Previously in Tony Stark Has an Epic Nap: Cap, Rhodey, Thor and the Scooby gang tried to... electrocute Tony back to life. Madame Masque showed Ghost the best entrance into where Tony's laying in his coma so he could shiv him. Pepper had second thoughts about being Tony's bitch, but unsurprisingly went through with letting him harvest her her for parts. Well then.
Invincible Iron Man #22: Is It Safe?
So that title makes me think of Clerks the cartoon, but whatever.
We open this months issue with a flatline of a heart monitor. Then there's a panel of Tony's face with his giant fish lips and his uneven jaw that Larroca still can't make consistent even 2 years into drawing the guy.
Voice: "...Stark? Tony?"
The next panel is a small blip in the flatline followed by the next that have Doctor whose name I don't remember, both Caps, Rhodey, Maria and Don with a stethoscope all looking down at Tony lying there.
Maria: "Did you kill him?"
Don: "Shut up, Hill."
Maria: "Is he dead?"
Don: "Shut up."
Let's play a fun game. Who on this roof hasn't slept with Tony.... by my count, one person and that's the Doctor whose name I don't know. We saw him bang Maria, we know he banged Natasha (who was previously on the roof but appears not to be now). I'm pretty sure he's banged Rhodey considering the amount of times he's been nearly naked in front of the man... or hell even naked. He's hit Cap once or twice, and then of course there's my insane belief in Bucky/Tony hate sex where he made Bucky dress up like Steve. I'm pretty sure I read that in fanfiction too. And well, let's face it... he had a crazy awkward and likely impossible threeway with Don and Thor... he's always had a bone for Thor.
Anyway, so the panel following Don and Maria's banter, is another line indicating that Tony Stark is not dead and does have a heartbeat.
Don stands over Tony checking his pulse and looking at his watch. Tony is not moving, not awake which well... wasn't the desired result right?
Don: "We didn't kill him. But--"
Rhodey: "'But," what?"
Don: "Well, look at him, Rhodes."
I can't tell if this is Don or Rhodey. I think It's Don: "We did everything right. According to JARVIS he should be conscious. But... but it didn't work."
CAPTAIN AMERICA puts his hand on Don's shoulder as Don looks disappointed and frustrated at the apparent failure to bring back Tony. He proceeds to say the most Cap like thing EVER and I squealed a bit at how Fraction nailed this.
Steve: "We'll figure it out, Doctor Blake. None of us are quite up to Tony Stark's speed--even when he's comatose. It's getting pretty ugly out here. Let's get him in."
Meanwhile, at the Most Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy
Tony is laying in the similar position to the real world. In the back ground the same Stark, Tony Stark? question is being raised. Tony wakes abruptly and gasping as he sits up. He leans against the wall visibly pained.
Howard: "No, we haven't seen Tony Stark. Maria? We haven't seen Tony Stark have we?"
Tony: "--the hell is... like every time I close my eyes I open them up somewhere different..."
Tony ganders at the arc reactor in his chest for a bit before crawling down into a hole in the floor and covering himself with a piece of wood. An awesome trap door that conveniently is in Howard and Maria's rundown shack home in the wasteland brain. That's... well whatever.
Howard: "I don't think I'd recognize him even if I did see him."
Maria: "Yeah, so..."
Howard: "... I could stumble right over the guy an wouldn't even know."
The elder Stark is conversing with the weird red and gold robot baddies that speak only in periods. They seem sort of satisfied at the moment with that, and they leave Howard and Maria to their evening. It's now more of a purple and blue hue in the wasteland so I assume it's night time. Or Tony's just having weird color schemes all over his brain.
RoboCop 1: "............... .............. ..........."
RoboCop 2: "........ ....... ......."
Yeah, what they said!
Howard: "Yeah, of course. If we hear anything of course we'll alert the authorities."
After shutting the door, he leans against the wall looking relieved. So if they know they're Howard and Maria Stark, why haven't they pieced together that Tony Stark is probably related to them and judging by his resemblance to them... probably their son. Maybe. Who knows. I'm really confused by this whole mess.
Howard: "was "stumble right over the guy" too cute?"
Maria: "Don't even fool around with them, Howard. It's bad enough without you showing off."
Howard: "Yeah, I know. I know..."
Tony: "Is it safe?"
Howard and Maria help him out of his convenient hiding hole.
Maria: "No, it isn't safe at all. It's very dangerous."
Tony: "Maria--you two really don't need to hide me--let me turn myself in--"
That's a genius idea Tony, let's turn yourself in to the RoboCops because that can't possibly end badly. Just like deleting your brain can't end badly and Skrulls can't end badly and Civil Wars can't end badly. Go for that idea, let me know how it works out for you.
