Writers: Daniel and Charles Knauf
Art: Carlo Pagulayan
We start with Stark layed out in Nebraska (again). He is hallucinating imaginary people. We see that the U.S government is moving in on the SHIELD Helicarrier and Stark. They brought jets and tanks to stop them. Tony goes to see Maya, and tells her to give up the details on the airborne extremis so that they can make a vaccine. She refuses without getting hard evidence that Mandarin has unlocked it. Tony holds a meeting with Maria and Timothy and tells them to investigate the business interests of the Mandarin. We go to court, where Osbourne grills the shrink about Tony not being psychologically cleared to command. The shrink says he never said that and tells Osbourne that he is the crazy one. We go to the skrull from the last issue. Tony wants to figure out how the skrull went undetected by technology and mutant powers. Maria calls and tells him there is another skrull, prompting Tony to leave. Back at the court, the shrink wants to subpoena Jack Kooning. Osbourne asks him what happened to Kooning, since the he and Tony were the last to see him. Tony gets his ass blindfolded and taken into a rainforest (I am guessing it is a military base). Tony shows Maya video of one of Mandarin's guys saying that he did mass produce extremis, and then Maya agrees to give it up. Correction: the guy hauled off to the rainforest was Jack Kooning, not Tony. We see that Timothy is just wailing on a Chinaman about his country harboring Mandarin's factories. He dishes out some threats. We see Jack in the rainforest, meeting up with an old pal. He tells him that he is going to face the music, but first he is going to tie up some loose ends (we see a gun). He wants to kill the Mandarin. We see that Maya has finally given up the goods to Tony. We see that the motherfucking Mandarin tricked Maya into believing he was Tony, and that is how he got the full details to the extremis. We see that he uploaded the files to his buddy, who is going to load them up in missiles. Motherfucker.
That was a great issue. Everything was good about this issue. I was slow to catch on with this title, but I am sure glad that I have. We get twists and turns throughout this book. Everything was just well plotted and executed. The Knaufs have really turned this title into a first-tier Marvel comic. I know that most people don't read it, but now I am looking forward to it as I would look forward to Cap. The twist with the Mandarin at the end was just insane. I got a heads up like 5 seconds before i actually read it, but nonetheless it was crazy. He is just totally fucking Maya over. Just a thorough rape. She fought hard, even insisting that she wanted evidence before she would give it up, and Mandarin gave it to her. Then she just got duped. If that was me i would go kill myself. The whole thing was great. The character work was pretty solid, and i you get a good feel about the characters. But this was a plot driven issue with twists and turns, and I had a blast reading it. We get a good look at the court proceedings, which was filled with good back and forth dialog between the shrink and Osbourne. There wasn't much action in this issue, but the story was real good. The thing with the missiles are pretty crazy. Mandarin is rising up the ranks as a top villain. He isn't there yet, but he is getting a major push by the Knaufs. He can fight, and he is very smart and crafty. Someone like that makes a perfect foil for Tony. Overall a good issue. The Kooning stuff didn't really do anything for me though.