Saying Brian Michael Bendis has a prolific Marvel Comics career is a bit like saying Cal Ripken Jr. played a handful of baseball games. Bendis has been a driving force at Marvel since 2000, crafting everything from Alias (AKA Jessica Jones) to Ultimate Spider-Man to his most recent run across Marvel’s Iron Man titles.
Although it still feels relatively new, Bendis has somehow written an Iron Man run consisting of an astonishing 52 issues spread across a variety of titles.
Invincible Iron Man (2015) #1 to #6
International Iron Man #1 to #7
Invincible Iron Man (2016 – ) #1 to #11 – The Riri Williams, Ironheart issues.
Infamous Iron Man (2016 – ) #1 to #12 – The Victor Von Doom issues.
The first “Marvel Legacy” issue, Invincible Iron Man #593, plays off storylines prevalent in all fifty-two preceding issues, and very much makes the case that what has come before matters immensely.
Since “Marvel Legacy” is also focused on “restoration” issue #593 also marks the big “return” of Tony Stark story that approximately no one has been waiting for. I don’t even say this because I think there’s something wrong with Tony or Bendis’s run as a whole, but more because even in a coma, Tony Stark has been as present as ever.
In many ways, Marvel’s handling of Tony Stark is perfectly emblematic of some of their deepest flaws in the run from Secret Wars to Marvel Legacy. The two year window of All-New All-Different Marvel gives the appearance of mass transition and change. Yet, Tony’s “sacrifice” in Civil War 2 is almost instantly undone by a Stark AI presence in everything from Ironheart’s stories to a main character in Secret Empire.
Tony Stark being taken off the board looked very close to Tony Stark on the board.
It’s hard not to view his mysterious recovery from a coma as getting the inevitable out of the way. The real question will be what impact does coming “back” have for Tony, and how will it impact the Iron warriors who have taken up the mantle in his wake.
This is a credit to Bendis’ work since Civil War 2, in that I’m significantly more interested in how the return of corporeal Tony Stark affects Victor Von Doom and (to a lesser extent since they’re already friendly) Riri Williams.
Invincible Iron Man #593 does a nice job highlighting that even though Doom’s work as Infamous Iron Man has been a net force for good, there are those like Benjamin J. Grimm who will – never – forgive the onetime supervillain. It is somewhat amazing how the ever-loving blue-eyed Thing actually comes across as the villain in his harsh interactions with Doom, even as Doom literally stops SHIELD agents by convincing them to hug one another. I have to consistently stop and remind myself that Doom has perpetrated crime after crime against the global population, and especially against his hated rival Fantastic Four.
Of course, if Marvel Legacy is truly dedicated to restoration, it’s only a matter of time before Doom is wearing his green and silver dictator’s robes. I’m compelled to see how we get there, though.