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Invincible Iron Man #32: Review

Dec 1970
Allyn Brodsky, George Tuska

Story Name:

Beware the Mechanoid

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #32 Review by (March 27, 2013)
Review: I’m always a sucker for a comic story that relegates the hero to a supporting role while focusing on the human drama of the incidental characters. I’m also fond of stories with an unusual structure. This one clicks on both counts though one is more successful than the other. The introduction of the four main characters (Iron Man, Mechanoid, Belinda, crooks) are separate and the threads of the story slowly tie up to bring them all together in the fateful climax and the effect is quite impressive. On the other hand, the page count doesn’t leave much space for the story, and the Belinda/Mike romance comes off a bit rushed and implausible (really, she falls for a guy she met only 15 minutes ago?). Yet stretching the story to two issues would have diffused the tension quite a bit, so it would have been awkward either way. The most notable aspect of the issue, especially for 1970? The fact that both Belinda and “Mike” are African-American. It was rare then (and not so common now) for race to be completely irrelevant to the story or the character. Nothing in the issue required them to be of any particular race, civil rights do not enter into the story at any point, they don’t speak in the jive patois favored by middle-aged white writers when supplying dialogue for supposedly hip black characters (check out the early issue of Luke Cage for some absurd examples. Sweet Christmas!). They are people first and other factors are unimportant—so I didn’t mention it until now. Cool move on Marvel’s part.

The starship really does look like a star ship—and its technology is compatible with Tony’s; maybe INDEPENDENCE DAY wasn’t so silly after all. The big unanswered question is: what happened to the starship after the Mechanoid was destroyed? We can only assume that it was recalled to its homeworld by remote control.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #32 Synopsis by T Vernon
One night in New York: Tony Stark is in his lab running tests on his armor…in the inner city, Belinda Thompkins has a fight with her boyfriend and drives off angrily into the night…in space, a metallic figure scouts Earth from an advanced starship…a pair of convicts, Baldy and Rasko, escape from prison and make their getaway in a stolen car.
Tony dons his armor and flies high into the sky for further maintenance tests; he spies the star-shaped craft and goes to investigate. The craft’s pilot detects the intruder and fires a rho beam which immobilizes the Armored Avenger…police spot the stolen car and pursue the two escaped convicts…Iron Man fakes unconsciousness and is drawn aboard the ship where he is greeted by an android who is scouting Earth for colonization… Belinda Thompkins has second thoughts about her breakup but decides to stick with it and keep driving…Iron Man attempts to blast Mechanoid Scout MK-5 but his repulsor rays do not work. MK-5 explains that he has been dispatched by the Masters to investigate the planet as a possible trading colony; all contact would be peaceful yet Iron Man attacked him—why? Nevertheless, if the decision is against further contact, the hero will be forced to return to the alien homeworld, since he has seen too much…as the two convicts head unwittingly toward a police roadblock, MK-5 descends to the highway to “thumb a lift” to understand Earth technology better…Iron Man plugs his radio jack into a socket on the alien ship; the sudden influx of power pushes him out of the force field and through the wall of the ship…unable to attract a ride because of his unusual appearance, the Mechanoid alters his form to that of a handsome young man—and he is picked up by Belinda Thompkins…further along the same highway, Baldy and Rasko try to run the police roadblock and crash their car…Iron Man, searching for the android, comes upon the flaming wreckage and is informed by a State Trooper of the fugitives…the crooks stop the car carrying Belinda and “Mike” and force them to take them along. MK-5, moved by human feelings for the first time, squeezes Belinda’s hand to comfort her. Iron Man, flying overhead, tunes in on the android’s electronic signal and quickly identifies the car. As he swoops down, he is spotted by the crooks, who fire on him. The hero sends a jarring but harmless electric jolt through the car forcing the inhabitants out. Baldy holds the young couple at gunpoint as hostages but MK-5 refuses to see Belinda threatened any longer. The hoods shoot him but he overpowers them. He then confesses to Belinda his true nature and tells her he is pleased to have met her. The Mechanoid then walks off a few paces and implodes. As the police collect the convicts, Iron Man stands by Belinda as she mourns….

George Tuska
Mike Esposito
Marie Severin (Cover Penciler)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
Marie Severin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Jean Simek.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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