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Invincible Iron Man #16: Review

Aug 2009
Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

World's Most Wanted Part 9: Titan of the Nuclear Age

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #16 Review by (May 30, 2012)
This is part 9 of the year-long story behind Iron Man's absemce from most of Dark Reign.

A brief run down of the history of Tony and Pepper's relationship.

Pepper Potts was introduced way back in Tales of Suspense #45 as Tony's secretary. She was romantically pursued by Stark's chauffeur/bodyguard Happy Hogan, but had eyes only for her boss. Tony usually seemed oblivious to her infatuation, except for #55. But in the very next issue we get the seeds of a then-typical Stan Lee setup. Tony loved Pepper too, but pushed her away into the arms of Happy because of his dodgy heart. Pepper and Happy married in #91

Happy and Pepper quit Stark International in Iron Man #88, and bought a ranch and adopted a child. They popped up again very occasionally, but didn't return full time to Tony's life until the v3 Heroes Return series. At this time they were divorced. But it's not long before they remarried. However Happy died in v4 #14 during Civil War.

After that Pepper ran The Order for Stark. And then rejoined his firm for this v5 series. Where their mutual attraction has been gradually growing.

The Official Index says Tony flies off in a Model 4 armour, like the one he left with Crimson Dynamo in #14. He could have found another copy of that armour in the base, but the points over the eyes of the helmet suggest to me it's a Model 2, the first 'form-fitting' armour he donned in ToS#48. This would continue the trend for ever-older armours, which will culminate in #18.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #16 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Madame Masque has Tony Stark and Pepper Potts captive in Tony's base under the Tunguska crater in Russia. The insanely jealous Whitney Frost wants Tony to say he loves her, despite her scarred face. Tony tells her that he did love her, after she was disfigured, a long time ago. Whitney latches on to this, and starts making plans for the two of them to go on the run together. His mind crippled by the process that is slowly destroying it will be a perfect fit with her ravaged face.

Meanwhile the separated parts of Pepper's Rescue armour have powered up, and its AI JARVIS starts to walk the body over towards the head. Whitney is too busy trying her concealing mask on Tony's face to notice.

Maria Hill and Black Widow are catching their breath in the latter's apartment (probably another one after her cover was blown in the apartment they met in last issue). Maria can't get over having been controlled by the Controller in #12-13. Natasha isn't sure she can trust her in that state.

In the commandeered Avengers Tower, Norman Osborn is trying and failing to make his Iron Patriot armour work as well as an Iron Man suit. He is also trying not to worry about the fact that Madame Masque has broken contact with him.

Madame Masque does spot the Rescue armour as JARVIS fits the head back on. Tony struggles to stop Whitney shooting Pepper as JARVIS starts cutting her bonds. Whitney overpowers him and holds her gun to his head. She offers to let Pepper go free if Tony will choose herself over the other woman. But Tony's blunted mind can only blurt out that it was always Pepper that he loved.

Whitney shoots at some explosives and sets the base on fire. Freed Pepper runs to injured Tony, but Masque attacks her until JARVIS/Rescue pulls her off.

Tony wants Pepper to escape. But Pepper reminds him that the contents of his brain mustn't fall into the hands of Masque and Osborn. This time he must flee, and leave her to deal with Masque. Pepper seals the deal with a kiss.

While the Rescue suit holds Masque at bay, Pepper helps Tony into an old Iron Man suit. Tony leaves, as the Rescue suit runs out of power, and Whitney and Pepper fight hand-to-hand.

The Widow is also concerned about the hard drive that Hill wants to deliver to Bucky Barnes. She'd rather know what was on it before going any further. So she photographs it and goes to see an underground specialist called Chen. But Chen tells her he wouldn't be able to access such Stark tech.

After she leaves Chen reports her to HAMMER, who are looking for anyone asking about Stark tech.

And Tony curses himself as he flies to Afghanistan.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank D'Armata
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Warren Simons.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Norman Osborn, Whitney Frost.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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