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Invincible Iron Man #244: Review

Jul 1989
David Michelinie, Bob Layton

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Story Name:

Yesterday... And Tomorrow

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #244 Review by (August 22, 2017)
Comments: Special double-sized issue. Sole appearance of Tony Stark's former fiancee Joanna Nivena. Actress Brie Daniels appeared in issues #222 and 225; this is her final appearance. Clay Wilson, formerly Force, was rescued by Iron Man in issues #223-225. Comical moment: a hospital patient admits he can't stomach “that Downey character.” No, not Robert Jr., but abrasive talk show host Morton Downey Jr. who was big in the 80s and 90s. Bob Layton was assisted in inking by Chris Ivy, Don Hudson, Harry Candelario, Bob Downs (and friends), Dave Simons, Marc Siry, Gavin Curtis, James Brock. Paul Becton was assisted as colorist by Marc Siry and Mike Rockwitz.

Review: Since it's been awhile since Tony Stark had something to agonize about, David Michelinie decided to forgo alcohol and go straight to a crippling medical condition. Oddly though, we jump over months of physical therapy and go straight to Tony's attempt to go back to his normal life. A shame really, as the present version makes it look like Tony got better overnight and only has to start dealing with the psychological burden when he can't sidle up to the boardroom table. Looks like Michelinie didn't want to prolong this latest crisis for Tony and even has him getting back to (sort of) normal by the end of the issue. The really amazing thing is that Michelinie adds a new character to the origin of Iron Man—Joanna Nivena, Tony's previously unmentioned fiancee—and also incorporates the previous new details he added to the retcon, namely Tony meeting Rhodey in IM #144. Joanna's presence in the story gives Tony a foil for his shifting mental state as well as inspiring him to use his armor to be a hero. Nice move, as this helped Tony back then and remembering it helps Tony now. Maybe we didn't need to see his months of recuperation when it only mirrors what we see back then.

Cutest Moment: Shellhead carrying the briefcase on his back as he flies out to the yacht. Dumbest Moment: Shellhead flying out to the yacht prepared to stash the armor in the briefcase under the assumption that no one could possibly see him arrive by air and figure out his secret identity.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #244 Synopsis by T Vernon
Tony Stark, paralyzed from the waist down, is released from the hospital. He is in a silent and bitter mood as James Rhodes and Mrs. Arbogast have to help him to a meeting with the board. He reacts angrily to the awkwardness of the wheelchair for getting close to the table and snarls at Mrs A when she offers to get him coffee. He wants to show the world he is not helpless....

At Roxxon Corporation headquarters, Jonas Hale plots to take advantage of Tony's helplessness....

Tony reads about a suspicious explosion at Barstow Electronics and is frustrated that he can't investigate as Iron Man. And Rhodey still does not want to get back into the armor. Later, a lonely Tony calls Brie Daniels but she declines awkwardly, not wanting the negative publicity. Rhodey meanwhile meets with Clay Wilson, the former Force, and offers him the black Iron Man armor to help stop the bad guys....

Late that night, the Fixer breaks into another Stark company and finds himself facing a dark Iron Man and a well-armed Rhodey. They stop the Fixer from sabotaging anything but the villain gets away....

Tony stops by Rae Lacoste's salon and proposes they go out. When she pleads an appointment with Michael Jackson, Tony is crushed, but she changes her mind when she sees how much it means to him....

The next day, Stark Enterprises is attacked by the Fixer, with a jet pack and some heavier weaponry, to take out the Power Activator. Rhodey, Clay (as Iron Man), and security guards battle the baddie and Tony feels useless....

At the hospital for physical therapy Tony meets a man in an iron lung who is in a happy mood. Later, the incident causes Tony to recall a time many years ago, when at an auction aboard a yacht he ran into Joanna Nivena, which caused him to recall an even earlier time in his life. After his experience in Vietnam and becoming Iron Man, he returned to America and was met by his fiancee Joanna—but he wouldn't allow him to hug her lest she feel the metal chest plate keeping him alive. For some time after that he held everyone at a distance, the loneliness and boredom driving him to despair—until he hit upon the idea of the Human Machine. He recreated the Iron Man armor and put on demonstrations for the press, advertising a version available to consumers. When a bunch of crooks broke into the Stark plant, Tony quickly donned the armor and subdued them....

Joanna Nivena confronted Tony demanding to know what his problem is—so he told her and everything was settled between them. Terrorists invaded a tennis match they were attending and Joanna encouraged Tony to put on the armor so he did. He defeated the bad guys, smothering their bomb and the crowd cheered for him. Later Tony told Joanna he had found his purpose—but she realized she could not marry a man who would never be there for her so she sacrificed her love for him so he can fulfill his purpose....

And “now” they have met again at the yacht-board auction. When her husband arrives, he bids her farewell and gives her the painting they had been competing for in the auction....

These memories encourage him not to give up so he disappears into his lab creating a new Iron Man armor.... Shortly thereafter, the Fixer arrives to destroy Stark Enterprises in a flying battle tank. It is more than a match for Clay and Rhodey, not to mention the security guards—until the new Iron Man arrives and knocks the thing out of the sky in seconds with a combination of moves. Later Tony tells Rhodey that he has solved one problem but having to be handicapped Tony Stark will be harder....

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Bob Layton
Bob Layton
Paul Becton
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Janice Chiang.
Editor: Howard Mackie.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes


Plus: Fixer, Force, Jonas Hale, Mrs. Arbogast, Rae LaCoste, Roxxon Corporation.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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