Matt Fraction really examines the nightmarish idea that someone with bad intentions would be able to wreak havoc with Stark technology. The reason that I enjoyed Fraction’s run of Invincible Iron Man is that he understood a side of the character that has rarely been explored in depth, that side being the fact that despite all the private research and development, Iron Man technology can be broken down, repackaged and sold.

Today’s Mixtape will look at issue #10 of Invincible Iron Man. This takes place after the failed Skrull invasion and after Tony has been removed as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. In his place Norman Osborn has risen to prominence as director of H.A.M.M.E.R. and is on a crusade to confiscate all of Stark’s armours, research and Superhuman Registration Database.

The issue starts with a Norman Osborn press conference Q&A session. Osborn is fielding wonderful questions like “Did Stark negotiate with Skrulls?”, “What will happen to Stark Industries?” and “What was it like having James Franco as a son?” And while that last question definitely wasn’t asked, all the others stand, and Norman answers them in a snide dismissing manner, painting Tony as a villain who is evading being arrested by the U.S. government. Tony, of course, is watching the press conference with Maria Hill (recently unemployed former S.H.I.E.L.D. deputy director). He is hooked up all Matrix-like, the future looks bleak and cinematic. So lets listen to Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix) by Rob Dougan. This gem of a track was the best thing about the Matrix series anyway, so dusting it off for Tony Stark is my pleasure.

We learn that Pepper Potts has been put in charge of Stark Industries and that she has no idea what to do. I am not knocking Ms. Potts’ business skills, she seriously laments that she doesn’t know what to do. Generic Assistant No. 1 informs her that the business is basically on cruise control and that she doesn’t really have to do anything. Jump cut back to Tony and Maria talking, he is in the midst of giving her orders to go to Austin, Texas, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t to go to SXSW. He needs her to go to a Stark subsidiary called Futurepharm and steal a hard drive, then she is to deliver the delicate contents of the hard drive to Captain America. It’s no easy task, and Tony’s only advice on finding Steve Rogers is to drop a line at cap@us.gov (I wonder if many people e-mailed that address trying to contact him, can someone please do that and get back to me?). He leads her to one of his armouries, basically a giant warehouse filled with Iron Man suits. Super weapons of mass destruction all waiting to be misused. Amidst all the phallic iron suits the sexual tensions begin to mount. And then Tony uh… Mounts something and Maria and Tony bang in front of a bunch of Iron Man suits. Mandatory listening is Let’s Get it on by Marvin Gaye. No other song should ever be listened to during a sex scene.

The next section of the book is important to the development of Pepper Potts as a character. Angered and frustrated by the things that have led her to this moment in history, her bearing witness to Tony being accused of being a common criminal and running away like one, and being demanded by agents of H.A.M.M.E.R. to turn over information regarding his whereabouts, she snaps. She loses it. Potts goes so far as to destroy the office that Tony nicely furnished for her, even throwing her chair against the wall at one point. But wait! What’s this? The damage of the chair knocks away a wall-mounted picture, revealing a secret door and a tool that begins as Potts’ Emotional Rescue (by the Rolling Stones) and will soon help her transform into Rescue.

Osborn, adorned in his Iron Patriot get-up, holds another press conference. This conference has a more hostile tone than the previous one, which was already hostile enough, trust me. Apparently he’s waiting for Tony Stark to join him, but of course, Stark isn’t stupid so he is nowhere near the pres conference. The whole thing is a scheme to make Tony look like a criminal, so that Osborn can announce that he is issuing a warrant for the arrest of Anthony Edward Stark for crimes against humanity, collusion with an alien menace, flight from justice, conspiracy, treason and criminal neglect against the planet Earth. This probably means that if captured he won’t be able to get out with simple “good behaviour.” Really there is only one song that I ever saw for this scene, and ya, its explicit, but it’s the kind of song that I can see Norman Osborn listening to when he gets out of the shower every morning. It’s America, F*** Yeah, from the Team America movie (Explicit Lyrics).

Norman declares war against Stark globally and that means they are seizing his cool toys everywhere from Chicago to L.A., Rome to Hong Kong, and even Manhattan and the offices of Pepper Potts. H.A.M.M.E.R. agents worldwide are seen beating up Stark employees and calling them hippies right before they bash their faces in. Damn these Police and Thieves (by Junior Murvin)! I’m sure Potts likes reggae and I like any song that the Clash saw fit to cover.

All this culminates in a scene in which they bust in to Pepper’s office and find it mysteriously empty, oooooh, intrigue. Now you must read the next issue! This one ends with Maria blowing up a bunch of Iron Man suits, and Tony Stark flying off, contrasted with Pepper in her Rescue armour standing on top of a Stark building. And that’s all for this week!

The Quick and Dirty

First Section: Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix)
Second Section: Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get it on
Third Section: Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue
Fourth Section: Team America – America, F*** Yeah!
Fifth Section: Junior Murvin – Police and Thieves