Playing the Waiting Game
Matt Fraction on Invincible Iron Man has been such a great ride. I think the character study of Tony Stark has been phenominal. This issue, however, suffers from a problem we saw in World's Most Wanted - it's a bit decompressed.
Aside from a wonderfully executed reminder that some things will never change about Tony Stark, there wasn't anything in this issue that felt like we were covering new ground. We've had a lot of sittng around in Broxton, Oklahoma - waiting for Tony to wake up, waiting for the Ghost to force some action, and waiting to see the title hero come back. Back-to-back issues of waiting just make it hard to get the reader excited about anything. As you can tell, I am having a hard time finding anything new to really review because not too much happened aside from the aforementioned Stark personality reminder and the last two or three pages when the Ghost finally makes his move on Stark's body. We seem to be treading water for no real reason.
I have loved the switch to Larroca, but this issue wasn't his best work. I don't know if it was the odd candle-lighting or just the pencils, but the facial reactions are a bit flat. There's one certain panel of Maria Hill that made me snicker because it was just came off as really odd. The art just didn't grip me as it did in the last issue. The way Larroca draws the Ghost or a robot makes me antsier to see him draw the armored and technological world of Tony Stark - the Tony we know is coming.
Compared to the highs we've seen from Fraction, this issue is just there. I feel like we could have had 22 and 23 condensed though because no new ground was really covered here. You could have took a really good #22 and added in a few pages of action, and it would have read even better. Issue 23 is solidly passable, but it's about time to bring back the Iron Man.