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Invincible Iron Man #1: Review

Nov 1996
Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio

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Story Name:

Heart of the Matter

Review & Comments

3 stars

Invincible Iron Man #1 Review by (July 16, 2019)
Oops! These comments were T Vernon's but I accidentally added them as mine (the default).

Review: Ah, Heroes Reborn! Marvel's ill-advised project of outsourcing four of their flagship titles to former staff (Iron Man and Fantastic Four to Jim Lee and Avengers and Captain America to Rob Liefeld). Things just got weird and it ended after 13 issues of each series—and Liefeld being fired in the middle of the run. So, what was Iron Man like? Well, the oddest aspect is that it was a relaunch of the Hulk at the same time. And while Stan Lee in ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS states that Hulk was a combination of FRANKENSTEIN and DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE, here they add a big dose of KING KONG with the relationship between Hulk and “Liz” Ross, though I will admit that having her be security chief makes more sense than “daughter of the General” as a reason for her to be at the bomb site. Sadly, the art is the typical 1990s junk, with absurdly bulky bodies and ugly faces with ugly hair styles and I was wondering why Jim Lee couldn't be drawing this rather than co-writing it; at least it isn't Rob Liefeld with an added profusion of pouches and leather. But what of Iron Man? Oddly, this version makes Tony Stark into a four-star absolute b@st@rd, possibly the most obnoxious character in all of Marvel—and this without the handicap of liquor. This guy's character arc looks like it's going to swing through the universe.
Big Question: Why does Leonard Samson look like the Phantom of the Opera on his first appearance?

Comments: First appearances of Iron Man/Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Hulk, Happy Hogan, Liz (Betty) Ross, Jasper Sitwell, Leonard Samson, Jennifer Walters, Pepper Potts, Madame Hydra. Origins of both Iron Man and Hulk.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #1 Synopsis by Kevin Hollander
Many years ago, one of Tony Stark’s closest friends – Connor "Rebel" O’Reilly – was accidentally killed during a trial run of Stark’s experimental Prometheus armor. This incident turns Stark into a shallow individual obsessed with money. Years later he is tried and acquitted for corporate espionage and insider trading. Much of the credit goes to the testimony of Dr. Leonard Samson – noted psychiatrist – and Jennifer Walters, his high-priced attorney. Neither are particularly happy about his acquittal.

During a party following the verdict, Pepper Potts publicly confronts Stark about his behavior. Their interaction is capped off with Pepper throwing a drink in his face. She is soon fired. Elsewhere Liz Ross - head of security at Stark International - receives a message that there is trouble at the Buffalo annex. She and Bruce Banner - one of Tony's employees - leave to investigate. Once they arrive, Banner knocks her unconscious and is revealed to be working with the terrorist group known as Hydra.

Banner is overcome with guilt at creating the gamma bomb for the military through Stark International. He naively believes that the terrorist group Hydra will help him dismantle the bomb. He soon finds out that Hydra is more interested in detonating it than dismantling it. When he tries to stop him, he in rendered unconscious as well.

Hydra locks him inside the test chamber, disable all the fail-safes, and begin the countdown. Both Ross and Banner awaken and realize that they can't stop the bomb. Banner realizes the grim situation he has created and has only one option remaining. Despite Betty's pleas, Banner lowers the chamber into a silo that runs 13 miles toward the center of the earth. He hopes that 13 miles of rock will absorb the excess gamma radiation and save an estimated 12 million people on the eastern seaboard. After he descends the silo doors are closed. Moments later the gamma bomb detonates.

Stark is eventually informed of the activity at the annex and decides to investigate. Jasper Sitwell - government liason to S.I. tries to talk him out of it, but can't change his mind. Pepper's comments have caused him to reflect on his behavior and he decides to take a more active role in his company. Stark arrives in Buffalo by helicopter to investigate and discovers a large crater 10 miles from the facility. When they arrive they discover a massive green-skinned creature roaming around the plant. The "hulking mass of gamma radiation" throws a giant boulder at the helicopter, causing it to crash. The Hulk then begins to search for his missing "friend".

Stark and Sitwell survive the crash, but the pilot does not. Sitwell states that he's near death and Stark has more pressing concerns pointing out the shrapnel embedded in Stark's abdomen. Stark wanders into the plant that he shut down years ago to hopefully find a way to save his life. He reminds himself why he closed the plant in the first place - this was where Rebel died. He then makes his way toward the Promethus armor – which is part mobile life support system – to stay alive. 

Elsewhere Hulk has found Liz Ross and is trying to comfort her. Jasper Sitwell - whose intentionally deceived Stark about his condition - finds them and watches from a distance. He then watches as the Hulk is introduced to the newly reactivated Promethus armor, unaware that Stark is inside it.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Whilce Portacio
Scott Williams
Joe Chiodo
Letterer: Comicraft.
Editor: Mike Heisler.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doc Samson
Doc Samson

(Leonard Samson)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jennifer Walters)

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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