The Invincible Iron Man Annual 1 (August 2010)

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Fraction opens with an Immortal Iron Fist reference, then the Mandarin kidnaps a movie director and his wife, holding them hostage until the guy makes a movie of the Mandarin’s life.

The Mandarin is a megalomaniac—Fraction does a fantastic job making every single scene with the character disturbing. A couple factors drive the issue. First, the director’s the protagonist and there’s the question of his fate. Second, the story the Mandarin tells continues to get convoluted, both by the truth and then by the Mandarin changing details himself. It’s an interesting way for Fraction to catch readers up on a lot of history while accounting for some possibly dated details.

Di Giandomenico does a good job with the art, but he’s one of those guys where it’s never clear if people are supposed to be funny-looking or it’s just his style.

It’s an excellent standalone. Fraction does great.

CREDITS

Mandarin: The Story of My Life; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Carmine Di Giandomenico; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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