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Invincible Iron Man #158: Review

May 1982
Dennis O'Neil, Carmine Infantino

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #158 Review by (October 26, 2015)
Comments: Sole appearance of Sonny and Moms. Co-plotter/artist Bob Layton leaves the title with this issue, though he will be back regularly as of #215. Tony gets a call from real-life supermodel Cheryl Tiegs; since in 1982 she was married to photographer Peter Beard, the subject probably wasn’t romance...but what?

Review: That tongue-in-cheek cover promises something a little bit different in this issue and they deliver. A fat slob of a villain, self-styled genius Sonny, resembling THE SIMPSONS’ Comic Book Guy with a scary glint in his glasses, is tormenting his poor old mother. This is a very unusual dynamic for the comics at this time and it left me wanting to know more about them—too bad they are never heard from again. And we also see Tony Stark adventuring in situations where his armor is of no help, demonstrating the resourcefulness of our hero. The highlight is Tony trying to talk his way out of the pit using a mock formal style of address (“Good evening sir, I don’t believe we’ve been introduced.”). A highly amusing and offbeat tale.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #158 Synopsis by T Vernon
Iron Man is flying home across the mountains in a rainstorm when his armor shuts down sending him into freefall. A multitude of possible actions rushes through his mind when his power comes on again and he is able to complete his journey, though keeping closer to the ground. Back at Stark International, Tony gives his armor a complete rundown but finds nothing wrong….
Meanwhile, in those mountains, a fat man called Sonny is conducting experiments on his mother, partly for research and partly as revenge for her mistreatment of him as a child….
Later at a charity backgammon tournament, Tony Stark meets an old flame who tells him that her plane conked out earlier near Cougar Mountain due to a malfunction in the electrical system. This is the clue Tony needs to investigate his earlier problem. He dashes out to the mountains, dons his Iron Man armor, and starts searching the area in the rainy night. In a secret lab, Sonny is putting Moms to the test: he has rigged a light on a mountain ten miles away and, training a hypno-beam on her, wants her to shut the light off with her psychic powers, no matter how painful it may be. Shellhead has spotted the lonely light and is checking it out when the light shuts down—along with his armor. He finds his way to the lab and the comatose Moms; while he is inspecting the unusual machinery (without his helmet), Sunny conks him on the noggin and dumps him in a pit rapidly filling with water. Tony tries to talk his way out but the creepy genius isn’t listening and pushes a machine to cover the exit. Tony runs through several methods of escape but all are futile. Finally he realizes there must be a hole at the bottom for the water to enter the pit. Diving underwater, he locates the exit and removes his armor to allow himself to squeeze out. Emerging in a nearby lake, Tony returns to the cave lab and punches Sonny’s lights out. Moms, set free, has one request: “Hit him again?”

Carmine Infantino
Dan Green
Bob Sharen
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

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