The logic behind Matt Fraction’s second year on Invincible is understandable. A twelve-month arc is a hard sell in today’s market, and the soft-launch of World’s Most Wanted, with no mention of the story’s intended scope, can be understood. The implementation, however, has been more than a little ropey, with many issues of the book simply containing too little plot to justify buying the book outside of its intended trade format. As Tony’s run nears the finish line, the pace is starting to pick up, but the story still feels too slight an affair for its epic proportions.
Norman Osborn has trouble brewing on the home front, with the failure of the vast resources at his disposal beginning to haunt him, but his quarry has his own problems to contend with. The progressive mind wipes to eliminate the secrets he accrued as SHIELD’s director have had a debilitating effect, and he’s now only capable of using the simplest weapons in his arsenal. The main character’s return to the site of his origin story presumably reflects his progressive unmaking of himself, a way of atoning for the mistakes of his recent past. The sequence of events isn’t fleshed-out enough to bury this subtext, however, and the whole venture ends up looking more than a little whimsical. Fraction’s HAMMER is similarly underdeveloped, and while downplaying the military trappings usually employed to bulk-up the organisation’s narrative presence is a bold move, the result leaves the agency feeling a little skeletal.
The issue isn’t entirely without merit, with the sequence from which it takes its title being a superb character study of the changes which Stark has recently undergone, while emphasising how much he has grown since he first found himself in such a situation. These five pages of pure drama however, serve only to highlight the weakness of the offering as a whole.