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Invincible Iron Man #44: Review

Jan 1972
Robert Kanigher, George Tuska

Story Name:

Weep For a Lost Nightmare

Review & Comments

2.5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #44 Review by (June 25, 2013)
Review/Commentary: In DAREDEVIL #82-83, running at this time, Mister Kline/the Assassin dispatches the Scorpion (later revealed to be a robot duplicate) to capture the Black Widow and use her as bait to trap DD. The fight ends with the Scorpion accidentally being pushed off a roof to his “death” and Natasha is arrested for his “murder.” Meanwhile, Foggy Nelson has attempted to kill Kline but in so doing he becomes the hypnotized pawn of the villain. As District Attorney, Foggy tries to railroad the Widow into jail while Matt Murdock serves as her defense. At night, DD heads to the morgue to examine the Scorpion’s body and is attacked by a robot double of Mister Hyde. Hyde sets off an explosive which destroys the two robotic baddies. With no corpse, the case against the Widow is thrown out. [Don’t worry, not one lick of this makes sense in the comic either.] This issue starts with Captain America, of all people, acting like a reckless hothead (wasn’t Hawkeye available?). The rest of it is a fight between Iron Man and a robot double of a villain who Kline is unlikely to have ever heard of. Gerry Conway must have missed him though. Or maybe he saw THE INVISIBLE MAN on TV the night before. Who knows. Anyway, really long fight scene. Which actually manages to reduce the stupidity factor, leaving only the stereotypical Irish cook (“Saints preserve us!”) and dumb romantic triangle to annoy us; fortunately both of those things occupy the same page and are gotten out of the way quickly. Biggest unanswered question: Why did they come up with a new story featuring Ant-Man, of all people, to fill nine pages?

Comments: The title goes to bimonthly publication with this issue. Kevin O’Brian’s name goes back to being spelled “O’Brien” with this issue. The second story is not a reprint but newly written for this issue. Spa Fon is an inside joke to the old EC Comics (as is the glimpse of an issue of MAD at the shop).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #44 Synopsis by T Vernon
The Guardsman (Kevin O’Brian in a borrowed armored costume) rushes the injured Iron Man to Avengers Mansion, seeking aid. On the way he scolds Marianne Rodgers who has been treating Iron Man as an enemy all along. She was confused by her visions of Iron Man bringing harm to her beloved Tony Stark. Captain America observes the trio on a view screen and jumps to the conclusion that Guardsman is a villain come to gloat over his defeat of the Golden Avenger. A fight breaks out that lasts a full page before Kevin can explain that he’s here to help, not harm, Iron Man. Cap apologizes (while Kevin is strangely amazed that he was able to fight Captain America—a hint of things to come) and Kevin goes to work repairing Tony’s pacemaker. Tony meanwhile is having a prescient nightmare that the Night Phantom (seen only in issue #14) has returned to plague him. Elsewhere, we learn that Mister Kline has used technology to plant the image of his former foe in Tony’s mind—to prepare the way for an attack by the Night Phantom in reality. Soon, Tony is recovering at home and Kevin leaves before working up the courage to tell Tony that he is in love with Marianne (while in the kitchen, Tony’s Irish cook Bridget is trying to scold Marianne into setting her sights on Kevin). The Night Phantom appears and scares Bridget into a stereotypical Irish reaction and seizes Marianne. The still-weak Tony crawls out of bed and dons the Iron Man armor and they bash each other violently for several pages until the hero blasts his foe with full Repulsor power. To his and Marianne’s horror, the Night Phantom rises again, its shattered midsection revealing that it is one of Mister Kline’s androids!

Story #2

Armageddon On Avenue "A"

Writer: Roy Thomas. Penciler: Ross Andru. Inker: Mike Esposito. Letterer: Jean Simek.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Perennial loser Wilbur Grabowski decides to burn down his failing candy store for the insurance. Ant-Man, passing by on his flying ant Spa Fon, detects some sort of psychic emanation coming from the store. Spa Fon is drawn in against his will and they are carried past Wilbur and beneath the floorboards. There, the diminutive hero discovers the Scarlet Beetle, thought to have been rendered powerless in TALES TO ASTONISH #39, gathering an army of insects from all over the city. The monstrous bug explains that his psychic powers returned spontaneously and now he can resume his plans to conquer the world. The villain quickly learns that Ant-Man’s enlarging gas and cybernetic helmet will not work for him—then the blaze upstairs terrifies the insect army and causes them to flee. In the confusion, Ant-Man breaks his bonds and contacts Spa Fon and the battle is carried up to the main floor. The faithful flying ant arrives and crawls up Wilbur’s leg, causing him to drop a gasoline can on the Scarlet Beetle, ending the menace forever. Wilbur rushes out of the burning building straight into the arms of the police. “Pity poor Wilbur Grabowski. Like we said before, he could never do anything right…except maybe save the world…!”

George Tuska
Vince Colletta
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Jean Simek.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Guardsman (Kevin O'Brien), Marianne Rodgers, Mister Kline, Scarlet Beetle.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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