Invincible Iron Man (4th series) #8

Issue Date: 
September 2023
Story Title: 
You Can’t Stay at a Party Too Long, If You Don’t Go to the Party

Gerry Duggan (writer), Juan Frigeri (artist), Bryan Valenza (color), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Norm del Re (design),Kael Ngu (cover artist), Kris Anka; Bob Layton & Paul Mounts; George Perez & Edgar Delgado; Junggeon Yoon (variant covers), VC’s), Darren Shan (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Iron Man created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Tony Stark has hit rock bottom. Feilong owns his company and is using his technology to create mutant-hunting Sentinels. The last suit of armor Stark is keeping illegally also belongs to Feilong and, when Stark and his friend Rhodes tried to break into Stark Unlimited, Rhodes was captured and framed for a murder. Stark discusses matters with his lawyer Jennifer Walters, who suggests he comply. He gets ready to do so but gets an Avengers alert for Captain Krakoa attacking the US Senate. On his way there, he gets another alert about Captain America being attacked at the Brooklyn Bridge. He heads there and finds Cap and Rogue, then later heads to Washington. When he returns to New York, he witnesses Stark Sentinels attacking an office building. Inside are Emma Frost and the Kingpin, doing some business. The Sentinels try to capture Frost. Iron Man tries to help and gets hit hard. He learns from Emma that something disastrous happened at the Hellfire Gala. He decides to distract the Sentinel and gives her the time to flee underground. However, he gets hurt badly by the Sentinels. Sensing his distress and retreat into trauma, Emma returns to telepathically help him, getting captured as a reward. Stark offers Feilong the Iron man Suit in exchange for Emma’s life. He then passes the suit to Emma and spirits her away on autopilot. He warns Feilong that, if he kills him, the Avengers will retaliate.

Full Summary: 

Tony Stark is not having a good time.

Currently, he is sitting in the office of Jennifer Walters, attorney at law (and his longtime friend and teammate She-Hulk) feeling powerless. Thanks to Feilong owning Stark’s former company, his Iron Man technology is now being used for 30-foot-tall Sentinels, his best friend Rhodey is in prison, accused of murder for something Stark put him up to, and that’s not all the bad news. Tony insists he needs Rhodey out of prison… they didn’t kill anyone. Jen agrees, but one thing at a time. Back to his problem of the moment: Feilong owns Stark Unlimited. He owns the patents and the tech… Tony needs to comply with the cease-and-desist letters.

He hears his attorney’s counsel, Tony sighs. As his Hulk, what is her advice? Jen replies she wants to smash for him, but also reminds him that he set the precedent for this, when he was waging an armor war to keep his technology from proliferating. The only way forward would be to change his designs significantly. Failing that… she is not advising him to move his base of operations to a foreign nation, but maybe he could operate out of Krakoa? She is going to the Hellfire Gala later. Maybe she could…

He interrupts, stating he knows what he needs to do. He just didn’t want to face the truth: Feilong won! He owns Iron Man!

Feilong is using the Iron Man design for his own Stark Sentinels patrolling the streets, the name making things even worse for Tony.

Stark sells the cabstand, trying to raise money for Rhodey’s medical bills. He is prepared to go underground. While he works on his armor, he muses about Captain Marvel’s invitation to the Avengers. He figures he’s already let down one friend. He will have to be stealthier. That means turning the Mark 70 over to Feilong. Looking at his helmet, he muses they had a good run.

That moment, he gets an Avengers alert that Captain Krakoa has attacked the Senate in Washington.

He puts on the armor, figuring there is time for a last ride.

He tells his AI to plot the shortest route to Washington, while getting several messages, one from Captain Marvel announcing they are leaving the Hellfire Gala to head for Washington, another that Captain America is sending a distress call from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Stark aborts the course and heads for the Brooklyn Bridge, where he finds Cap and Rogue. Anybody hurt? he asks. Just his monocycle and his pride, Captain America replies. Rogue gives him the side-eye, as several Stark Sentinels fly by. She hopes going into Sentinel business wasn’t his idea. No, he replies and retorts that he figures it wasn’t Cyclops in the Captain Krakoa suit. Rogue demurs as well. Cap suggests they head for Washington.

Later that night, Iron Man returns to New York. They’d been too late to do anything about the attack on the Capitol.

In the sky, he sees one of the Stark Sentinels take an interest in an office building. Suddenly, it smashes through its walls. Tony flies up and quickly sees the reason why. Apart from two men Emma Frost herself is in the office.

The Sentinel informs her there is an Interpol warrant for her arrest and warns her not to resist.

Iron Man fires some gel from below at the Stark Sentinel’s feet, essentially blocking its thrusters and causing to lose its balance and fall.

Iron Man enters the office and jokes what is he interrupting here? Captain Krakoa is attacking Washington DC and Emma leaves her own party to do business with – he notes the big man in the outlandish Caesar-inspired outfit – the Wilson Fisk of Westeros? he mutters lamely.

Emma’s not having it and calls him a loathsome self-righteous imbecile. His machines attacked the Gala, she continues, killed scores at their state function and he has the gall to speak to her like that?

