Tony Stark was last seen, at the conclusion to World’s Most Wanted, in generally poor condition. Instructions stipulated that his doctor be consulted regarding any medical issue, and a number was supplied for one Dr Donald Blake. To regular Marvel readers he’ll be familiar as the alter-ego of Thor, who’s just the person you need if you’re to be released from the clutches of Norman Osborn and his corrupt national security agency.

Matt Fraction opens his tale with a protracted message from Stark recorded before he embarked on the events of World’s Most Wanted, predicting the outcome, and calling on his friends Thor and Captain America, with whom he’s had major differences, to restore him. It’s a complex plan, requiring the participation of several specific people, and not something that should really be disrupted. A shame, then, that a woman scorned has employed a character known as the Ghost to eliminate Stark.

The Ghost is another former Iron Man foe well used by Fraction. Able to manifest as transparent and lacking solidity, he also integrates with technology. Fraction further protracts the tension by interludes, initially variations on a theme, of random thoughts sparking in Stark’s head as he grapples internally with restoration. It’s all very satisfying.

Salvador Larroca’s art is once again spectacular. Here let loose on other Marvel characters in addition to the Iron Man cast, he delivers a great version of Doctor Strange. And as it’s not been noted in the previous reviews of this series, it should be mentioned that his entire cast is extremely alluring. That is, apart from the landlady.

This content can also be found collected in the Invincible Iron Man Omnibus volume two along with the following two parts of Stark Resilient.