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Invincible Iron Man #325: Review

Feb 1996
Dan Abnett, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

Face to Face

Review & Comments

3 stars

Invincible Iron Man #325 Review by (January 18, 2011)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

In Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective we were told that Kang's empire spans a range of time and a span of alternate realities. It has borders with other time/reality 'countries', and these groups are continually fighting over the borders. Now we are to understand that an enemy has overrun Kang's empire from the future direction. According to Avengers #393 his control has been shrunk to a small area of time/reality. A comment in Force Works #18 suggests that timewise he is limited to somewhen around 2009, which is supported in general by more comments in FW#21/22. This might explain why he needs some form of time portal to get to the current 1996. This may be part of the large area of time the enemy has cut him off from. It doesn't explain why he doesn't just execute his plan in 2009. Various issues have presented different statements of Kang's intentions in this crossover. But the consensus is that he wants to create an army of super-being Anachronauts. The chronographic weapon should mutate many Earth people into such beings, as a side-effect of taking Earth out of its own reality. Possibly this shift will also hide Earth from the enemy? The Crossing continues in Avengers #395.

This issue continues the Crossing crossover from Avengers: Timeslide. Young Tony Stark has obviously been brought from an alternate timeline to the one where he grows up to be Iron Man. Presumably the act of going back in time to get him caused the divergence of realities. The Avengers expect young Tony to understand the work of his older self. When this technology is not only state of the art for the current Marvel universe, but also enhanced by Kang-tech from the future. No pressure! In the end it seems young Tony didn't help by defeating Stark's advanced technology, but by having the same fingerprints and figuring out his password. Presumably he did get the password by hacking Stark's database. Parenthetically, the password 'Malory' continues Stark's obsession with Arthuriana, after the computer programs 'Siege Perilous' and 'Mordred' in Force Works #19 and War Machine #22.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #325 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from AVENGERS: TIMESLIDE.

19 year old Tony Stark has been brought forward in time by the Avengers, in Avengers: Timeslide, to help them fight the current Tony who is under the control of Kang. In Avengers #394 the Avengers ran out of geniuses to pit against Stark's technology. So they sent for the young version, before Kang got to his mind. They hope he can counter Stark's technology. Hawkeye and Masque have taken him to Stark's home and private workshop in L.A.

In Kang's Chronopolis Kang and Tobias are sparring with some of the Anachronaut army. Kang is unhappy with Tobias for allowing the Avengers to get young Tony. If he makes another mistake Kang will kill him, despite Tobias being his son and heir. The Anachronauts in this issue are Kang's generic army, not Apocryphus, Deathunt 9000, or any of the other Anachronauts from the Citizen Kang crossover.

Meanwhile Mantis tells her son, Tobias's twin Malachi, how she met Kang. And how he took her in after the Avengers let her birthright as Celestial Madonna be taken from her. Mantis gave birth to the Celestial Messiah, but his Cotati family took her from him, and more significantly wouldn't allow her access in West Coast Avengers #39. Later appearances had Mantis trying to find the Cotati. The Crossing has escalated this into a hatred of the Cotati (as seen in Avengers #392) and of the Avengers themselves.

Kang's empire has been taken from him by 'the dark one' from the future. They are making their last stand here, where Stark's chronographic weapon will 'cauterize the timeline'. Earth's civilisation will fall, and humans will mutate into Kang's Anachronaut army.

Mantis uses a temportal to visit the 'real' Tony Stark, hiding in the control centre of his Arctic base turned fortress.

In Avengers mansion Giant-Man and Vision discover the door in the basement has gone as if it had never been. The door was used by at least one of Kang's men, but the Avengers themselves couldn't get it open. In Avengers #394 the dying teenage Luna told them it was a time portal, and that she'd hidden the combination in Hercules' mind. They used it in Avengers: Timeslide to fetch teenage Tony from the past. It isn't clear why the door has now vanished.

Crystal and Quicksilver are still worried about their missing little daughter Luna, especially after seeing the teenage version die. Their supposed future son Tuc took little Luna away for her safety in Avengers #393.

Captain America gathers them all together, along with Black Widow, Hercules and the mutated Wasp, to leave for Stark's Arctic base, because young Tony has found a way in. However their way is blocked by Henry Gyrich and an army of Mandroids, because of the devastation caused by the Avengers' attack on their own mansion in Avengers: Timeslide.

Hawkeye, Masque and young Tony have already reached the base. Hawkeye sends their hex ship to draw the fortress's fire. Tony gets them access with his biometric readings and his guess at Stark's password 'Malory'. Masque defeats the guardian Machinesmith, and frees Marianne Rodgers from her psionic inhibiter.

Stark left robot Machinesmith to guard Marianne Rodgers and Masque in the Arctic base in Iron Man #322. He fastened a psionic inhibiter to Marianne to prevent her using her telekinesis (but not her telepathy). Masque escaped in Iron Man #323 to tell the Avengers about the base in Avengers #393. Masque couldn't remove the psionic inhibiter then. I guess she uses a device provided by young Tony to do it now.

The team enter a room full of Iron Man armours. Telepath Marianne realises one of them is the real Iron Man, but he renders them all unconcious. Apart from young Tony who has donned one of the suits, which doesn't match any known Iron Man armour. But the inexperienced youth is no match for the older Iron Man.

Older Stark is shocked when he unmasks his opponent. And he can't stand the sight of the uncorrupted person he used to be.

Century returns to Avengers mansion from the timestream, where we left him in Avengers: Timeslide. After they went through the basement door/time portal, Century used his staff Parallax to direct the Avengers to when they wanted to go, but didn't go with them. It is unclear why he returns at this time.

He teleports the Avengers away from the mandroids to the Arctic base. They break in just in time to see Iron Man rip young Tony's heart out.

Crystal freezes young Tony to stop him from dying. Iron Man is taken through the temportal, to be replaced by Kang, Mantis, Malachi, Tobias and the Anachronaut army.

This leg of the Crossing continues in AVENGERS #395.

Jim Cheung
Mark McKenna
John Kalisz
Jim Calafiore (Cover Penciler)
Jim Calafiore (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Brad Joyce.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Kang the Conqueror)

(Pietro Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Anachronauts, Apocryphus, Century, Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Machinesmith, Mandroids, Marianne Rodgers, Masque, Space Phantoms.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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