In the meantime, the Kingpin is signing some papers and promises she won’t regret this.

Tony lifts his faceplate and expresses surprise that Krakoa was attacked as well. He had no idea! He was dealing with the DC situation, and an attempt was made on Captain America’s life. Well, at least he is an Avengers she would miss, Emma snarks and demands what he is going to do about these monstrosities. He shouts back he told her at the last Hellfire Gala that everything was turning to *#%& and she didn’t listen and here they are! As for those Sentinels with his technology, he can’t exactly disappear at the moment and build an armor the size of…

That moment, the recovered Stark Sentinel slaps him off the building.

Iron Man lands hard in a burger truck. A moment later, the Sentinel fires at him from a foot jet propulsor.

While Fisk and his lawyer leave through the door, he suggests Emma should use Stark’s egress to flee.

More Sentinels hover in front of the office, aiming at Emma who addresses their creator Feilong: She knows he is listening and feeling very clever right now. Congrats on conquering Stark, but he will find he has bitten off more than he can chew by attacking her, the X-Men and all of mutantdom!

Doesn’t feel like that from where he is sitting, Feilong replies. There is no need for him to play nice anymore. Mutants laced the medicines they used on humans, killed the ambassadors that confronted them about it at the Gala and an Interpol warrant with her name has just hit the air. Mutants are a cancer on the planet and he is the surgeon!

They’ll do this the hard way then, Emma decides and turns into her indestructible diamond form. She warns him she will make this offer only once: retreat, make restitution and accept responsibility for his heinous actions… or she will see him dead under her heel!

Feilong laughs, then order the Sentinels to pick her up and throw her down to the street, then kill them both.

Emma is thrown down and lands hard, though protected by her diamond form. How was her flight in? Iron Man quips. She orders hm to focus, as several Stark Sentinels surround them. He tells her it’s the suit they want and tells her to get out. She reminds him she is impervious in her diamond form. Perhaps she should cover him.

He fires at a Sentinel and retorts that she is the one with the Interpol warrant. He tells her to flee. He just decided on a winning strategy and doesn’t need her slowing him down. She asks if he is sure he can manage. If he can’t, at least it will be very symbolic of something he won’t have to rehash in therapy, he deadpans and flies off. Emma enters the subway and telepathically tells him they are all at war together and she will look for the remaining X-Men. He jokes she should send him his way. He doesn’t want anyone to think he is stealing their bit with the Sentinels.

He has returned to the office building but doesn’t see them, until two of the Sentinels get the drop on him and squeeze him between their fists. He realizes too late they have a stealth mode.

Emma senses his distress and telepathically asks him to give her a sign if he is still alive. Lying beaten and almost unconscious on the ground, Tony begs for her help.

She runs upward. She enters his mind which looks like a dark city landscape. She asks where he is. He tells her to stay away. He thinks he is going to die! Following his voice to a dark alley, she orders, enough people have died tonight. Whatever trauma he’s retreated into is real, but it is not happening now. Where is he?

She finds him cowering at the end of the alley, surrounded by empty bottles. He is dying! Tony repeats. She sniffs that would be tremendously inconvenient, given how many fatalities they suffered tonight. She takes his hand and tells him to move over. She is driving.

She takes over his mind and tries to control the amor, figuring it can’t be so hard. Unfortunately, the missile she launches at a Sentinel hit a building instead. She steers the armor away before the Sentinel’s blast hits it. The Sentinels notice her physical presence nearby and she alerts Tony that he must wake up. She is out of time!

In his mental scape, Tony digs out the original Iron Man helmet from under the snow and assures her he is awake. He thanks her. She orders him to tell the world the truth.

A Sentinel grabs her and puts an inhibitor collar on her to suppress her powers. That moment, Tony steps out of the suit and shouts that he surrenders. He reminds Feilong that he wanted the armor. Take it and let the woman go in return. If she is a criminal, she deserves a trial. Intrigued, Feilong allows the Sentinel to drop Emma. Stark asks her what happened to being invulnerable. She explains she cannot use her telepathy when in diamond form. He realizes she risked her life by deciding to help him. Emma claims it was self-preservation. Had they killed him, they would have framed her for the murder.

Feilong orders the Sentinels to take Emma to the gulag on Randall’s Island. If Stark resists, arrest him. Prepare both for enhanced interrogation!

Stark gives the order “rescue” and the armor arranges itself around Emma and flies away with her. A furious Feilong gives the order to stop her - to no avail.

Sitting on the ground, Stark challenges Feilong to kill him. Kill an Avenger in the street. He’d be dead by dawn!

Characters Involved: 

Iron Man
Emma Frost, Rogue
Captain America, She-Hulk



Story Notes: 

The Iron Man title is now part of the larger fall of X storyline, mostly crossing over with X-Men (6th series).

The politicians in Washington were killed in Avengers/X-Men Free Comic Book Day 2023 #1, with the question of Captain Krakoa’s identity being the plot for Uncanny Avengers.

Felong has been an enemy of the X-Men since the beginning of X-Men (6th series).

Feilong framed Rhodes for murder in issue #7.

Westeros refers to Game of Thrones.

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