Iron Man #209
Issue(s): Iron Man #209
The guest stars are Jack Russell, aka Werewolf By Night, and his supporting cast, friend Buck Cowan and sister Lissa Russell. And thanks to their association with the Darkhold, Lissa gets possessed by Morgan Le Fey...
...and causes trouble at a Renaissance Faire.
The reason the timing is odd is that the Werewolf recently seriously injured Iron Man in West Coast Avengers, and the group is still on the lookout for information about the Darkhold in that series. And all of that is given only passing notice in this book. Iron Man doesn't have a problem teaming up with the Werewolf...
...or overly concerned with the fact that Jack is loose, and still only tenuously in control of himself. And when the Darkhold is mentioned, Tony acts like the last time they ran into Jack wasn't because the Avengers were looking for it.
On the second point, i can imagine Tony Stark kind of zoning out whenever talk of magic books comes up, and on the first point at least the recent encounter is acknowledged. But the issue doesn't seem like the kind of encounter you'd expect after Iron Man's injury from the Werewolf in their previous meeting.
The story begins with Lissa having a dream of Merlin capturing and binding Morgan Le Fey, with Le Fey then getting raped by a Tony Stark lookalike.
I didn't know that guy was supposed to look like Stark until later in the story when it comes up again.
Tony then goes to the RenFaire with Cly Erwin. Cly and Tony seem to be on a date, and when things start to get weird...
...Cly doesn't appreciate being left in the dark about what's going on, typical girlfriend stuff.
While Jack does indeed lose control of the Werewolf...
...that actually helps resolve the Morgan Le Fey problem, since at that point he's willing to kill even his own sister, so Le Fey is forced to flee.
The Werewolf runs off at the end and Iron Man doesn't chase him.
I guess this can't really be an inventory story considering how short a period of time it's been since Iron Man changed his armor. But in that case this story seems to be deliberately overlooking the key things that would have made an Iron Man/Werewolf encounter interesting at this point. Still, it's a decent fill-in issue.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Mockingbird talks to Iron Man over his radio headset at the beginning of this issue. The MCP place this between West Coast Avengers #11-12.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBuck Cowan, Clytemnestra Erwin, Iron Man, Lissa Russell, Mockingbird, Morgan Le Fey, Werewolf By Night
The art might have been new, but the story could very well have been an old inventory issue with only some quick editing to update certain things - make Stark's date at the fair to be Cly, update any recent references to the change in armor.
I think O'Neil's departure was sudden, but if they had an inventory story on hand, everything else for the issue would simply be done on schedule.
Posted by: Chris | January 1, 2014 8:30 PM
The cover of my newsstand copy of IM 209 had a Captain America face in place of the usual Comics Code seal. Very unusual--even as an 8-year-old I wondered about that. I later came to think the book got rejected ny the CCA for the implied rape, but checking online I see other copies of the cover with the CCA seal.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 2, 2014 2:12 AM
Here's an image: http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/topic/11576#.UsURy3-9KK0
I've always loved the symbolism of Cap--symbol of both freedom and decency that he's meant to be--substituting for the Comics Code.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 2, 2014 2:16 AM
Mine's a direct market version. But now i'm sad to not have the Approved By Captain America variant.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 2, 2014 12:07 PM
It showed up on a few direct-market only Marvel books around that period.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | January 2, 2014 4:08 PM
Note that Walter isn't talking about a replacement for the UPC code; it's replacing the CCA logo, which seems to indicate that the book wasn't submitted for code approval.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 2, 2014 4:17 PM
Whoops. I should have checked the link....I was sure I knew what he meant.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | January 2, 2014 4:20 PM
The Cap head could just be a compositor's placeholder that slipped through if the book was rushed to print.
But it might be the content: throughout the late '70s and '80s we've seen more and more attempted rapes prevented by the timely arrival of a superhero. This is the first one I can think of that isn't prevented. (What happened in Avengers 200 was definitely a rape but wasn't treated as such in the issue, which may have been enough for the code.)
Even looking ahead to the early '90s, I can't immediately think of any examples--maybe in Punisher comics I wasn't reading? The one seeming exception actually proves the rule: what happens to Rogue in Genosha, a caption box later takes pains to tell us, wasn't rape, although a lot of readers missed that, and biased on the context it seems Calremont may at first have intended it that way. (I'd never thought about the Danvers connection before--I don't think Claremont has the Ms. Marvel psyche in Rogue's head reference the Avengers 200 incident, but now I think there's an implicit callback.)
Then again, there seem to be images of IM 209 online that do have the code label, which suggests compositor's error might be the simplest explanation.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 2, 2014 7:24 PM
Note that Buck Cowan is walking in these issues, even though he was in a wheelchair in the last issues of Werewolf By Night and Spider-Woman 19 (and Werewolf By Night 39 suggested his condition was permament).
Posted by: Michael | January 14, 2015 9:28 PM
The story that appeared in Iron Man #209 was written before Jack Russell's appearance in West Coast Avengers. At the time, I'd been invited to audition to take over as the regular Iron Man writer, and also had in mind a revival of the Werewolf By Night series. There were in fact two Iron Man stories written. The second one was a murder mystery featuring Spymaster and introducing a few new members of Tony Stark's extended family. The idea was to start focusing on the man inside the armor, but that wasn't the direction Marvel wanted to go, and the second story was never assigned to an artist. That second story did, however, end up being used (with more than a few tweaks) as the basis for the three-part "Case of the Living Dead Man" adventure that appeared in Rose #2 through #4.
Posted by: Dennis Mallonee | October 7, 2017 11:51 AM
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