Nice First Half
Matt Fraction is a good writer. Some people have compared him to other good writers like Ed Brubaker, but frankly I don't think that the two are comparable. Sure, both authors are good at writing a single long continued story rather than mini arcs, but their styles are very different.
In this issue, our three character cast gets another rotation. To my suprise, I think that Maria Hill might win this round, but Stark's bit was nice too. Pott's story was cool. It was interesting to see Norman's "kindness" which is really just what anybody else would define as "rudeness" but I was suprised that he just let her go. Afterall, if he really disliked her that much and already had her captured, then why let her go? I dunno.
Anyway, back to Hill's story. As I said, her story was good. In the past issues I was a bit confused why that was part of the story. Hell, I still don't really understand why that's there. However, Matt Fraction did a good job with the storytelling here. Her part of the story was told in such a creepy way that I felt like I was inside of a horror movie or something. It was really scary. It's like zombies ripping through Futurepharm. I was a little dissapointed that there was no connection to Extremis through this story (I thought that there would be because Futurepharm was in it) but I'm not really that upset. Actually, I wouldn't use the word upset. I don't really care that Extremis wasn't in it.
Tony Stark had a weird opening scene but there was a cooler battle right in the middle of this comic and that was cool. It isn't as awsome as some of the other battles we've seen recently (War Machine and Namor being among them) but it was entertaining. The art really helped make it good.
Speaking of the art, Salvador Larroca continues to draw this comicbook (I don't think he's had to "sit out" thus far). As I said, what he does with that battle is sicknasty (that's a good thing, for all you people who don't "get" my slang). He draws the new "Pepper suit" really well too (I think they're calling her "Rescue" now... stupid name if you ask me). It looks really nice. Overall, he's a good artist and a lot of people don't like him but I do. I think he's a great artist who really makes this series a lot better.
Speaking of Pepper, as you can see by the cover, she is captured in this issue. She does a "in your face" move at the end, which I called from a mile away. It's cool to see just how much she has changed over the course of this book. I think the biggest shift for Pepper was from issue #9 to issue #10 when she suddenly becomes a superhero. It is obvious though that Fraction has planned this out from the start. That's why he made her explode and get the thing for her heart back in the first arc.
Overall, this is a good story. I like the battle and I like how scary the Hill story is. I want to see all the characters come back together again, which seems like it might happen soon. I'm getting tired of seeing Osborn though. Let's see more of the Hood and Madam Masque.
Story - 8.5 out of 10
Art - 8.5 out of 10