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Invincible Iron Man #31: Review

Nov 1970
Allyn Brodsky, Don Heck

Story Name:

Anything For the Cause

Review & Comments

3 stars

Invincible Iron Man #31 Review by (March 19, 2013)
Review: Weak issue seems like a rehash of previous elements. Stark plant polluting the atmosphere? Issue #25. On a tropical island where opposition is led by a distinguished local man? Issue #14. A rabble rouser turning peaceful protests violent? Issue #27. The only thing missing is an interesting centerpiece. There is no equivalent to the battle with Subby or a powerful villain like Night Phantom or Firebrand. Shellhead just battles a cadre of thugs in paramilitary uniforms (with a badly drawn hammer for an insignia) who are no more threatening than a biker gang without motorcycles. One highlight: it isn’t clear who the mastermind will be, with the finger pointing to both Kathy ffoulkes and her father; having Kathy be the bad guy would have been a cool twist. Kevin would have been even better but as a whodunit, this isn’t particularly well constructed.

Comments: First appearance of Kevin O’Brien, who will be a regular character until issue #46. Fun Fact: this is the tenth cover in the series where we see only the back of Iron Man’s head.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #31 Synopsis by T Vernon
On the tropical paradise of Lakani, Stark Industries has constructed a factory powered by an atomic reactor. A large number of locals are led in protest by retired British soldier Major Hubert Ffoulkes, who warns of the pollution, destruction, and danger this act of rampant corporate greed will bring. Tony Stark steps forward at the meeting to address their concerns but a gang of uniformed thugs called the Smashers, led by the brutish Bullwhip Grogan, start tearing up the room, leading to a bloody riot. Kevin O’Brien, a Stark employee, leads the guards against the hooligans, using a handheld stun ray he has invented. Tony dashes off and reappears as Iron Man, driving off the Smashers. When the dust has settled, Iron Man commends Kevin for his quick thinking but Kevin’s girlfriend, Kathy Ffoulkes, thinks that guards overreacted and walks out when Kevin defends them….
Meanwhile, the Smashers are contacted by their masked leader who rebukes Grogan and outlines a better plan….
Later Tony Stark meets with Kevin and they chat about research matters; Tony offers Kevin a position at his New York lab. Elated, Kevin rushes to tell Kathy, who accuses him of selling out. The next morning, Tony inspects the plant and manager Bowers calls Kevin a trouble-maker. When word comes that the protesters are back, Bowers orders the guards to drive them off—but Tony has a better idea. He invites the crowd in to tell them of his concern for the environment and his plans to create more efficient, cleaner energy sources. While the debate between Tony and Ffoulkes rages, Bullwhip Grogan sneaks into the plant and attaches a time bomb to the reactor. He is caught by Kevin and Kathy but the Smashers take them hostage. Outside a copter flies overhead dropping leaflets warning of the imminent explosion of the reactor. As Ffoulkes and the protesters storm out, Tony dons his Iron Man armor and investigates the helicopter. Seeing Kevin and Kathy prisoners in the craft, Shellhead tears the tail off the copter and lowers it gently to the ground. Seizing Grogan and his masked leader, Iron Man takes them to the reactor and tells them they will remain until the bomb detonates; he will be protected by his armor but the baddies…. The leader knows he is bluffing but the panicked Grogan removes and disarms the explosive. Iron Man marches them outside where he has them explain their dirty scheme to Ffoulkes and the crowd, then unmasks the mastermind as manager Bowers, who drummed up the phony pollution crisis to cover his embezzlement of company funds. Iron Man warns Ffoulkes about the dangers of extremism and heads for home.

Don Heck
Chic Stone
Sal Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Sal Buscema (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Jean Simek.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Kevin O'Brien.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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