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Invincible Iron Man (1968 series) #258

July 1990
John Byrne

Story Name:

Lo, a Spectral Enemy Rises...

Reviews & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

By T Vernon on January 10, 2018

Comments: Armor Wars II: Part I of IX. First appearance of Kearson DeWitt, despite Wikipedia claiming it is in ANNUAL #13. That unusual title is not a quotation from another source; kudos to John Byrne—it's a clue to the identity of the real villain: the title's initials spell out LASER.

Review: Man, that cover as a cheat, wasn't it? Anyway. I've never been a big fan of John Romita Jr.'s style—too many thin lines—and especially not when he did Captain America in the 20-teens but here it suits the story, lending Iron Man a fragility that emphasizes the destruction around him. And now he is at the mercy of a baddie he thought he had killed (and actually had killed according to the dead man himself). Thrilling script with a number of nice effects makes for a good, if not great, story. And I wish John Byrne were drawing this instead of merely writing it. Sigh.


The next part is by Rob Johnson.

John Byrne builds this plotline around the chip that Tony had installed to enable him to walk again in the Michelinie&Layton-plotted #248. This builds on the back problems Stark mentioned when Bob Layton returned for #256.

Layton also wrote #254 which resurrected another MicheLayton subplot concerning the new Madame Masque. Byrne ignores that as will other writers until #320, and we won't get the official explanation for multiple MM's until Avengers (1998) #31-34.

But in 2013 M&L produced IM#258.1-258.4 which told the story it seems they had intended to write as a follow up to their run. It was presented as the start of an alternative timeline running in parallel to #258 and onwards.

Here the chip malfunctions and creates a digital Tony who becomes the main villain. Meanwhile the new Madame Masque turns out to be Rae Lacoste working for M&L's signature villain Justin Hammer.

This is like a What If story, but it's really "What If Michelinie and Layton hadn't left Iron Man". It isn't a timeline that branches from the beginning of #258 because it requires the past to be different. Rae would have been MM in some earlier apps, which the official explanation says isn't true. (Not that some actual What If stories don't suffer from the same problem.)




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man is battling a humongous robot in downtown New York. The robot seizes Iron Man and tosses him through buildings and slams him into the pavement; a second Iron Man appears to check on the injured one—and the robot smashes both of them with an enormous chunk of masonry. Iron Man rises and topples the robot, smashing it into the ground. Then we discover that this was a simulation in Stark's new testing lab, James Rhodes (Rhodey) was controlling the robot, and the other Iron Man was one designed by Tony to be remotely controlled....

Elsewhere, villain Kearson DeWitt is supervising a sinister plan: his scientists can monitor everything that goes on in Tony Stark's body (though not to the point of seeing through his eyes) via the microchip that enables him to walk, and, when the time is ready, seize control of it....

Tony Stark is alerted to a problem at his nuclear research facility (called Nuke U). Suiting up as Iron Man, he jets over there to find the staff fleeing in panic, talking about a huge ghost. Investigating, Shellhead is trapped by laser-cut pieces of machinery, trapping him in place—and then the building collapses on him. He escapes harm, having thrown up a repulsor ray shield. Sensors show that the number one reactor is building to a critical overload so he rushes to the site via the zoomway and discovers that the coolant lines have been cut. Shutting down the reactor, Iron Man hears the alarms from the number two reactor, also overloading. He hurries and shuts that one off and then heads toward number three—and then the building's reinforced shielding collapses on him. Trapped, he hears the villain taunting him as the area is filled with the mist of the boiling coolant—and the bad guy reveals himself as the ghost of Titanium Man....

Elektra

Story #2

Lo, A Spectral Enemy Rises..."

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

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John Byrne
John Romita Jr.
Bob Wiacek
Paul Becton
John Romita Jr. (Cover Penciler)
John Byrne (Cover Inker)
Howard Mackie

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

Plus: James Rhodes ((Rhodey), Kearson DeWitt, Living Laser, Mrs. Arbogast.