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Invincible Iron Man #21: Review

Oct 2007
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Story Name:


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3 stars


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #21 Synopsis by None

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Story #2

Haunted, part 1

Writer: Charles Knauf. Penciler: Roberto de la Torre. Inker: Roberto de la Torre. Colorist: Dean White. Cover Penciler: Gerald Parel. Cover Inker: Gerald Parel. Cover Colorist: Gerald Parel.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Gadget and Paragon of the unnamed Nebraska Initiative team investigate a possible break-in at a water pumping station. Gadget detects a heat signature and finds Graviton lying behind some machinery, and Paragon comes to join her. The villain says cryptically "I am not the 1 behind the machine. The machine is behind you." Then there are screams and an explosion.

In Stark Tower Tony Stark falls asleep at his computer and dreams he is attacked by the ghost of Captain America who tells him "The writing is Malukkian". He wakes to see the image he'd been studying of writing on a wall (seen in the Mongolian An Ho prison/hospital that SHIELD invaded in #17). And the only person on Earth who understands Malukkian is the Mandarin.

Stark takes his worries to Secretary of Defense Kooning, who quite rightly objects that Mandarin is dead. Tony counters that Mandarin's body was never found, and An Ho's records indicate that they gained an unknown inmate soon after, with no hands. (Mandarin disappeared in Iron Man (1999) #10 and his severed hands, complete with power rings, surfaced in #53.)

In previous issues of this series we saw Najeeb searching for objects which SHIELD has reason to believe were Mandarin's rings. Stark proposes a theory that Najeeb took the rings to their owner hoping to forge an alliance. But Mandarin killed Najeeb, and used Najeeb's underling Darius Faraz as a front to organise the enhanced terrorists that SHIELD has been fighting in recent issues. But Kooning points out that they have captured Faraz since #18 and he's confessed to being the man behind it all.

Stark has 1 further theory, that the terrorists were a distraction. What Mandarin really wanted was Maya Hansen (missing since #18) and the secret of Extremis. But it turns out Maya has just been found a suicide confirmed by fingerprints and dental records - they're still awaiting a DNA check.

Then they get alerted to the Nebraska problem, and Tony heads over to the SHIELD helicarrier as Iron Man. Where he learns from Dum-Dum Dugan and Maria Hill that Graviton had escaped or been sprung while being transferred from a prison hospital. Now he's back in hospital, as is Paragon. Gadget's body hasn't been found yet. Lucy Cervantes was a young girl who had written to Stark demonstrating an engineering aptitude and had made it onto the Initiative program.

Iron Man heads to the hospital where he meets up with team leader Captain Ultra (Griffin Gogol) who is overly sensitive to criticism. The old hero is cheesed off about being posted to the back of beyond where all their callouts turn out to be false alarms, including 2 previous calls to the pumping station. If he'd know this 1 was going to be different he'd have handled it personally.

Paragon (Cooper Roth) has regained consciousness and tells them what happened. Graviton enclosed Gadget in a forcefield and squeezed. Then there was an explosion. Iron Man prompts him to recount the exact wording of Graviton's earlier statements.

Stark calls Dugan and tells him to organise a scan of the site for an extremely dense object. They find Gadget's body compressed into a small ball. Then he imagines Lucy asking him "Who's behind the machine?"

Back in SHIELD Tony authorises Graviton to be brought to the helicarrier for questioning.

Meaanwhile in the Nebraska site of Prometheus Gentech Inc we see that Maya Hansen is very much alive. She is worried about Stark and SHIELD being nearby but CEO Tem Borjigin tells her not to worry, and to continue with her Extremis research. He doesn't tell her about the bodies in cabinets in the basement.

Story #3


Colorist: Dean White.

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Story #4


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