Invincible Iron Man #600
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stefano Caselli, Alex Maleev, David Marquez, Daniel Acuna, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Scott Hanna, and Andrea Sorrentino
Cover: Chris Sprouse
Publisher: Marvel Comics $5.99
While it’s one thing to hear about it, it’s still something to actually read it. Brian Michael Bendis’s final issue of Invincible Iron Man is here. The 600th issue of the Iron Man comic and also Bendis’s (for the foreseeable future anyway) final issue work at Marvel Comics. It covers the gamut from Tony’s return, Riri’s future, Doom’s choices, and a whole lot of tying of loose ends.
The comic’s plot isn’t really key to Bendis’s final issue. It’s pretty much a given that Tony will get back what he lost and then some. But like Bendis’s other two final hurrahs what’s more important are the players in this drama: Tony Stark, Riri Williams, and Victor Von Doom. While this is Bendis’s exit from Marvel, he as always leaves some toys for the person who follows him to play with, and there is plenty for future writers to follow up upon. It’s hard not to feel the reboot-happy shadow of “Fresh Start” looming over this comic when one of the outgoing plot threads is Tony Stark literally rebooting his body. That reboot is in a way a release from well over a decade of tinkering both biologically and on a meta level going back to to the Extremis story that’s shaped Iron Man for so long both inside and outside of comics, and on some level feels like a way of giving Iron Man a (no pun intended) fresh start from one of the writers who helped shape the modern-day Iron Man. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t also about moving forward. That same idea also applies with the place where Bendis leaves Riri and Doom, Tony’s would-be replacements, as well as the characters revisited from his tenure: from MJ to the Hood in his final story. While Marvel has been marred lately by its willingness to cut and run from the idea of evolution, Bendis’s final act is to embrace that idea of change for all three characters and the world they inhabit. That spirit of somewhat frustrating willingness to flip the game board and that love for relationships that has animated Bendis’s work is still in full effect here.
Stefano Caselli and Alex Maleev have been covering Riri and Doom’s (now with added Tony) journeys for the last few years. However, this is also a celebration of Bendis himself so all his old collaborators come back. Mike Deodato, Leinil Francis Yu, Mark Bagley, Jim Cheung, Daniel Acuna, David Marquez all come for one final hurrah. Jam session issues can be a bit confusing to follow, but it’s entertaining to see the breadth of scope with people who’ve come to define Iron Man in various permutations throughout Bendis’s time at Marvel return one last time. The comic definitely earns the price tag and then some. While it’s a tiny bit late to start fresh on Bendis, or Iron Man (you’re 599 issues late), it’s still a great path forward for the character and for the company.
4 Reboots of 5