I haven’t read the Iron Man: Fatal Frontier Infinite Comic (if it’s not free or not The Private Eye, I can’t really get behind digital comics) so a lot of this annual flew over my head. However, it was an enjoyable read that did a good job at making me actually want to read Fatal Frontier and also at setting up some interesting strands for the future of Kieron Gillen’s Iron Man run.
This issue is split into 3 different stories, each of which is related in some way to the Moon. The first, where Gillen is joined by Alvaro Martinez, sees Iron Man back on the Moon, trying to reason with a Soviet Robot called Udarnik. Tony has been infected by ‘moon-mercury’ and needs Udarnik’s help to not only rid himself of the infection, but also to help him out in the building of his new city, Troy. All of this is, I’m assuming, from the digital comic. It’s pretty dumb for Tony to be asking for help to fix his city, because Tony caused Udarnik’s Moon-City to be abandoned. It was for good reasons, but still, the robot is pissed, and beats Tony up a little. In the midst of the battle, the infection causes Tony to start hallucinating, and it’s a very effective dream sequence, with Martinez nailing some really creepy imagery, especially when Tony is dreaming that Ho Yinsen is carving him up. Tony wakes up to find that Udarnik has actually helped him, and the disease is now gone from his system. Udarnik might hate Tony, but he can still see that Troy is for the best. Iron Man flies off, and promises to help Udarnik repopulate his abandoned Moon City and restore it to it’s former glory, which I’m sure is a story that we’ll see in the future.
The second story, with art from Agustin Padilla, sees Tony send his brother Arno to meet with Eli Warren and his ‘New Modernist Army’ and ask them to help work on Troy with them. These characters appeared back in Iron Man #5, but it looks like something went down between them and Iron Man in Fatal Frontier to make them hate him. This is why he’s sent Arno, and why Arno isn’t able to reveal he’s a Stark. Warren eventually agrees to help out in Troy, but the most important thing here comes at the end, when Warren tells Arno about the existence of Extremis. Extremis could be used to help cure Arno, and to allow him to walk again, but unfortunately, Tony had Warren destroy the last batch of it. Arno doesn’t tell Tony that he knows about Extremis, so that’s certainly a great teaser for the future, a big old wedge that can be driven between the Stark brothers and perhaps lead to Arno becoming a villain.
The final story is back down on Earth, and fills us in on just how Pepper Potts met and fell in love with her new Fiancé, Marc. This was a useful little story, as Marc kind of came out of nowhere, and in the space of a few pages, it made the relationship feel real. Marcos Marz’s art was excellent as well, perfectly suited to a very real story. There was one annoying moment however, and it was when Gillen had Marc react badly to being called a ‘White Knight’ by Pepper. This was the bad Young Avengers Kieron Gillen raising it’s head, and it just felt jarring. But the rest of that scene, with Marc defining PR, made up for it.
If you read the Fatal Frontier series, definitely pick this up, it’s the last few loose ends, and if, like me, you avoided that series, it’s probably worth going back and reading it, because from the looks of this Annual, the events of that story are not going to be forgotten. It is annoying, because I would have preferred to have important events actually occur in the comic, but I suppose digital is the future after all. I’ll keep it analogue however and pick up the trade when it comes out.