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Invincible Iron Man #168: Review

Mar 1983
Dennis O'Neil, Luke McDonnell

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Story Name:

The Iron Scream

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #168 Review by (January 4, 2016)
Comments: Part three of the three-part Tony’s relapse story. Machine Man was introduced in 2001: a Space Odyssey #8 by Jack Kirby and was soon given his own series. First appearance of Morley Erwin (not named until next issue) who will be a regular character over the next thirty issues or so; here he only appears as someone for Vic Martinelli to talk to.

Review: An unusual issue, putting the hero into an unusual position: Iron Man is the bad guy here. Tony Stark, hammered out of his mind, battles another good guy who tries not to hurt him. The difference—and the source of suspense—here is that Machine Man thinks that Shellhead is another robot, leaving us on tenterhooks, worrying whether he will accidentally kill or cripple Tony. Yeah, we knew he wouldn’t die but at this point in the run there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t be put out of commission temporarily or permanently—which, mind you, is what they are going to do anyway. Writer O’Neill supplies some nice interplay between the two antagonists and the art manages to hide a bit of Machine Man’s silliness with those extendable limbs. Good show all around. And I really feel sorry for the scientists whose important four-year project was ruined.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #168 Synopsis by T Vernon
Super-robot Machine Man arrives at Stark International to see Tony Stark and Iron Man; he (it?) flies over the fence and goes in search of them. Tony Stark is notified but is drunk out of his mind; he assumes Machine Man is some threat sent by Obadiah Stane and dons the Iron Man armor. Machine Man arrives at Tony’s office, scaring Mrs Arbogast, and meets Shellhead. His desire: he believes Iron Man is also a robot and wants to compare notes and, if possible, become Shellhead’s friend. The word “friend” sets off memories of the traitorous Indres Moomji, leading Tony to attack the visitor. Assuming Iron Man is malfunctioning, MM tries to subdue his foe without damaging him. When Shellhead nearly kills two staffers who were in the way, Machine Man realizes he will have to resort to violence….
In Scotland, a disguised James Rhodes makes it to the airport and hijacks Stark’s jet from Obadiah Stane’s guards and takes off….
Machine Man lures Iron Man to the company’s generators and sends 100,000 volts into his foe, hoping to overload his circuits and knock him out; Shellhead merely absorbs the shock and strikes back. A chase through the company leads through the labs where Iron Man destroys a valuable experiment and dashes out without a thought. Outside again, MM sends EMPs through IM’s head, to override his systems but only succeeds in knocking Tony out. Discovering at this point that Iron Man is only a human being in a suit, Machine Man succeeds in catching him before he hits the ground. Not wishing to be around when Iron Man awakens, Machine Man high-tails it out of there. Tony rises and heads back to his lab, ignoring the questions of Vic Martinelli and the accusations of the scientists whose work was destroyed. Once in his sanctuary, Tony, having already forgotten what has just transpired, cleans himself up as best he can and goes home, stopping off at a liquor store to stock up on “libation”….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Luke McDonnell
Steve Mitchell
Bob Sharen
Luke McDonnell (Cover Penciler)
Steve Mitchell (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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