Thankfully, Maria is on the same page as I am. This is a thought from the School of Bone Head Plans and she is not having it.
Maria: "Don't even joke--"
Tony: "How many sweeps have there been? How many--"
Maria: "What's that?"
Tony has now shown off his glowing chest where the arc reactor now registers as a part of him. You know, since they did it in the real world it shows up in his crazy brain wasteland. And he has no idea what the hell is going on anymore. Don't worry Tones, we're with you on that one.
Tony: "No clue. When I think about it, it glows. Could this be what they want?"
Howard: "You and our Iron friend here have holes in your chest."
Maria: "Maybe there's a connection between you three somehow."
Tony then peaks out the window at the RoboCops that are still sweeping the street.
Tony: "Yeah, I bet you're right. It's always a connection you never really see..."
Pepper wakes up from her surgery and immediately asks for Tony. To her disappointment, Tony is not there... but the other two Angels are. They rush to her side to keep her from sitting up because... we'll let's face it, they just sewed up a giant hole in her chest. That's going to fuck a person up. She sort of looks like a dude when she's laying down... dammit Larroca.
Pepper: "Is he--oooph--where is--"
Maria: "Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Pepper Potts. Your heart might actually literally leap out of your chest."
Natasha: "Lie back, Pepper. Take it easy. I'll go get the doc--"
Maria: "Great. Potts. Calm down.
Pepper: "But Tony--is he--is he dead or alive or--"
Maria sits by Pepper and tries to calm her down and keep her from getting out of bed and exploding, because it's very likely that she could. She looks grim when she relays to Pepper that it didn't work but he's still alive. And that she's going to be fine as long as she stays put. Pepper then asks why it didn't work and how Tony Stark could possibly be wrong. No one knows, according to Maria but she tells Pepper that she should have seen the crazy shit on the roof because they're lucky he didn't get set on fire.
Pepper: "I don't--Maria, I don't understand what did we do? What do we do next?"
Maria: "Cap left. Said something about another Doctor, some sort of consultation, I don't know. Maybe someone can try to get Reed Richards or one of those guys..."
Pepper: "That's not right. That doesn't make sense. How could Tony... how could we go through all of this to get it wrong?"
Maria: "I don't know if you know this about us but we're pretty great at blowing it lately. Need a cup of coffee. I'll bring you some ice chips, Potts. Sit tight."
I am with Pepper on this one. All that fanfare and fireworks met with nothing. Tony had this crazy scheme to bring him back... get together all these people and then electrocute the fuck out of him only to be met with the resounding sound of crickets chirping as nothing happens. Nicely played.
The old Sooner coot is watching reruns of Quimby in her room as Maria walks by, leaving ample opportunity for Ghost to appear and scare the shit out of her while telling her that she's under arrest for hiding a known fugitive. So they're going to interrogate and torture her. Awesome. It's not nice to mess with fat simpletons.
Maria busts in after hearing Sooner scream and tells him to freeze. He says boo. She says die. And he says some day and disappears. Maria tells the woman to get her fat ass up because they have to bounce or they all die. Or at least that's the words she would have used if I wrote the Invincible Iron Man. Instead, she said to "get out of bed and run with me or I can't guarantee your life." I like my wording better.
Down the hall Pepper is forcing herself out of bed to get over and sit with Tony. It's touching because... wait... HIS FUCKING EYES ARE OPEN AGAIN! WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE?!
Maria comes blasting down the hall telling her they've been compromised and they need to run.
Tony is looking at the chest plate of the armor and Howard and Maria watch him. Howard looks a little sad, Maria looks worried as she clings to her husband. This is probably a defining moment. They know they won't be able to hide Tony for long, because well... they're in Tony's brain and eventually the RoboCops will find him. It's just logical sense.
Tony: "I don't understand. What am I supposed to do? What does this all mean? I mean... I'm pretty sure this... is connected to that."
Maria: "Why don't you try to put it on?"
Tony: "What are you nuts? It almost killed me the first time. It hurts. Wearing the damn thing hurts."
Maria: "First time? What are you--"
Here come the RoboCops. I wish I spoke 'Period' so that I could also know what they are saying also. But I don't and I am disappoint. They proceed to hide Tony under the floorboards again, Tony warning them not to do anything stupid. Howard tells him it's too late before the RoboCops bust through the door and grab both elder Starks by the neck. They are dragged from the place kicking and fighting as Howard tells Maria to never stop fighting and Tony is left alone... terrified and staring at his glowy glowy chest. It's pretty....
In the most exciting place in the world, Broxton OK:
Inside a new building that looks mostly abandoned Doctor what's his ass, the fat chick from the hotel and Maria carry Tony's comatose body in a sheet down a flight of stairs, with Pepper trailing behind them in a wheelchair. If this isn't the saddest bunch of people I have ever seen. Two geezers, one of them intensely overweight, a woman losing her mind and another who has just been harvested for parts. That's awesome. Tony's in good hands...
