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Invincible Iron Man #8: Review

Jun 2017
Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #8 Review by (July 1, 2017)
Carolyn Trainer took on the name Dr Octopus (in a flashback in Spider-Man Unlimited #18, but 1st published app Amazing SM #405) after Otto Octavius was killed (Spectacular SM #221). She helped the Hand resurrect him in ASM#428 and then retired until Nick Fury's Secret War.

In Secret War Lucia Von Bardas enhanced many tech-villains including Trainer, who then took the name Lady Octopus because Otto was back in business. Since then she's been seen a few times, lastly in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe.

Making sense of Karadick:- He's been working here with Bardas since #6, but in Infamous IM #5 he was arrested by SHIELD. If that story happened 1st, maybe SHIELD couldn't hold him for diplomatic reasons. Alternatively this story could happen before Inf#5 which was when Maria Hill was still in charge of SHIELD, so Sharon Carter would be subordinate to *her* here (rather than to Steve Rogers).

It may also be relevant that Ironheart is in Latveria also in Inf#8-9. She goes there off her own bat to confront Dr Doom about 'pretending' to be Iron Man, and then delivers him to Carter at SHIELD in Inf#9. Carter remembers Riri disapproving of SHIELD at a previous meeting, which could be our #5 and or here in #8.

If I choose to put this story before Inf#5 then the sequence for the relevant issues has to be #5, #6-8 Inf#5 Inf#8-9. In Inf#9 Sharon is then presumably referring to our #8.

If I put this story after Inf#5 then there are several possibilities for the sequence. As a mathematician I'm attracted to the uniqueness of the other solution, as well as getting rid of the question of why Karadick is free. (But the whole thing may be thrown in the air again depending what happens to him in the rest of this story arc.)

The chosen solution forces Ironheart to fight von Bardas (#8) before meeting Doom (Inf#8-9). This makes sense in 1 way because SHIELD Agents don't recognise her in #8 but Carter says capturing Doom in Inf#9 will make Ironheart famous. (But a point in our recent issues is that she's already become well-known.) However there's an argument against this order too - Inf#8 says it's the 1st time Riri's heard of Iron Doom's activities. But we know she assiduously follows the news so it would make more sense the earlier it was in her career, ie at least having Inf#8-9 before our #6-8. (It can't go before #5 or Carter wouldn't have a previous meet to refer to.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue starts with a flashback to Riri Williams' early Elementary Schooling. She tells her teacher she wants to be a scientist when she grows up, but is disappointed when the teacher doesn't try to steer her towards more 'appropriate' careers. She wanted to be inspired to prove her wrong like her heroine Mae Jemison the 1st female African-American astronaut. The teacher thinks about it and says "You'll never be Tony Stark". Riri determinedly returns to her technical drawing, while the rest of the class are drawing cartoon animals.

Now Ironheart is where we left her at the end of last issue flying towards the explosion at the Smithsonian Museum. But on the way the Tony Stark AI in her suit is more interested in trying to persuade her to watch the Freaks And Geeks TV show. When she gets there Nick Fury Jr and loads of SHIELD Agents try to keep her out and ask her to remove her armour. But a phone call from inside changes their minds.

Inside Riri finds SHIELD Commander Sharon Carter alone and unharmed. (When she realised the man, Geraldo Lucky, talking to her last issue was going to explode she got everybody else out of the building, and her tux has its own forcefield.) Carter warns her about dropping in on terrorist crime scenes like that - people don't yet know who she is and whether she can be trusted. But since she's here Ironheart can scan the place for stuff. (Well, her AI does it.)

Another flashback takes us to when Riri was 11. She rings up Kennedy Space Center to ask about the age requirements for astronaut training. The woman on the other end of the line patronisingly says she has to be old enough to have a relevant college degree and be able to pass a physical test. Riri says she's already at MIT so she'll call again when she gets her degree. (11 is a few years earlier than I understood she got in there.)

Now we don't learn anything about the scan but pick up with the 2 females leaving the building. Sharon has just asked Riri to do something else. She says she trusts the teen because SHIELD has been monitoring her since before kindergarten - as a super-genius they had to be sure she wasn't turning evil. The good news is that she wasn't. Riri of course is angry about being spied on. Carter tells her to wise up.

Inside the iron armour Riri asks the AI what Carter wants with her. (It becomes clear that Sharon asked her to to go after Lucia Von Bardas, who Mr Lucky said last issue had sent him.) Tony guesses that SHIELD can't officially attack Von Bardas in Latveria without more proof, but Ironheart would be a deniable loose cannon. And that's what Carter says when asked.

She adds that it's only luck that no-one apart from Mr Lucky was hurt. If *some* of the attendees at the gala benefit had been killed it might have started World War III. And she doesn't know what Von Bardas will do next.

As if to underscore the point the crowd is attacked by Lady Octopus. Ironheart engages her in battle. She's not doing very well when she belatedly realises an obvious tactic and electrocutes the villainess through 1 of her metal arms. Finishing off with a repulsor blast. As SHIELD prepare to take her away Octopus confesses that Von Bardas paid her to do this.

3rd flashback 2 years ago. Riri's friend Natalie Washington brings her a birthday present, despite the fact that Riri doesn't *do* birthdays. She's wangled Riri a phone call with Mae Jemison. (This has to be not long before Nat was killed.)

Now in Latveria Lucia Von Bardas and General Karadick are monitoring the news  hoping to hear who they've killed. But SHIELD have kept a lid on all info until now when it is announced that Sub-Director Sharon Carter prevented any casualties. Lucia's displeasure is increased when Ironheart accosts her.

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Marte Gracia
Stefano Caselli (Cover Penciler)
Stefano Caselli (Cover Inker)
Marte Gracia (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: General Karadick, Ironheart (Riri Williams), Lady Octopus, Lucia von Bardas, Natalie Washington, Nick Fury Jr. (Marcus Johnson), Tony Stark AI.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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