just claims he’s trying to reverse some of the damage he’s inflicted and maybe take down a few demons in the process. He also wants to look smooth as fuck while doing it. Even Tony has to respect that on some levels.

With all the smooth-talking, it’s easy to forget that this issue hasn’t had much action that didn’t involve underpaid janitors. Well, that finally changes when War Machine decides to put on his armor and track down the hulking asshole with two beautiful women in his arms. He’s not subtle either. I think Tony Stark requires that he not be while wearing one of his suits. It’s a standard Iron Man style traffic stop, complete with a gun fight and abrupt adjustment to car insurance premiums. It’s not as epic as a battle against the old version of Dr. Doom, but at least no underpaid janitors were harmed.

However, the battle takes an unexpected twist when the hulking asshole reveals a trick. Remember those two attractive women he had in his arms? The arm candy that makes irritable feminists everywhere want to neuter the nearest dog? Well, it turns out they’ve got fancy glowing swords and decide to join the fight. It catches War Machine by surprise and it should. This is 2016. Mad Max: Fury Road has been out for over a year now. Sexy badass women should no longer be so shocking. it awesome?

In the sense that it has no noticeable flaws other than making hot blondes everywhere want to sleep with Dr. Doom, yes. It is pretty damn awesome. This is the most polished, well-developed portrayal of Tony Stark with his pants on in quite some time. You can practically hear the charismatic wit of Robert Downey Jr. coming through every word. And if that doesn’t make hot blondes horny as well, then something is inherently wrong with human biology.

Invincible Iron Man #6 was fairly light on action, but heavy on everything else. Tony’s personal life got some added depth. War Machine got to flex his guns in a way that has nothing to do with dick jokes. And the All-New, All-Different Dr. Doom continues to upstage Iron Man in the best possible ways. At the rate he’s going, I might be inclined to polish Brian Michael Bendis’ head if I ever get the chance to meet him. This new path for Iron Man couldn’t be better without getting a supermodel involved. Wait…he hired Mary Jane Watson in the last issue? Never mind!

Final Score: 9 out of 10


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