On the way down, Maria hassles the old Lady about going faster, the doctor tells her to ease up off her and Maria says she can't protect them from assassin's in a stairwell. I think that's a reasonable argument. While Maria helps Pepper down the stairs, the doctor gets all Quincy on the old lady and they have a moment where you're pretty sure this old woman is crushing on him now. Gross. Old people love.
Maria tenderly picks up Pepper and this conversation ensues:
Pepper: "This is bad, right?"
Pepper: "I mean this is worse than hiding out in a Madam Masque mask and escaping Avengers Tower somehow."
Pepper: "Oh boy."
They get her down the stairs with her wheelchair and Tony's set up on the bed with his monitors, still in his vegetable medley. Wait... wait... bed? A minute ago they were carrying him in a sheet with monitors and they had him lying on the floor. Now he's on a full table? What was this? A magic table that can fold into a suitcase and then magically fold out into a full out bed? I disagree! Where the hell did that come from? Bad form! Oh and putting it right at the end of the stairwell? That's a really stupid idea because when Ghost inevitably finds you, well that'll be a quick kill... it'll be all...
"Gee where's Ton--oh right here IN FRONT OF MY DAMN FACE."
WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM.
Tony Stark is dead. You people are so dumb...
Anyway, so they start talking again...
Maria: "Well. Not to be... alarming... but I kinda gotta go. Aside from the guy-trying-to-kill-us-all thing, there's. There're a couple things I need to go take care of. Don't worry about it. Stay here. Stay safe. Hide out."
Thanks Maria, you're awesome. Let's just leave Pepper all harvested, Tony all steamed veggies in the capable hands of those two old people who are moments away from disgusting old people sex... that's a way to be.
Pepper: "But you can't leave us." You stupid bitch. Ahem. "You--Rhodey is gone, Bucky and Nat are gone--Cap left--Maria, who is going to watch out for us?"
And as if on cue, a Hey from above them signals the entrance of... don da da don!
CAPTAIN AMERICA, ORIGINAL FLAVOR!
At the top of the stairs stands Cap and... wait... TONY?! What the hell are you doing there in a suit and badass duster when you've been lying in a coma for the past two issues. Was this all just a secret plot like that time you faked your death but were really cryogenically frozen and Rhodey got really mad at... wait... wait no that's not Tony. It's his dignified magical twin brother, Doctor Stephen Strange!
Cap: "Aren't you the woman that blasted out of Avengers Tower as it was occupied by thousands of HAMMER agents? You could protect us. Don't you think?"
Maria: "Sir! We've been compromised. An assassin. So we--"
Cap: "--Left a trail a mile wide and a mile tall, at ease, Hill. It's okay. Whoever's after you isn't military or they'd have found you as easy as we did."
Doctor Guy: "You're Cap's special consultant, are you?"
He and Strange shake hands and it's very clear Strange is suffering this fool gladly. He's magics, and awesome. Don't fuck with him with your old people sex. He knows what you're up to, and he does not approve.
Strange: "My name is Doctor Stephen Strange. I cam a medical doctor and have extensive training in...alternative medicines."
Doctor guy: "Alternative to what?"
Stephen is all, silly mortal, but no... he should say that though because you know he's thinking it.
Strange: "Alternative to dying on the floor of a middle school basement."
Doctor Guy: "Just the man we need."
Strange: "Persistent vegetative state? Tell me about the surgeries."
Doctor guy tells him about the implant and then the plan he had to wake himself. It didn't work and nothing changed even though the harddrive is working. Strange implies magic might be needed by saying another surgery won't do and the old motel lady is all like, what what what? And asks him what to do. Strange smirks and replies to her:
We're going to need candles. Chalk, salt and candles.
They set up a crazy magic area with Tony and Strange in the middle of chalk lines and colors and candles. He assures them that this isn't a ceremony but a procedure of the medical kind and that he needs protection once he goes all into Tony's brain. But he'll come back with Tony. And Pepper is all what makes you so sure....
Trust me, I'm a doctor.
That you are, Strange.
Magic, colors, Strange in is wicked awesome butt-hugging tights, his wicked cool cape and a tree for some reason... a port hole opens and he lands unceremoniously with a dammit on the floor in Tony's shack. He dusts himself off and stands proudly, Tony still hidden in the floor boards, terrified as all get out. Strange opens them up and offers Tony his hand...
Strange: "Tony Stark. Do you remember me? I'm Dr. Stephen Strange. I've come to show you the way out of this hole you're in. The world needs it's Iron Man."
Tony sits there awestruck and clinging tot he armor chest piece...
To be continued....