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Invincible Iron Man #138: Review

Sep 1980
David Michelinie, Bob Layton

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Story Name:

Facades and Ruses

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #138 Review by (June 8, 2015)
Comments: Part two of three parts. Madame Masque was last seen in issue #116; some chronologies call this MM a bio-duplicate, others call her the real thing. The police officer giving Tony the ticket is drawn to resemble comedian Steve Martin, and uses one of Martin’s catchphrases, “wild and crazy.” When caught by the baddies, Rhodey says, ‘Candygram for Mr Mongo (a reference to BLAZING SADDLES) and Tony says, “Land Shark” (a gag from the early SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE).

Review: A tongue-in-cheek detective story? Why not, Michelinie did James Bond only a few issues earlier. Here we see Tony and Rhodey play hero when they are not up to the job’s demands—but dumb luck gets them through. A nice, thoroughly engaging tale lacks fireworks but the previous (and the next) issue includes those. And the art is beautiful in its cinematic style without ever being showy. The perfect “second of three” issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #138 Synopsis by T Vernon
A helicopter lands on the street in front of the hospital and Tony Stark rushes in to meet Bethany Cabe; Beth tells him how her partner Ling McPherson was beaten by crooks—and that she, Beth, was the real target. The doctor tells them that Ling is in stable but guarded condition. They leave (to find Rhodey being ticketed by an overzealous cop) and Tony tells Rhodey to take Beth straight back to the company while he talks to the police. On the way back, Beth talks Rhodey into joining her on a mission against the bad guys who hurt Ling….
Beth and Rhodey arrive at the apartment of the client Harmon Taylor and run into Tony, also investigating. They break in and find an indignant Taylor; he shows them a bound and gagged figure in the closet. It turns out to be the real Taylor, with Tony deducing that the villain is the master of disguise Spymaster. The baddie hurls a gas bomb the knocks the heroes out…. When Tony and Rhodey awaken they discover Spymaster is gone—and has taken Beth, plus Tony’s briefcase with the Iron Man armor. Searching the apartment, Tony discovers a check to Taylor with the name Williams Innovations on it—a front for the Maggia….
Elsewhere, Spymaster delivers the energizer link, the briefcase, and the hostage to Madame Masque and receives his payment. Not far away, Tony pays a lot of money to a telephone lineman to borrow his uniform and truck; with these, he and Rhodey are able to bluff their way into the Williams property. Knocking out the guards at the front desk, they head further into the building; ducking out of sight of a patrol, they end up in the guards’ breakroom. Soon they are dodging gunfire all through the place; Rhodey draws them away while Tony makes his way to the director’s office. There he finds his briefcase and the energizer link; an unconscious Beth is in the next room. As he dons his armor, suddenly he is interrupted by the arrival of Madame Masque…and two Dreadnought robots….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Bob Layton
Tom Palmer
Ed Hannigan
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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