Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
What it’s about: In what is the best Iron Man story since the ‘80s, “World’s Most Wanted” sees Tony Stark being turned into a fugitive on the run from Norman Osborn, the imperialistic leader of the government-sanctioned police force named H.A.M.M.E.R. Osborn’s objective is to tap into the superhuman registration files to find the identities of Earth’s heroes in order to eliminate them. The problem is that the only existing backup of this file exists in Stark’s tech-enhanced brain. Realizing what has to be done, Stark makes the decision to wipe out his mental database piece by piece, even though this means giving himself brain damage in the process.
Worst of all, Stark must do all of this without his enhanced Extremis armor. This means that he has to dig into his toy box from the past to wear his primitive armors from throughout the years in order to defeat Osborn’s forces. “World’s Most Wanted” is a complete deconstruction of the character of Tony Stark, and, honestly, it’s the most compelling portrait of him to hit pages in decades. If you like your superheroes with their backs up against the wall, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.
How it relates to Iron Man 3: In the trailer for the movie, we see a beaten, defeated Tony Stark dragging his armor through the snow, obviously being hunted down by the Mandarin and his agents. The sight of Tony Stark on the run from the villains with his armor beaten and broken down is an obvious visual cue from this modern epic. In terms of plot it might not be close, but the Stark downfall is definitely on display here.