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Invincible Iron Man #322: Review

Nov 1995
Terry Kavanagh, Jim Cheung

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Story Name:

The Darkest Page to Turn

Review & Comments

3 stars

Invincible Iron Man #322 Review by (April 18, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

In #324 it is suggested that Stark deliberately let Marianne retain her telepathy, and it becomes significant to the plot because she is able to read things from Stark's memories. In that issue she tells the Avengers that Tony wasn't yet corrupted by Kang when he was a teenager. My reading of events also has it that she discovered at least some of the Kang/Stark plot of the crossover, and told Masque behind the scenes, which is why Masque escaped to warn the Avengers in Iron Man #323 and Avengers #393. As I explained last issue, I don't think Masque knew anything to start with. But I must say that Masque doesn't exactly tell the Avengers anything when she reaches them. Wasp discovered Stark was her financial attacker (although we didn't) in Avengers #391. It is probable that that scene should be considered as happening a lot closer to this issue. But apart from making the Avengers a bit unhappy with Stark here and in the next issue, this financial betrayal plays no part in the Crossing plot. No reason is ever given for it, and I think it is forgotten about. Stark's will in Iron Man #327 leaves Wasp some money to finance the Avengers with, but doesn't mention making restitution for bankrupting her. Black Widow answers Hawkeye's call for help in Force Works #18, the next issue in the crossover.

This issue of the Crossing crossover follows directly from War Machine #20. The blonde vision is a teenage version of Crystal and Quicksilver's daughter Luna, who has been appearing throughout the crossover. I am in no doubt that this is the version who is working with the villains, although secretly (and ineffectually) trying to alert the Avengers. (See my comments on Avengers: The Crossing about the possibility of 2 different teenage Luna's.) Iron Man says it is 3 days since Bethany followed him to New York for Avengers #392. This is not unreasonable, as Force Works #17 happened the day following Avengers #392 and Iron Man #321. This issue could be the day after that. Bethany's trashed apartment is never explained, or even ever mentioned again. Did Iron Man wreck it in his blackout? If so, why? Did Masque kidnap Bethany and use her ID to fly to New York? Bethany isn't seen again until after the crossover in #327-329. The subject of where she has been is never raised.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #322 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from WAR MACHINE (1994) #20.

Tony visits his parents grave, where he is confronted by another appearance of the blonde from his vision in #320. She claims she has been trying to make him aware of what is happening to him, but he slips into another blackout, as he has been doing in recent issues of this crossover.

When he awakens he is in his armour in the wrecked apartment of his security chief and lover Bethany Cabe, but no sign of her. Interrogating Stark Enterprises database he discovers that Bethany followed him to New York when he went to Avengers mansion in Avengers #392 and Iron Man #321. He guesses she was 'curious' about what he was doing, but doesn't seem worried by that. He jumps (or at least takes a long step) to the conclusion she is missing.

We discover what happened after the end of #321, after Masque stopped Marianne Rodgers from killing Stark. Tony fastened a psionic baffler on Marianne, inhibiting her telekinesis, but leaving her with her telepathy. Iron Man took her and Masque to his Arctic bunker, and left them there with Machinesmith. He is there to guard them. But the sentient robot may also be a prisoner, after he guessed too much of Stark's intentions in #320.

There is also the question of the 'dead' Giant-Man in that issue. Iron Man muses to himself that he has since learnt that Giant-Man wasn't dead at all, and surmises it was an illusion caused by Marianne. But that doesn't tally with the fact that Giant-Man was unconscious. But more importantly it ignores the fact that Iron Man left the mansion without doing anything about his supposedly dead, or even just unconscious, comrade.

Marianne, although calmed down from last issue, repeats her assertion that she went mad because of the darkness she telepathically saw in her then-boyfriend Tony's mind (way back in issues before #52).

There is a door in the bunker that looks to me like the one in the Avengers basement. Marianne tries to open it, with painful results. I'm not sure whether the door caused her pain, or if it was the psionic baffler stopping her using telekinesis. Also I don't think this door is really like the Avengers' door. #324 suggests to me that it just leads to a secret control room.

Iron Man returns to Avengers mansion, ostensibly to follow Bethany's trail, in time to see the impregnable door in the basement open, and Neut step through it, the man who killed Gilgamesh in Avengers #391.

Neut styles himself Master of Arms, master of a millennium of fighting skills. He also claims to have trained Iron Man, although Stark doesn't recognise him. Presumably Neut trained Iron Man during his blackouts, which have presumably been going on for years. (Like since before #52.)

They fight, with Iron Man on the losing side, until Stark uses his remote-controlled gauntlet to take Neut's staff back through the door, correctly surmising that it is a power source. Neut congratulates him and quits the field of battle.

Iron Man staggers to the Van Dyne mansion, where the Avengers are camping out while their mansion is out-of-bounds. But Jan throws him out because he caused her bankruptcy, which Stark confusedly denies. His old butler Jarvis is the only one who fully believes him, and dejected Tony leaves.

Meanwhile U.S.Agent and War Machine are hiding out in an abandoned desert airstrip with Hawkeye, after rescuing him from Force Works in War Machine #20. Hawkeye is suspected of killing Marilla and Rita DeMara in Avengers: The Crossing. They reluctantly suspect Stark of framing Hawkeye, and contact the Avengers' leader Black Widow for help.

The Crossing continues in FORCE WORKS #18.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Jim Cheung
Mark McKenna
John Kalisz
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Mark McKenna (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Phil Felix.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Pietro Maximoff)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Luna, Machinesmith, Marianne Rodgers, Masque, Neut.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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