Review: This story jumps back and forth between today and 2052, so this review is going to be tough to type, and even tougher to follow... We begin with Tony Stark sitting next to Peter Parker on the subway. Peter is angry at Tony because Tony “fired and humiliated” him(wait, when?!), but Tony tells Peter that he had been working on something extremely dangerous before he erased his mind, and can't quite remember what it was. Peter wants to know what any of this had to do with him, and Tony reveals that Peter had been working with him on this project. Peter decides to put aside his problems with Tony and the two head back to Tony's hotel room to try to figure out what Tony was working on and if it had gotten out. After some thinking, they realize that Tony had been aimlessly thinking about the most destructive weapon he could have possibly designed when he was bored one day, which takes care of the first part of the problem, figuring out what Tony was forgetting. After a quick search of the Net, Peter and Tony realize that some group of idiot teenagers calling themselves “The Bastard Son's of Wilbur Day” had been blogging about some super-weapon they were creating to destroy all technology and return the world to the Iron Age. Oh, and for the record, Wilbur Day was deceased c-list villian Stilt-Man, and according to Spider-Man, he had no children and didn't hate technology! Tony leaves to hunt down these kids, and Peter switches into his Spidey gear to assist. The two heroes find the headquarters of the Bastards, and are attacked by a giant, partially built machine. The machine destroys much of the building, but since it wasn't completed(and was put together by morons)is defeated by Tony and Spidey. However, this battle shows Tony that his errant thoughts had built that monstrosity, and that with plans for it on the Net, there was no way to stop others from using it. Tony returns to his hotel and finds Peter still there(he had arrived moments before and changed back from Spidey), and tells Peter his dilemma. Peter admits that there's nothing Tony can do to kill the info already out there, but says that Tony could put a backdoor into the plans to allow Tony to shutdown or kill the killer machines. Tony decides to do just that, and as per Peter's recommendation, Tony puts a Spider-shaped electro-magnetic pulse hidden in the machines to kill them if need be. Now there was also a futuristic portion of this story which showed what would have happened if Tony's machines had fallen into the wrong hands, in this case, the Mandarin, who was using an enslaved and broken Tony Stark to keep him alive. Mandarin was using ten killer machines to destroy the Earth for some unseen masters, but thanks to a joint effort of Tony's son(who simple math tells me would be born this year, in 2011!)and his younger daughter. Tony's son dies sabotaging some of Mandarin's forces, and this snaps Tony back to reality, which leads to him finally killing Mandarin, and destroying all of the killer machines with a massive E-M pulse. This E-M pulse destroys all tech on the Earth, including Tony's life support system, killing him... D'oh! That dismal future ends with Tony's daughter and the surviving humans trying to rebuild in a tech-free world.
Thoughts: I am now, and always have been a sucker for alternate reality/futeristic storylines, so I definitely enjoyed this comic. I also liked the fact that this was a one and done sort of story. I was expecting a regular size comic story, followed with 2 or 3 reprinted stories. Instead, this story took up the entire comic, which was a welcome change for an anniversary comic. The story was good, but I had too many questions after reading it to call it great, and that's probably more on me than Matt Fraction. I didn't know that Tony no longer knew Peter was Spider-Man, and I had no idea what they were talking about when Peter said Tony fired and humiliated him. But that's probably because I just started reading Iron Man comics again recently after dropping them after the Civil War story. For somebody more well versed in recent IM history than me though? I think they'd LOVE this issue.
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.It's like 'Waiting for Godot' for the 21st century!