Classic Comic Fridays: Invincible Iron Man #69

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?

Grade: 4/10


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’!

Hulk, X-Men, and Vampires

Sorry about the delay, folks. Yesterday’s comics were pretty good. Black Cat’s limited series finally concluded (and with a decent plot), while Incredible Hulks rampages on in issue #614 – fighting the Secret Avengers, while X-Men #4 battles on with the vampires. I also picked up Tick’s Edlund Epic #5 and #6, but they are comics from the 80’s reprinted in colour (and may eventually appear in my “classic reviews”), while I also picked up Shadowland #4. Unfortunately, I’m still lacking Shadowland #3, so I refuse to read on until I grab that. Damn lack of second-printing! New Avengers #5 also was released and is shaping up to be a decent story.

So this week we have two great books to go under the knife. Hulks and X-Men.

Incredible Hulks #614 – written by Planet Hulk/World War Hulk great, Greg Pak, featuring art from Barry Kitson. This run has been called the “Dark Son” series, and we’re on part three of six. In a nutshell, Hulk has another son – Skaar’s twin brother who has more of the Old Power than Skaar does. Pretty much, his new son, named Hiro-Kala, wants to destroy the remaining Old Power (so Skaar – and despite him having the Old Power himself – which is addressed in IH #613) so he’s sending his planet, K’ai, towards Earth to destroy it.


If that wasn’t bad enough, the government missiles and weapons aren’t doing any damage to the oncoming assault. The government decides to send up thousands of soldiers to fight it. Cut to Cape Canaveral, and the Hulks are on a rampage destroying tons of military equipment. The Secret Avengers jump in to fight off the Hulks until Black Widow and Beast show up with a gun which could teleport the Hulks into the Negative Zone instantly. So yes, the Hulks surrender and talk to Steve Roger’s about why they were damaging everything.

Hulk tells him that the government would just be sending soldier’s to their death, so they had to destroy all the equipment so people would not go up in space. Plus, it would create jobs for the economy. Really, they mention that.

After deliberation, both Rogers and the President allow the Hulks to go into space – via the Stone Flagship used to bombard Earth during World War Hulk! The final panel, the President is shown saying, “God help us. . . the Hulks are running the show now.”

If you have been reading Hulk, this definitely was a “wow” for me. It was such a great feeling seeing the Stone Flagship rise out of the ground. Of course, the comic made the event seem much more epic than how I described it.

I love Pak’s writing. Ever since he’s been attached to the Hulk, I’ve tried to read everything he’s done. He literally is responsible for turning the Hulk into such a great character – in my eyes. As for story, we really get to see the power of the planet K’ai in this issue and see that it can wipe-out quite a bit. On top of that, we get half the story of the Hulks smashing. Full-spreads of damage, plus Kitson’s take on the Secret Avengers. It’s great to see them in such a different light – literally – than Dedato’s drawings. I find Beast looking a lot more menacing, while Valkyrie and Rogers share a lot of the spotlight. Bright blue colours of the characters against a red skyline for most of the comic contrast very well.

Needless to say, this story was not only fast-paced, we get information about how the world would have reacted against K’ai, plus the intervention of other heroes with the Hulk. Quite frankly, this was a great surprise following two issues of character build-up. The Incredible Hulk’s story, plus a bonus-story at the end between Bruce and Skaar really place the $3.99 price tag at a great value, with a fantastic story.

Grade: 9/10

X-Men #4 is a continuation with the Curse of the Mutants storyline where the X-Men are against vampires. To summarize quickly, the vampires want the X-Men to become vampires so that their race can be the most power ever with mutants on their side. They argue that vampires are like mutants – shunned from society. Since the mutants are now at an all-time low-number, the vampires feel it best to strike now.


And as you can see from this GORGEOUS cover by Adi Granov, yes Wolverine became a vampire and is on their side now. You’re all probably like, “but his healing factor would’ve fought that.” And you’re absolutely right. It’s how Wolverine did not become a Brood, or ever hold a virus for long in his body. Well, from a FanExpo Canada panel back in August, C.B. Cebulski mentioned that it would be explained in the comic. However not in X-Men #3 or #4 where Wolverine is a vampire, so I’m still waiting.

The story, by Victor Gischler, with art by Paco Medina, is mostly Wolverine/Cyclops-focused. There’s a small subplot of Blade and Angel/Archangel searching for vampires and finding them – only to run away immediately, while the rest of the story is done through video intercom. Yup. Never judge a book by its cover.

Wolverine brags how great it is being a vampire and he explains how he feels being one. Dr. Nemesis cannot figure out a cure to vampirism, and Cyclops calls Xarus (lord of the vampires who killed Dracula and became the leader), and tries to persuade Xarus that the X-Men will fight. Xarus brags some more (as it seems vampires do a lot), and shows off both Jubilee and Wolverine both turned into vampires. They both brag how great it is and ask Scott to join. Of course, he refuses and Xarus wants to bring the fight to them.

The only really exciting moment is seeing the final panel of an army of vampires which will be led by Wolverine in the next issue to attack the X-Men.

If my review sounded boring and drab to you, that’s how the comic was too. I apologize for it. I’m sure Gischler would not. What I cannot knock is Medina’s art. Great use of panels shows us the action split between words. For example, Cyclops describes fighting vampires on one page. Within said page, we get three different panels of action in different parts of the city, featuring Colossus, Pixie, Rogue, Storm, Psylocke and Gambit. All of that is broken up by Cyclops’ sentences. It’s done extremely well, and each page tells its own story. Angel and Blade’s stumbling upon a vampire lair also spreads a full page of them pretty much overwhelmed by vampires. Pages like those, with beautiful dark colours by Marte Gracia, give this Curse of the Mutants plot a grim feeling.

However, given a lot of action is done in dialogue buffed up between two egos, it really dwindles the story. It’s like watching school children say, “I’m better because of this,” “Oh yeah? Well I’m better!” Only somehow this involves the leaders of X-Men and vampires. What a battle!

Grade: 6/10

In other news, the Spider-Man movie villain has been discovered as the Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans. Also, congratulations goes out to Christopher Hastings, and Anthony Clark, writer, drawer, and colourist to the web comic Dr. McNinja. Their recent Volume 4 has been picked up by Darkhorse Comics! Once again, this goes to show you that persistence in the art universe is key!

We’ll see what tomorrow will bring with my classic comics! Until then!

Keep on Space Truckin’.