Iron Man vol 3 #48
Marvel Comics (January, 2001)
“The Frankenstein Syndrome” finale
WRITER: Frank Tieri
art by Udon Studios
ARTIST: Omar Dogan
CHIEF: Erik Ko
COLORIST: Angelo Tsang
LETTERER: Randy Gentile
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Sumerak & Youngquist
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Iron Man and Sun Tao escape Ultron’s “SKINborgs”, and come up with a plan that requires Jocasta to overcome her fear of both her father and the sentient armor’s AI. They head to where the Sons are setting up a new “church” in Las Vegas. They manage to shut down the SKINborgs while Jocasta defeats the armor and shuts down Ultron, but she’s lost in the battle. With Yinsen or the remains of his mind or something taking over the sentient armor as originally planned he decides to go down with the ship, and the Sons except for Sun Tao go with him as the flying city is destroyed by Ultron’s failsafe. Meanwhile, Jocasta takes over control of Antigone, who fell over with Ultron’s head.
What they got right: Udon Studios comes in to give this finale a strong art finish and it’s really good. They paid attention to the previous sentient armor story and got the flashbacks right. It’s leagues better than most of what I’ve put up with thus far in this run. Even the SKIN armor doesn’t look too terrible. The story itself comes in with a strong finish. While the Jocasta rape thing still bothers me she took agency and defeated her attacker, not Tony seeking revenge on her behalf, so at least this wasn’t a fridge scenario. Ultron is defeated just fine and the other Avengers not being there is well explained, as well as to the full story of Ultron’s return and the creation of the sentient armor. It certainly beats blaming Y2K.
What they got wrong: You probably asked the same question I did in that last sentence of the summary: who is Antigone? Tony seemed to recognize her and was upset he couldn’t save her (which is fine for Jocasta) but who is she? I don’t remember her being pointed out in the previous issue and she only shows up in one more comic, another Ultron story. I guess that means they have a connection but darned if I know what it is. It just looks like a naked blue little girl and I already worry that might put me on a watch list for reading it. If Antigone is some kind of sentient AI then Jocasta just killed her to get a body. That’s kind of cold. Jocasta’s projection also looks wrong, like the artist was interpreting the bad design of the previous issues rather than her actual look.
Recommendation: Overall the storyline was kind of a mixed bag. There were stuff that worked stuff that didn’t, and only this issue has art worth looking at. I’m not sure I can recommend it but I’m not sure I’d call to avoid it. It had potential but the way they went about it, especially the rape, was just wrong.