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Invincible Iron Man #16: Review

May 1999
Roger Stern, Patrick Zircher

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Story Name:

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Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #16 Review by (December 24, 2019)
Comments: Part one of two parts. Title is a pun on scales, like on a dragon’s hide. Count Andreas Zorba was introduced in BLACK PANTHER #4 during the Jack Kirby run; he’ll show up again in issues #21-22. The discovery of King Hatap’s tomb took place in TALES OF SUSPENSE #44 wherein Shellhead met Cleopatra. Nefaria’s next appearance is in IRON MAN ANNUAL 1999. Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern co-plotted this issue. Patrick Zircher and Anthony Williams co-penciled; three inkers are credited: Andy Lanning, Larry Mahlsedt, Scott Koblish.

Review: Exciting tale of a mismatched pair in one body: the evil Fin Fang Foom and the easily suckered Billy spar while Shellhead tries to figure out what’s going on that he can’t see. It gets even better next issue. FFF stories are always fun though he may be getting a little overused but I know he’s the go-to guy when you want a gigantic monster in your comic. Added note: looking at the issue again, it seems to me that we weren’t supposed to know that was Fin Fang Foom until the last page reveal. I thought is was obvious which is the final proof that FFF is definitely overused.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #16 Synopsis by T Vernon
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, persuading him to steal the idol. Billy whose sister Anne lies in a coma after a heroin overdose, rationalizes the theft as enabling him to pay her medical bills….

Tony Stark is at the dedication of the Maria Stark Foundation’s funding of a major youth project; he turns the program over to Happy Hogan and has “Iron Man” (actually the remote-controlled armor) carry him away. Back at the office, Pepper Potts puts him on the phone to Count Andreas Zorba who wants Stark Solutions to help him find a lost treasure; Tony declines, angering Zorba who vows no good….

In a nearby alley, Billy finds that the serpent statue is alive and it bonds with him giving Fin Fang Foom control of his mind and body….

Former Stark employee Charlie Gray (the former Lucifer) is captured by baddies who take him to their boss (later revealed to be Count Nefaria) who drains Charlie of his energy, killing him….

Tony goes to dinner with Dr Ramona Napier who is thrilled to hear about all of Iron Man’s adventures; a TV report of a “large creature” attracts Tony’s attention and he makes his apologies to Ramona and skips out. Donning the armor, he heads into town where he finds Billy Yuan, now a huge dragon man, larger than the Hulk, tearing apart an ATM and taking the money. A brief exchange of blows convinces Iron Man that his foe is inexperienced at fighting—but then FFF takes over and he is suddenly very formidable, smashing Shellhead through the ground and into the sewer. There, a swarm of rats morphs into lizards which cover him. The battle with Billy continues and Iron Man bashes him straight up into the sky—where the dragon man sprouts wings. Iron Man knocks him out of the sky and out cold. As the police surround the monster’s body, a horde of lizards swarms out of the sewer and covers Billy—merging with him to reveal Fin Fang Foom….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Patrick Zircher
Andy Lanning
Steve Oliff
Sean Chen (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Bobbie Chase. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Andreas Zorba.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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