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Invincible Iron Man #81: Review

Jul 2004
John Jackson Miller, Philip Tan

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Story Name:

The Deep End [Part Three]: Baptism of Fire!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #81 Review by (April 30, 2021)
Comments: The new polymer tiled armor was introduced in issue #71. There’s a joke about ISHTAR, a notorious movie flop from 1987; GIGLI (2003) is also mentioned, another flop. And a joke reference to the detective series COLUMBO.

Review: The art improves mainly by having the burning Ishtar to draw and let me tell you she looks hot. Not in the beauty sense (although she is quite shapely) but in having an inner heat glowing through her skin that almost rises from the printed page. An impressive looking baddie goes a long way in a comic book. Anyway, the story is pretty good and the dirty faces aren’t as distracting, since the imprisoned soldiers likely have dirty faces. Anyway, this tale keeps getting better once we’re past the verbose exposition that takes up most of the first two issues. And now…more complications courtesy of Force….


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #81 Synopsis by T Vernon
Layla reviews her life: studying science in Baghdad when, on her 18th birthday, her Kurdish parents were killed by Saddam Hussein’s bombs. On her 21st birthday, her husband and children were killed by Saddam Hussein’s bombs. On her 22nd birthday, she tried to kill herself by walking into a river of acid…and she was reborn as Ishtar….

And now, Ishtar faces Iron Man and wrecks his armor in seconds, ruining the new polymer tiled version, and her men overwhelm and capture the soldiers in the convoy. Tony wakes up a prisoner and Ishtar/Leyla explains that she is also Saddam’s agent known as Vitriol, making weapons for him until he started using them against her own people, the Kurds, and she blames the Americans for not doing more to save them. She reveals her goal is to drive the Americans and Iraqis out of Kurdish territory and has him put with the other prisoners. The kidnapped archaeologist, Rob Schweiger, explains that Ishtar is using a biological second skin to allow her to live with the bioweapon as an outer coating. They deduce that Ishtar is going to put the bioweapon in the rivers where it will wipe out the Iraqis downriver. The soldiers organize an escape but the men are caught—then Force arrives to take down the terrorists. And when they are out of danger, Force punches Tony Stark in the face as part of his simmering hate….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Philip Tan
Philip Tan
Chris García
Adi Granov (Cover Penciler)
Adi Granov (Cover Inker)
Adi Granov (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Randy Gentile.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Force.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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