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Invincible Iron Man #172: Review

Jul 1983
Dennis O'Neil, Luke McDonnell

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Story Name:

Firebrand's Revenge!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #172 Review by (February 1, 2016)
Comments: Firebrand was introduced in issue #27 and last appeared in #80-81; his next appearance will be his last, being killed by the Scourge of the Underworld in CAPTAIN AMERICA #319.

Review: Another highly dramatic issue as we witness (again) the depths of Tony’s degradation and the powerlessness of a friend to help him. Firebrand, though, is an odd choice of villain, being (as Cap notes) ten years out of date with his revolutionary rhetoric—but then he is portrayed as a loser. Nevertheless the issue is a good one with number of fine sequences, including the ball game Rhodey takes part in.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #172 Synopsis by T Vernon
Tony Stark, drunk out of his mind, invades a museum and dons a medieval suit of armor, going wild; he is arrested and taken to jail. He is bailed out by a company lawyer but he doesn’t remember what he did. Leaving the police station, he is accosted by a mob of reporters and paparazzi; panicked, he dashes into a cab and asks to be taken to the nearest liquor store….
At the Stark grounds, Iron Man James Rhodes is taking part in a baseball game with the company team; he enjoys himself immensely but feels a bit guilty because of the reason he is now Iron Man. Returning to Dr. Erwin Morley’s lab he is summoned by Stark vice-president Yvette Avril. When Rhodey arrives at the office, she informs him that Obadiah Stane is only hours away from taking over Stark International; their only hope is to file a writ delaying the action—but it must be signed by Tony Stark by 5 PM that day and no one knows where he is. Iron Man calls Avengers Mansion and talks to Captain America. Soon Cap is searching the Bowery for Tony. A helpful derelict (a veteran who admires Cap) directs the hero to a run-down hotel. This scene is witnessed by another homeless fellow, one with a grievance against superheroes—he dons his costume revealing himself as Firebrand….
Cap has found Tony and demands to know why he is allowing liquor to destroy his life, revealing also that his own father was a drunk. Tony can’t answer other than to say he is powerless against the bottle. Cap becomes aware that the hotel is on fire and discovers Firebrand; after a brief squabble, the villain jets off while Cap rushes back into the building to rescue the inhabitants. As he emerges from the building with the helpless Tony, Iron Man arrives and Cap asks him to help. Shellhead uses his built-in fire extinguishers to create a safe exit for the tenants; he then jets off and brings back a water tank, using it to douse the flames. Firebrand attacks him but Iron Man won’t retaliate until the fire is out. Only then does he seize the villain and plunge him into the river, dousing his flames too. Firebrand is turned over to the police and Cap takes Iron Man to where he left Tony only to discover that Tony has paid a derelict to wear his clothes while he took off. Rhodey and Cap search for him but with little hope of finding a man who doesn’t want to be helped….
Epilogue: At 5 PM the deadline passes for legal action to prevent the company’s takeover. Moments later, Obadiah Stane, the new boss, enters….

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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.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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