Every Friday, I will review a classic comic from my personal collection.
Pulling from the archives, I yanked out Iron Man #69 from August of 1974. The bi-monthly comic had Mike Friedrich as the writer, while Goerge Tuska did the art. Legend Len Wein was also the EiC, and about to be seceded by Marv Wolfman in January of ’75 and go on to revitalize the X-Men. But that’s a different story. This issue also sported the Marvel Value Stamps. However, mine was cut out. 😦 Lame.
Well on with the story!
There honestly is not much happening with it. I feel bad for reviewing it, but it’s something I pulled out and was old. For what story there is, it starts off with Iron Man rocking his Mk IV armor, and going underwater to stop the Mandarin and rescue Sunfire. Mandarin has a base there (of course) and a battle ensues. What is really interesting during the battle is we get a close up of the Mandarin’s hands. With his rings providing his power, we actually see each individual ring – numbered. Then on the side, in the middle of a battle, there is a numbered definition to what each ring does. How about them apples? So in case you were wondering, on Mandarin’s let hand, 1 is Ice Blast, while 2 is the Mento-Intensifier (hypnosis), 3 is Electro-Blast. . . and so on. Just remember when Mandarin is giving you the middle finger from his right hand, he actually may be using his Vortex Beam, so watch out.
While Iron Man tries to save Sunfire, a side story of five panels (two half-pages) Happy tries to solve Pepper and his marriage problems through a letter which contents we do not learn of. In the middle of the second page, we get another two half-pages with Roxanne in Vietnam gets bombarded by bombers from the Saigon government despite a cease-fire. She is rescued by Marty March and the panel cuts quickly back to Iron Man versus Mandarin. Yes, two side-stories in less than three pages. They were that quick. And for a bi-monthly comic, that would be a brutal waiting period.
Regardless, Iron Man does save Sunfire in the end. After a few heavy blows from the Mandarin, Iron Man tries to take off. Not flying fast enough, the Mandarin hits Iron Man, knocking Tony Stark unconscious inside while his rockets fly him off into space uncontrollably.
Back at the Mandarin’s base, Yellow Claw is there trying to steal from the other villain when suddenly, Mandarin returns home and reawakens Ultimo. Because Iron Man is in space – expected to die – the Mandarin believes nothing is to stand in his way!
And so ends the story. It was definitely action-packed, which is not a problem at all. However, a lot of dialogue with Iron Man kills the pace as he describes every scene, rather than the art doing it for us. What also kills the pacing is four-pages in a row of ads. I’ve seen double-page ads with comics from this time – but back-to-back-to-back-to-back ads are almost as boring as you reading this sentence probably.
With the tacked on sub-plots, it really is a wonder why Iron Man was not given a monthly release. There is clearly a lot of story which needs to be developed, but the appropriate time was not given. Well at least now Iron Man is one of the most popular and beloved comic book characters of all-time – despite the bumpy start.
Unfortunately, due to lack of interesting content and really just flashes of battles on panels, I cannot give this comic a great review. I give it props for great art for the characters – but it does lack with scenery. Oh, Iron Man. Where did you turn awesome?
As a side note, a new live-action Hulk series is in the works for ABC and you can read about it here.
There you can also read that Marvel will try to put Cloak and Dagger on television! Win! WIN! BIG WIN!
A little known fact about my love for comics is that I simply LOVE Cloak and Dagger. They are Marvel’s tucked-away icons which tons of people wish to see. They first appeared in Spider-Man, and since then have gone in and out of comics for decades. They have recently been in the X-Men, but were given a one-shot a few months back only to leave the group and be off on their own again.
Aside from X-Men, I would be most-particular about who they chose to cast for these characters. They better not blow it. But then again, with Marvel on the helm of some of their characters, hey – they may do it right.
Keep on Space Truckin’!