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Invincible Iron Man #263: Review

Dec 1990
John Byrne, John Romita Jr.

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Story Name:

Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make...

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #263 Review by (February 13, 2018)
Comments: Armor Wars II: Part VI of IX. Title comes from a poem by Richard Lovelace; the line continues “...nor iron bars a cage,” meaning it takes more than physical constraints to imprison one's mind or soul. Living Laser returns in issues #286-289.

Review: Finally John Romita Jr catches a break! He was at his best drawing the Mandarin/Fin Fang Foom portions and the Living Laser plot but not so much the regular Iron Man bits. Well, here he has an issue that is almost all FFF or LL and everything works out just fine. The “baddies take control of Tony Stark's body” plot is dragging a little and we have just learned where the Fin Fang Foom plot is heading but it still seems to be taking its time to get there. Still, John Byrne's run continues to thrill if a bit slowly.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #263 Synopsis by T Vernon
Image from Invincible Iron Man #263
The Chinese army is dispatched to investigate eerie rumors in a remote part of the country. They are attacked and wiped out by the revived Fin Fang Foom. This tableau is observed by the Mandarin and Chen Hsu, the former impatient at the lessons the wizard is trying to draw for him. Pausing briefly to turn a refugee to glass, Mandarin sees FFF return from his romp to menace Mandy and Chen Hsu—who blows a mouthful of smoke into the dragon's face, putting him to sleep once more until they are ready to use him to create a new dynasty in China....

Tony Stark, his body controlled remotely by bad guys, is getting used to overriding that control by a mentally activated Iron Man armor. Elsewhere, Kearson DeWitt demands of his staff that they regain control of Stark's body, or else. When James Rhodes (“Rhodey”) removes the armor's right arm for examination, the baddies take control of Tony's real arm and use it punch Rhodey in the head. Tony and Rhodey quickly force the metal arm back on and regain control. Then an alarm goes off, indicating that the Living Laser has returned (he left in #260) to kill his arch-enemy. Iron Man faces him but his servos are too slow and LL fuses the repulsor circuits in one of his gloves. Shellhead is quickly at the villain's mercy when Wonder Man and Hank Pym arrive, summoned by Rhodey, and snatch the hero away. Wonder Man attacks the villain wielding a mirrored shield and the two mix it up for a couple of pages. Then Iron Man returns and uses his working repulsor to break the Laser up into particles and diffuse them through the universe, not killing him but slowing him down for a few issues. He thanks Wonder Man and Hank Pym and they head back to West Coast Avengers HQ, leaving Iron Man to wonder when he can safely appear in public again....

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay
Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

John Romita Jr.
Bob Wiacek
Paul Becton
John Romita Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Bob Wiacek (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Michael Heisler.
Editor: Howard Mackie.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes


Plus: Chen Hsu, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Kearson DeWitt.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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