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Invincible Iron Man #3: Review

Jul 1968
Archie Goodwin, Johnny Craig

Story Name:

My Friend, My Foe: the Freak

Review & Comments

3 stars

Invincible Iron Man #3 Review by (September 5, 2012)
Review: Him again? This story seems like a rehash of previous tale with more King Kong added to the mix (and less actual Freak). At least it isn’t dragged out over three issues this time (actually one and couple of pages). The most significant part of the issue is Tony’s keeping up with the latest technology, swapping out his transistors for integrated circuits (actually invented in 1959 but who’s counting?). And we’re seeing some of new writer Archie Goodwin’s emphases for the series: Tony becoming a brooding guilt-ridden hero (a la Spider-Man, but without the wisecracks) and more emphasis on Tony’s bad heart. Well and good but if every story is going to generate its most intense drama from Tony having chest pains at the wrong time (as at the beginning of this issue), this series will quickly become monotonous.

Comments: First appearance of Tony’s new secretary, Miss Greer. One of the fan letters is from Walt Simonson, future writer/artist best known for his run on Thor.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #3 Synopsis by T Vernon
Iron Man is on his way back to the Stark facility after his battle with the Demolisher last issue. He stops by the site where they are readying the launch of Tony Stark’s Uranus-12 rocket, hoping to take his mind off the guilt he feels about Janice Cord and his indirect responsibility for her father’s death (also last issue). An explosion suddenly rocks the construction site and the hero swoops down to support the weight of the falling rocket while others rescue trapped and injured workers. His power severely depleted from the recent battle, Iron Man strains to hold up the heavy rocket, putting a great deal of stress on his weak heart. When he is able to release his burden, he manages to leap out of the way with difficulty and make it back to the office. There he encounters Jasper Sitwell and Whitney Frost (secretly the Big M, head of the Maggia, hoping to spy out Tony Stark’s weapons secrets) but Iron Man can’t stop to talk, he must head directly to the lab and recharge his chestplate. Tony realizes that his current armor can no longer keep him alive, so he secludes himself in the lab, cutting himself off from the outside world, to design a new, more powerful pacemaker….
In New Jersey, newlyweds Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts read the speculation about Tony’s troubles in the newspaper and rush over to Stark labs, just as Tony realizes he does not have the strength to build the new armor which replaces the transistors with integrated circuits. When he hears over the intercom that Happy has arrived, he asks that his friend be sent in alone. Under Tony’s direction, Happy constructs the new Iron Man armor which includes a permanent thermocouple, allowing him to draw energy from intense heat or cold to prevent further power loss. Creating the copper fusion to make the thermocouple requires the use of the dangerous Cobalt-Bombarder. As they are about to use this device, Tony suffers a seizure, leading Happy to bypass safety procedures to generate a single massive burst of energy. The treatment is a success and Happy rushes to put the new armor on the unconscious Tony—but exposure to the Bombarder turns Happy into the Freak once again (it happened before in TALES OF SUSPENSE #74-76). The monster hurls Iron Man across the room and crashes out of the lab; spotting Pepper and dimly recognizing her as his beloved, the Freak carries her off past the guards and out into the nearby woods. Pepper, no fool, realizes that the Freak must be her husband Happy. Meanwhile, Iron Man, fully powered by the fire in his lab, pursues his quarry to a construction site, where the monster is mounting the girders with his captive clutched under an arm. The massive mutant fights off Iron Man with his enhanced strength though the hero can’t respond in kind for fear of injuring his friend. On the ground, Shellhead makes plans with the police, then goes into action. He carries Pepper down from the building, leading the Freak to follow him, and lures his friend/foe into the back of a van where he is gassed. The unconscious Freak is taken to Stark Industries where the Enervator will return him to normal—as Iron Man broods over the tragedies he brings to his friends.

Johnny Craig
Johnny Craig
Johnny Craig (Cover Penciler)
Johnny Craig (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Art Simek.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Freak (Happy Hogan), Jasper Sitwell, Whitney Frost.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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