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Invincible Iron Man #16: Review

Oct 2013
Kieron Gillen, Carlo Pagulayan

Story Name:

The secret origin of Tony Stark: The best offense part four

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Invincible Iron Man #16 Review by (October 5, 2013)
Death's Head supposedly fell to his death in #14, but I'd think it would take more than a very long drop to kill the large robot. So Iron Nan has just left him behind in the Godkiller. We can now construct a sequence for Iron Man's space adventures. He leaves for space at the end of #5, but immediately meets Guardians of the Galaxy near Earth in GoG#1 and has the adventure in their #1-3. Then we can put the whole of IM#6-15 and the beginning of this issue as a solo jaunt. GoG#4 is a standalone tale but we can put it in the 3 month gap mentioned her along with GoG#5-6 and however few issues he will remain with the group. Also in there will be the recent Avengers stories where he is participating in a (very) remote-controlled armour. Possibly some of the New Avengers issues fall into this category too. But after this storyline concludes next issue he will presumably segue into NAv#8 and Infinity. (We still have next issue and at least 1 more GoG to explain Stark's memory in NAv#8 of the body of the Living Tribunal.) Inside Godkiller Tony's wearing the Earth-style armour he donned last issue. Then with the Guardians he's back in his space armour. Then he reaches Earth in his ground armour again. The guests at the party definitely include James Rhodes and Thor. But I'd also suggest Captain America and hovering Wasp, and some Fraction-era employees like Mrs Arbogast and Carson Wyche. (Pepper's affair with him must be over.) Will next issue explain why 451's plan didn't work?

There's another possible place for IM's meeting (from New Avengers #8) with Watcher and Living (dead?) Tribunal on the Moon - The Infinite comic series IM: Fatal Frontier. It does take place on the Moon, but so far there's no hint it will get as cosmic as the Living Tribunal.

I assumed here that Iron Man quits the Guardians before the Infinity event. Since then GoG#7 has shown him arriving in the Solar System with them some time before Infinity. Then GoG#8 has the Guardians without IM, coming back from deep space for Infinity proper. That all fits together. However in GoG#8 they consider picking up IM, but get involved with the action straight away. This allows the possibility that IM doesn't completely resign until *after* Infinity.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Invincible Iron Man #16 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We learn from Recorder 451's memories that it was witnessing the genocide of a peaceful race by the Skrulls that set him on his path to make a better universe. That path led him to interfere in the birth of Tony Stark, to make him a suitable pilot for the Godkiller. Now that his plan has failed, 451's only redeeming option was to send the giant Godkiller out of this universe, with himself and Stark aboard.

The robotic 451 has now committed suicide, and is deleting his databases (which is a neat trick if you can do it after you're dead). The Godkiller is building up a space-time distortion to exit the universe, with the obligatory countdown clock. Iron Man understandably wants to escape, but only 451 knew the code to get the Godkiller to let him out.

Tony gets his armour's AI PEPPER to fly him and 451's body to where his Armoury is parked in Godkiller's 'mouth'. There the intelligent vehicle/workshop starts to hack its way into 451's system. But PEPPER works out they don't have anywhere near enough time for that.

Stark suddenly has an idea. He flies 451 to Death's Head's ship nearby, and gets that to continue the cyber-invasion. Tony remembers how the robot bounty hunter was evasive (in #9) about where he got his advanced tech from. He now gambles that Death's Head got it from 451 as part of the price for delivering Stark to him. He's right, and 451's own tech is able to extract the required info from 451's brain.

Iron Man with 451's body and the Armoury are able to escape the Godkiller just as it pops out of our ken. And Tony gets PEPPER to contact the Guardians of the Galaxy to pick them up.

3 months later Tony is saying goodbye to the Guardians to return to Earth. It seems he hasn't told them about the 'secret origin' part of his 451 adventure. He flies back home in the Armoury, with the body of 451.

Back on Earth IM's priorities are a pizza, then contacting Pepper Potts. Pepper immediately claims there's a crisis he needs to deal with. When he gets home he finds that the 'crisis' is a hurriedly-arranged birthday party.

After changing out of his armour, Tony meets Pepper's new fiancé Marc. But Stark ducks out of the party to go to the family vault where he searches through lots of old documents. Then he suits up again and flies off to investigate his suspicions about what really happened when his parents let 451 genetically modify him.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Carlo Pagulayan
Scott Hanna
Greg Land (Cover Penciler)
Greg Land (Cover Inker)
Guru-eFX (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Drax the Destroyer)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes

Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

(Peter Quill)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Carson Wyche, Marc Kumar/Liar, Mrs. Arbogast, Recorder 451.

> Invincible Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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