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Invincible Iron Man #15: Review

Apr 1999
Roger Stern, Sean Chen

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Story Name:

Exploded View

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #15 Review by (December 17, 2019)
Comments: An exploded view is a diagram which spaces out the parts to show their relationship to one another; in the title, it’s just a pun. First appearance of Dr. Glenda Sandoval, who will be in the next few issues and become a recurring character in WAR MACHINE (2009 series). Volcanologist Ramona Napier, last seen in issue #5, will be in the next two issues as well. Nitro was introduced in CAPTAIN MARVEL #34 where he exposed Mar-Vell to a nerve gas which caused the hero’s cancer that ultimately killed him (THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL); as if that weren’t enough he'll also cause the explosion in Stamford, Connecticut that touches off the CIVIL WAR event. Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern co-plotted this issue. Sean Chen and Salvador Larroca co-penciled; five inkers are credited: Eric Cannon, Lary Stucker, Mark Morales, Harry Candelario, Scott Koblish with two colorists, Steve Oliff and Kevin Somers. Now that was a team effort.

Review: That didn’t take long. Big crisis! Tony Stark’s armor is killing him! He may have to give up being Iron Man! And two issues later, everything is okay again. Wonder how Roger Stern talked his plotting partner into casually tossing out a heavy plot point like that? Oh well, it’s atoned for by pitting our hero against Nitro, one of those bad guys who is truly dangerous, though he doesn’t seem to give Shellhead trouble for long. Iron Man can access his databases and learn all of his foe’s weak spots and turn them against him. Turning the villain’s power against him is a pretty clever idea, even if it looks a bit too easy. Oh, and the art changes to a more cartoonish form just as the big battle begins for a jarring effect.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #15 Synopsis by T Vernon
Iron Man is testing out the new armor he designed which should eliminate the electrical problems that have been plaguing him since issue #12; the test takes the form of playing Tag with a barrage of smart missiles. He heads back to Seattle, unaware that on the street below is the villain Nitro, who blows open a paperbox to steal a newspaper informing him that Tony Stark will be at the reception for the new youth center. Back at the base, Tony is given a clean bill of health by Jane Foster and Hank Pym. He tries to call Carol Danvers to see how she is doing but she isn’t home. He needs a date for the reception but doesn’t think Rumiko Fujikawa wants to hear from him; Ramona Napier can’t make it either. Pepper Potts eagerly volunteers….

In London, James Rhodes is shot at by a gunman on a bicycle; he is wounded but a struggle for the gun leaves the hit man dead. He drags himself to the home of old friend Dr. Glenda Sandoval….

At the reception, there are some problems: the caterer is late with the refreshments, the proposed design of the youth center is criticized and Tony himself attracts some hostility from the crowd. Outside, Nitro blows up Tony’s limo; the sound makes him rush out to investigate while Happy Hogan has to calm the unruly crowd. Tony dons the new armor (stored in the car’s trunk but it can fly out to meet Tony on command) and faces the bad guy. Nitro surprises Shellhead by blowing up and reforming; he’s been hired to kill Tony Stark. Iron Man mentions that Nitro is the one who killed Captain Marvel; the villain didn’t know this and he’s pleased to find out. Nitro keeps the hero off balance by blowing up the buildings around him—until Shellhead detects a frequency pulse a split-second before each explosion. By duplicating that signal, he is able to trigger Nitro’s blasts against the bad guy’s wishes, knocking him around and finally knocking him out. Tony returns to the reception to find everyone gone, evacuated by the police when the violence started. But Happy was able to win the crowd over with a persuasive speech….

Epilogue: In an Asian curio store, Billy Yuan has his eye on a jade dragon statue—unaware that a sleeping Fin Fang Foom has his eye on him….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Sean Chen
Eric Cannon
Steve Oliff
Sean Chen (Cover Penciler)
Plot: . Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Bobbie Chase. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes

Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Glenda Sandoval, Nitro.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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