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Stark Disassembled

Iron Man: The Magic Touch

Doctor Strange stops by to help his old friend Tony Stark in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #23

By Marc Strom

Tony Stark could use a good doctor.

Fortunately, the former Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange, will help the beleaguered Avenger as he attempts to piece his mind back together in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #23 on February 3, courtesy of writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca.

While Tony had many of the details worked out beforehand on how to revive himself from his coma, Doctor Strange's involvement proves that even one of the smartest men in the Marvel Universe comes up against his limits at one time or another.

Or, in Fraction's own words: "some things can't be fixed with a wrench, y'know?"

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #23 cover by Salvador Larroca
Strange has some very simple reasons for wanting to help revive Stark, though how he sets out to accomplish his task will have at least one major plus.

"Well, I think, most superficially, he wants to ease Tony back from his state into the conscious, waking, world," remarks Fraction. "As a man of infinite curiosity, I'm sure the chance to go spelunking inside the mind of the world's smartest man is its own reward. But most obviously: he wants to help Tony Stark get back into his right mind and up on his feet."

Though the mystical world Doctor Strange inhabits might appear at odds with Iron Man's more technological, scientific viewpoint, Fraction quickly quotes classic science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke in order to reconcile the magical with the rational:

"'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' Wouldn't a caveman think your iPhone was magic?"

Similarly, Fraction doesn't feel that Tony approaches magic any differently than he would any other problem in the real world.

"[His relationship to magic has changed] in as much as he understands it, or rather, in as much as he realizes he understands it," the writer suggests. "He feels towards magic how, say, you or I would feel towards

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #23 variant cover by Patrick Zircher
repulsor technology, or Extremis, etc. It's all just technology to Tony. It's all hacks and cheat codes and engineering."

As to why Tony merits all the effort his friends and colleagues have put forth to revive him, Fraction points to a very recent display of the hero's ability and worth in the Marvel Universe.

"Are you kidding me? Did you read this week's SIEGE #1?!?"

But before Tony can once again don the Iron Man armor, he will have to suffer through even more trials and tribulations.

"Things can always get worse," warns Fraction. "And things always will. We ain't done yet."


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