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Invincible Iron Man #53: Review

Jun 2002
Mike Grell, Ryan Odagawa

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Story Name:

Book of the Ten Rings

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #53 Review by (November 20, 2020)
Comments: First appearance of Tony Stark’s AI assistant Friday; in her introductory two-page spread, she mimics Sigmund Freud, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, and Alex from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, later Jessica Rabbit and Lauren Bacall. First appearance of Temugin who will be an ongoing enemy of Iron Man and the Agents of Atlas. Mandarin apparently died in IRON MAN Vol. 3 #10. Ayisha was just introduced in issue #50 and presumed dead.

Review: A nasty drug, the son of the Mandarin, and the return of Ayisha combine to make a great start to a story arc but we’ll have to see how these three disparate threats tie together before a final judgment. As usual there is a cool action scene: Shellhead’s destruction of the drug house is the one this time, ending with that suicide-turned-accidental-death, something not usually seen in a comic book.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #53 Synopsis by T Vernon
Iron Man invades a Chinatown drug house producing Sleeping Dragon, the latest designer drug to hit the streets. He demands to know who is behind all this but stopping the house manager from suicide results in his death from a faceful of his own drug….

Later, Tony has his new AI assistant Friday analyze the drug; it is a combination of other drugs that includes bursts of extreme violence in its withdrawal symptoms….

A Coast Guard team searches a Russian ship suspected of smuggling the drug into the US but they find nothing….

A dude coming off his Sleeping Dragon high slashes his girlfriend when he finds she’s taken some of his stash and when his dealer tries to jack up the price the junkie kills the man but he is then killed by a mystery figure with a mechanical hand….

In a remote Asian monastery, a young monk named Temugin excels at his studies to impress his teachers. He then receives a gift from a messenger, representing the unknown father who left him to the monastery to raise. The gift is from his late father: the hands of the Mandarin bearing the ten Rings of Power and his destiny is to destroy Iron Man….

In the Stark garage, Tony and Pepper Potts almost have a romantic moment but after she is gone, he is intercepted by the cyborg Ayisha Ashirov and she is angry….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Ryan Odagawa
Derek Fridolfs
Andy Troy
Michael Ryan (Cover Penciler)
Sean Parsons (Cover Inker)
Angelo Tsang (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Ayisha Ashirov, Friday (Friday Stark), Temugin.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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