Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Stefano Caselli; Alex Maleev; David Marquez; Daniel Acuna; Lenil Francis Yu & Gerry Alanguilan; Jim Cheung; Mike Deodato Jr.; Mark Bagley; Andrew Hennessy & Scott Hanna; Andrea Sorrentino
Colors: Marte Gracia, Alex Maleev, Daniel Acuna, Guru-eFX, Romulo Fajardo, Marcelo Maiolo, & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC”s Clayton Cowles
Anticlimactic. Jumbled. Disjointed. These unfortunately were the words that came to mind upon finishing the Invincible Iron Man #600. I’ve really enjoyed Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Iron Man. Since the end of Secret Wars Bendis has done what he does best and told a long form story with multiple twists and turns but with a clear outcome. At the end of Civil War IIthe book or rather books (the Invincible Iron Man and the Infamous Iron Man) Bendis took us in a new direction with Tony Stark out of the way in a self-induced coma as his body rebooted and the titles focused on Riri Williams (Ironheart) and Victor Von Doom (the Infamous Iron Man) but over the past few issues we’ve seen the return of Tony and apparently just in the nick of time as his family, friends, and company are in some serious need of help. But for all this build up, the anticipation for the return of Tony, and the conclusion of this epic tale Bendis really fumbles the finale.
I think the principle problem I have with Invincible Iron Man #600 is that it morphed from being the end of Bendis’ time on Iron Man to a tribute to the end of Bendis at Marvel. With this being the finale of the Bendis era it became cluttered, both in story and in contributors. What could have been a streamlined finale turned into Bendis wanting/needing to put all the eggs back in the basket and to leave the franchise virtually untouched for Dan Slott. Invincible Iron Man #600 uses to many of its pages putting the Iron Man universe back to status quo and rushes to wrap up his story. One of the most entertaining aspects of Iron Man over the last year was Victor Von Doom redeeming himself by stepping into Tony’s shoes. Infamous Iron Man was one of my favorite titles each month and very little effort was put into the wrap up and the conclusion was very unsatisfying and in my opinion a cop out to where Victor’s story had been going. I adore Riri Williams but even her story felt flat, rushed one would say to get her to a place that others can take on her story. Bendis also spent to much time trying to rebuild SHIELD, which didn’t need to be done here. Leave that to other creators and other titles. This book should have been about the Iron Men and Iron Women in the Marvel Universe.
A final flaw for Invincible Iron Man #600 was the vast number of artists that contributed to the tale. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the majority of the artists assembled but it really threw off the flow of the book. It felt like Marvel turned this issue into a farewell to Bendis and brought aboard many of Bendis’ contributors to this issue. Stefano Caseeli and Alex Maleev were the principal artists for this Iron Man run and it should have been them who finished out the title. If Marvel wanted to do a Bendis farewell special with these artists I would have been happy to drop the money for that issue, I just didn’t need it here. I wanted a conclusion to the Iron Man story that has been going on for three years, not a fond farewell to Bendis nor a tremendous amount of set up for stories to come, this should have been a finale to the story being told. So at the end of the day I highly recommend the Bendis run on Iron Man but sadly the conclusion is not at the same level as the previous issues but as a whole it has been a fun few years and an era I will look back and think fondly of, even with a weak finale.