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Invincible Iron Man #321: Review

Oct 1995
Terry Kavanagh, Marcos Tetelli

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Review & Comments

3 stars

Invincible Iron Man #321 Review by (April 11, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

Marianne's claim means that Stark's mind has been corrupted by Kang since before #52. This fits with Kang's non-specific claim in Avengers #395 that he has been controlling Iron Man for a long time. But it jars with Immortus's version of what really happened in this Crossing crossover. In Avengers Forever #8 he says that he and his Space Phantom's played Kang and his minions, and that his influence over Iron Man only started during the Galactic Storm crossover. I'm pretty certain Marianne isn't a lying Space Phantom. On the other hand she *is* crazy. But the Avengers obviously believe her because in Avengers: Timeslide they go all the way back to 19 years old to get an uncorrupted Tony Stark. Ignoring the Avengers Forever retcon, 'when' is Kang supposed to have entered Stark's mind? I don't think we are supposed to believe (one of) the (alternate) Kang's we met previously was influencing Stark all along. Instead I believe a later Kang went back and took control. How did he do this without splitting off an alternate reality. One answer is the secret history approach. Marvel reality always had Stark under Kang's control, we just didn't know about it. An alternative approach is to borrow another bit of Avengers Forever. The Forever Crystal that allows Immortus to change history without causing alternate realities was part of Kang's citadel of Chronopolis. Maybe Kang has learned to control some of its functions. I will reuse this idea in Force Works #19. The crossover immediately continues in Force Works #17.

This issue immediately follows Avengers #392. Giant-Man and others have probably been attacking the door since Avengers #391. The mystery blonde that Hercules and Tony remember was a future teenage version of Quicksilver and Crystal's daughter Luna. There is probably an editorial mistake here, in that Hercules couldn't remember the messenger in Avengers: The Crossing, and the full memory only returns to him when he sees her again in Avengers #394. How did Marianne get from California to New York in a patient's smock and no money or cards. One possibility is that Masque brought her, since Masque was at least present when Marianne broke out of mental hospital, and may have helped her escape. Much later in Avengers v3 #32 it will be claimed that Masque was an amnesiac clone of Madame Masque, who was just trying to get close to Tony Stark because of her vague memories of Madame Masque's love for him. As such I would guess at this point she doesn't know anything about the Crossing plot, and only learns about part of it later from Stark's mind via Marianne's telepathy.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #321 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from AVENGERS #392.

It is a week after the deaths of Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara) and Marilla in Avengers: the Crossing, and Gilgamesh in Avengers #391. Iron Man and Giant-Man are trying to breach the baffling door in the basement of the abandoned Avengers mansion. The door through which Gilgamesh's killer Neut escaped. But it is resisting their attempts as it has all previous ones.

Giant-Man has a tapping headache, and finds it difficult to change size. This is probably supposed to be door-related, and possibly connected to Scarlet Witch's headaches in Force Works. But nothing more is made of this.

Suzi Endo arrives in L.A. for the new job Tony Stark hired her for in Force Works #16. A woman is following her, an alternate future version of herself.

Stark asks Moonraker (the mysterious addition to Force Works in #16, whom everyone treats as if he has been a member for a long time) to prepare the team for a meeting the next day, when Stark will introduce someone to them. This someone is Suzi Endo, but it will be the alternate copy who turns up in Force Works #17.

He also phones the Avengers at their temporary home at the Van Dyne estate, and tells Hercules of the lack of progress with the door. Hercules mentions the warnings he got from a mysterious blonde girl in Avengers: The Crossing. This reminds Stark of the blonde who appeared to him with a cryptic message in the blackout at the end of last issue.

Stark works on salvaging information from a damaged security tape, which should show Marilla's murderer. The semi-clear version we see plainly indicates that Iron Man himself was Marilla's murderer. When he finally gets the image clear enough to be certain, his reaction shows that he didn't know he'd done it. He has another blackout, which seems to wipe the memory from his brain again.

When he recovers he finds Giant-Man's dead body, before being attacked by Marianne Rodgers, who escaped from Stark's private mental institution last issue. Marianne claims her mental breakdown was caused by her telepathic access to the 'black stain' in Tony's mind. Masque pops up, having witnessed Marianne's escape last issue, and tasers Marianne to stop her killing Stark.

Giant-Man wakes up alive, and alone in the mansion.

The Crossing continues in FORCE WORKS #17.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Marcos Tetelli
Mark McKenna
Ian Laughlin
Alex Maleev (Cover Penciler)
Alex Maleev (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Phil Felix.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Cybermancer, Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Marianne Rodgers, Masque, Moonraker, Suzi Endo.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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