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Invincible Iron Man #254: Review

Mar 1990
Bob Layton, Bob Layton

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Story Name:

Graduation Day

Review & Comments

4 stars

Invincible Iron Man #254 Review by (December 12, 2017)
Comments: First appearance of Nathan Lemon, the second Spymaster; the original was killed by the Ghost in issue #220. Joke: a kid asks for a Zsa Zsa Gabor action doll; Ms Gabor was a classy celebrity whose only superpowers were attracting wealthy husbands and making herself famous for no clear reason. The issue ends with the announcement of the return of John Romita Jr and the start of Armor Wars II; the former had to be postponed to issue #256, the latter to #258.

Review: Santa Claus shooting Iron Man? Nice cover, if not exactly in the holiday spirit. Nevertheless, this is a pretty cool issue, showing the contest to replace a deceased villain—even if it's one nobody cares about, like Spymaster. At least it looks like this SpyGuy will have some characterization—even if that characterization is pretty much “totally ruthless.” And a comic book fight that ends non-violently? Iron Man just giving him what he wants and telling him to go away? That works too and they even tie it into the overall theme of the issue. And between these epic events were kept up to date on the subplot involving Madame Masque. I hope that last one goes somewhere and soon.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #254 Synopsis by T Vernon
Christmas Eve: Searching for the killer of his beloved Whitney Frost, Iron Man invades a secret Maggia warehouse, taking on all of the baddies within. They call out a giant robot called the Persuader and Shellhead turns it to junk with a single repulsor blast. He captures a thug but the guy won't reveal where Madame Masque is....

At Taskmaster's school, one of five candidates for an important position is killed when he fails a test; turns out that one of his competitors had sabotaged his gun. Later, the sole female candidate is killed by a bomb blast in her room. Then the remaining three men are equipped with blinders and have to fight to the death barehanded. The ruthless one who has already caused the deaths of two candidates, easily bests the last two. As his reward he becomes the new Spymaster for Justin Hammer...but there is one more test: retrieve a certain object from Stark Enterprises' annual Christmas charity party....

All is going well at the party when a kid notices that Santa Claus is packing a gun. Santa unmasks as the Spymaster and holds a kid hostage. Tony dons the armor and Iron Man crashes up through the floor and carries the baddie into the sky. Spymaster claps a de-stabilizer to Iron Man's armor, forcing him to lose control. As the spy heads for his objective (on skis yet) Rhodey opens fire on him yet Spymaster still overcomes Rhodey. He attacks Shellhead with electrified nunchuks knocking him into the ski jump which starts to collapse on the children. Iron Man manages to hold it up long enough for the kids to get to safety and he confronts his foe. Spymaster reveals that all he has come for is the angel ornament from the top of the Christmas tree. Puzzled, Iron Man hands it over (in the spirit of the season) and the villain leaves.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Bob Layton
Bob Layton
Paul Becton
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Janice Chiang.
Editor: Howard Mackie.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes


Plus: Maggia, Marcy Pearson, Mrs. Arbogast, Rae LaCoste, Spymaster (Nathan Lemon).

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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