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Invincible Iron Man #23: Review

Oct 2007
Charles Knauf, Butch Guice

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Story Name:

Haunted, part 3

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #23 Review by (December 23, 2015)
Butch Guice takes over as artist from Roberto de la Torre again for this issue and next, after doing the World War Hulk issues #19-20. Val Cooper is a government official who's always been concerned about superhumans, especially mutants. She started off in the NSA in Uncanny X-Men #176 just before Secret Wars II. Then she joined the Commission on Superhuman Activities running Freedom Force and recruiting John Walker as the replacement Captain America. Lately she's been Deputy Director of O*N*E. Ray Sikorski 1st appeared as Henry Gyrich's replacement as Avengers liaison with the government in Av#235. He too joined the CSA, and was last seen working for them in Thunderbolts. Doc Samson is a gamma-irradiated psychiatrist who was obviously originally a character in Hulk. He's here fresh from his successful treatment of Penance (Speedball) in Thunderbolts #117-121. The euphemism of having his crated-up 'car' which was actually his armour delivered to him was used in the early issues of this series when Tony Stark was supposedly no longer Iron Man, and before Extremis made his armour part of him plus bits in a briefcase. The 'classic car' here means a pre-Extremis armour that the ankle device won't stop him using. In the early issues it seemed likely Mrs Rennie didn't know what she was sending. Here I think she does. Paragon stays dead after this, but Graviton will eventually resurface in Secret Avengers and Avengers World as 1 of the ruling council of AIM, without I believe any explanation of how he survived this issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #23 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Nebraska Initiative team member Paragon is fighting Tem Borjigin in the Prometheus building. Cooper Roth's beef is that the Prometheus CEO has failed his promise to cure his mother, despite Coop doing everything Tem wanted. Borjigin fights back, and we see Mandarin's Rings embedded in his spine. Then he affects Roth's mind and convinces him that it was Graviton who killed his mother.

In the SHIELD helicarrier above Omaha Director Tony Stark has accessed the raw data about missing persons in Nebraska and come to the same conclusion dead Gadget had - that there were a lot more than normal this year. Deputy Director Maria Hill's worry about him increases when he loses it over this.

Superman-like Paragon invades the helicarrier and reaches Graviton's hospital bed, accusing him of murder. Graviton fights back and counter-claims (correctly) that Paragon killed his Initiative partner Gadget. Then Graviton murders Roth the same way - crushing him to a dense ball. Iron Man arrives too late and berates the villain for killing the only person who could clear him of Gadget's murder. But Graviton responds that he wouldn't be allowed to live long himself now, and commits suicide with a microgravity pulse to the brain.

SHIELD Director Stark has to report all this to the Commission on Superhuman Activities, including Val Cooper and Ray Sikorsky, with Norman Osborn sitting in for the Thunderbolts. They are sceptical of his claims, especially his theory that there is an unknown mastermind behind it all.

Tem Borjigin brings Maya Hansen data indicating the genetic sequence that allows some to survive Extremis. He claims that it has been deduced from computer simulations rather than the illegal human experiments she doesn't know about.

The CSA meet with Defence Secretary Kooning where Val Cooper suggests that it would be unwise to dismiss Tony Stark's theory out of hand. But Kooning brings in Maria Hill to testify to Stark's current instability. The Commission decides that Graviton killed Gadget and Paragon had a breakdown. They order Stark to drop the case, and the helicarrier to leave Nebraska (which is what Borjigin wants).

Stark finds Leonard (Doc) Samson in his office. The psychiatrist believes Tony's theory, but he also believes a claim that Graviton made last issue that IM is seeing ghosts. He asks Shellhead to remove his helmet, and we see an unkempt Tony Stark inside - he hasn't taken the armour off for a week.

Under a provision of the Superhuman Registration Act Samson relieves Stark of his duties for 2 weeks and schedules him with regular assessment and counselling sessions. He also gives him an adamantium ankle device to cancel his Extremis powers so he can't use his (current) armour.

Maya is relieved when the helicarrier leaves - the near presence of Tony Stark was unsettling her, interfering with her work. She agrees to develop an aerosol version of Extremis using some tech she developed for Stark's company.

Tony rings his secretary Mrs Rennie in Stark Tower and asks her to send his 'classic car' to Omaha, and to tell anyone who asks that he's on a long vacation in an out-of-the-way place.

Story #2


Penciler: Butch Guice. Inker: Butch Guice. Colorist: Dean White.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

By None

Story #3


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

By None

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Butch Guice
Butch Guice
Dean White
Gerald Parel (Cover Penciler)
Gerald Parel (Cover Inker)
Gerald Parel (Cover Colorist)


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