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Invincible Iron Man #72: Review

Nov 2003
Robin Laws, Robert Teranishi

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Story Name:

Vegas Bleeds Neon Part Three

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #72 Review by (March 12, 2021)
Comments: There is no definite evidence that Howard Hughes was controlled by an alien nanoplasm in the real world so he had only himself to blame. And despite that ending, Marc Vicus and the nanoplasm have not appeared since (as of 2020). Three inkers worked on this issue: Eric Cannon, Rich Perrotta, and Norm Rapmund.

Review: And so this tale that started out as “Tony Stark, PI” ends as a straight-up science fiction story, with Tony having to outwit an alien nanoplasm and its human host to save the world from becoming the Borg. And Howard Hughes fits nicely into the tale as a role model then a cautionary lesson for Tony Stark. And it’s really cool that Tony doesn’t tomcat around, bedding Saige while Rumiko waits (maybe) for him at home. Neat touch, though I don’t know if it was a conscious decision but that last page matches the first scene of MELVIN AND HOWARD wherein Howard Hughes (maybe) is picked up by a driver and rewards him for it (allegedly—see the movie, or Google Melvin Dummar).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #72 Synopsis by T Vernon
Iron Man is infected with the alien nanoplasm. Saige Kaufman arrives and Mo Stanton, fully overwhelmed by the nanoplasm, asks to be killed to prevent a worse catastrophe. Tony refuses, hoping to get him cured. But first they must deal with Marc Vicus who is planning to infect all of Las Vegas with the alien stuff. Tony is becoming increasingly sicker from the alien presence, which can also tell that Tony would be a better host than Vicus for spreading its influence, namely, in New York….

Iron Man heads to Vicus’ hotel headquarters, realizing that the alien effect on him is similar to being drunk, and smashes through the skylight. As he lies there helplessly, the stuff tries to take over his mind, telling him how easy life will be when he gives in to it. When approached by Vicus’ henchmen, the stuff returns Tony’s motor control and he beats them all up and heads for a confrontation with the big boss. He finds Vicus sick in bed as a result of the nanoplasm and Vicus relates to Tony how Howard Hughes was infected like this when he found the UFO but resisted its influence, managing to contain the stuff by remaining a hermit in his Vegas penthouse. The nanoplasm starts to leave Vicus for Tony and the hero flies to the roof where a replica of Hughes’ famous plane is found to be full of the nanoplasm, ready to be sprayed over the city. Vicus, still infected fights with Iron Man in the air, taking them to the UFO crash site. Vicus absorbs all of the stuff and it makes him dry up and blow away. Tony uses his ablative tiles to neutralize the remaining nanoplasm and Saige helps him back to his feet. Tony convinces Mo Stanton to try for a cure rather than death and the writer agrees….

Four days later, Tony is fully recovered and declines a romantic interlude with Saige before heading home while talking himself out of going back and taking over Vicus’ casino and becoming another Howard Hughes….

Epilogue: A driver picks up a hitchhiker in the desert: Marc Vicus….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Robert Teranishi
Rich Perrotta
Tony Avina
Tony Harris (Cover Penciler)
Tony Harris (Cover Inker)
Tom Feister (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Randy Gentile.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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