Invincible Iron Man issue #503 is a Fear Itself tie-in. The issue actually takes place just before the events from Fear Itself #1.

The story kicks off with a flashback of a young Tony Stark and young-ish Otto Octavius, lecturing Tony on how to best take advantage of an opportunity. That and threatening Tony would one day work for him.

I really liked this interaction between the future Hero and Villain. I know both characters as great scientists, and while I don’t think about it much, it makes perfect sense these two titans of science would have crossed paths before becoming Iron Man and Doctor Octopus.

The story then picks up right where the last issue left off, with Iron Man trying to defuse a device set to destroy Manhattan. With time running short, Tony is unable to defuse the device, unless he is willing to “Kneel before Doc Ock”! In a rare feat of humility Tony does what is needed to save the day… of course, the twist will hopefully have you laughing out loud like I did.

Aside from Tony stopping Doc Ock, this issue features Pepper Potts laying the smackdown on Sandman and Electro, or at least scaring them off in Broxton Oklahoma, future home of the shiny new Asgard. It is always cool to see Pepper Potts hopping into action, especially with the repulsor powered device in her chest, protecting her Stark Resilient co-workers.

Speaking of Stark Resilient, how would you handle pitching the construction of the new city of Asgard right here in our very own Midgard (aka Earth)? Well that is exactly what Tony Stark has to do at the end of this issue and Thor has only one answer; Aye Thee! Pretty cool. But perhaps this issue should have come out before Fear Itself #1, then we might have fallen for the drama they’ve tried to build.

The last great thing about this issue is Doc Ock watching a video of Tony Stark’s “act of humility” over and over and over in the closing pages of this issue. It was like he was watching some kind of mad scientist humiliation porn. All in all, this was a pretty good issue, but like I said, it probably should have been released before Fear Itself #1. But it is well worth checking out.