It can be draining to review Invincible Iron Man on an issue-by-issue basis, both because the series never varies tremendously in quality and because it’s the sort of book that requires the reader to take the long view when making an analysis. Some chapters are just slower and less eventful than others, and issue #523 happens to be one of the slower ones.
The same running threads continue in this chapter, with most of the focus directed at Tony’s attempts to undermine Mandarin’s empire and Pepper’s efforts to deduce the identity of the new Iron Man. At the moment the former is proving more interesting than the latter. There’s too little indication as to what exactly Rhodey is up to with his antics. Is the whole thing an elaborate ruse to get Pepper looped in on Tony’s plans? Surely there has to be a more direct way of accomplishing that.
In Mandarin Land, Fraction delivers some fun interaction between Tony and his rogues as he works to enlist them in his plans. The balance of power is slowly shifting as Tony and Zeke become more proactive and Mandarin shows the strain of his lofty position. There are even hints that Mandarin himself isn’t the end-all, be-all villain of this storyline. It’s interesting to see how many new seeds are blossoming even this late into Fraction’s run.
Little has changed regarding the art, which has been the case for years at this point. Unfortunately, Salvador Larroca doesn’t have the opportunity to break out his altered flashback style as he did in issue #522. Still, the issue offers a nice mix of simple character interaction, high-octane, armored action, and sci-fi imagery. Oddly, the one visual element of the book that has changed is the cover design. It’s a positive change, but it seems weird to suddenly make the change in the middle of an arc and the tail end of a four-year saga.
Source : feeds[dot]ign[dot]com