Iron Man #218
Issue(s): Iron Man #218
The man pointing the gun at Stark is part of a contingency of KGB operatives, the leader of whom is Irina Tarasova.
Tarasova would like Stark to not look for the chemical compound.
They are also under the strange impression that Stark isn't using Iron Man as a personal bodyguard anymore.
Of course Stark is not intimidated by the KGB. He convinces the very old and paranoid man who originally was in charge of the chemicals on the Titanic to give him some information, and then gets ready for a deep-sea dive. I've mentioned the deck cleaning that Michelinie & Layton have done on this series, and what we see now is almost entirely a return to exactly where they left off (especially since this issue is penciled by Layton instead of M.D. Bright, i could believe that it was based on some unfinished work that they had done for their earlier run). There's an acknowledgement with the footnote that Iron Man hasn't been using specialized armor any more (and his new red and silver suit seemed to incorporate elements from the various specialized armors that he used in the previous Michelinie & Layton run), but he's nonetheless created a new one which conveniently enough comes in handy here.
The KGB harass Iron Man while he's underwater looking for the canisters, and so we get demonstrations of the suit's various capabilities. Fun stuff.
Ironically, a letter published in this issue complains about the "Oh-look-suddenly-I-have-the-exact-(and usually previously undisclosed)-power-or-weapon-needed-for-this-exact situation" trap that this book has a tendency to fall into.
We learn during the course of the battle that the Soviets intend to allow the canister to explode, which would kill thousands, and then blame it on the US, as Iron Man says, "just to make the United States look bad". I am surprised at this point in time to see the Soviets depicted as such straightforward villains. Bob Layton also wrote X-Factor annual #1, which similarly showed the Soviet government to be pure evil. But typically around this time, a story about the Soviet Union would have this fight based on a misunderstanding or maybe the Soviets not trusting the US with the chemicals and therefore wanting it for themselves. I mean, this is the post Rocky IV world. If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.
Nonetheless, Iron Man defeats the sinister Soviets. Tarasova will have one more appearance in a back-up story.
Michelinie & Layton are taking what i'll say is a confident approach in their new run by starting with four issues with no super-villains. AIM are at least an established force in the Marvel universe. Last issue Iron Man fought a helicopter. This issue some undersea drones. This will change next issue with the introduction of a new villain. But in the meantime, it's Iron Man vs. technology, which makes sense but does require good writing and art to be entertaining. The good news is they are a good team (with or without M.D. Bright on pencils, but i prefer with) so they pull it off.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 190,516. Single issue closest to filing date = 175,000.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
In the UK, this story was published in 5-6 page instalments as a back-up strip in Transformer.
Posted by: Stephen | March 10, 2014 3:40 PM
Too bad Tony didn't get sent to North Malden; he could have met Njorl.
Why would chemical weapons be on the Titanic anyway? It sank two years before WWI started, and it apparently wasn't shipping on any government business.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 13, 2014 4:02 PM
I suspect that a Dirk Pitt novel and film inspired this tale.
Raise The Titanic, written by Clive Cussler copyright 1976
Posted by: PB210 | March 14, 2014 9:32 PM
Tony is sounding a lot like his movie-self in that first scan.
Posted by: Berend | March 16, 2014 2:45 AM
I'm surprise Tony didn't have more KGB female operatives, like the Black Widow or Irina here, sent after him. Talk about a guy vulnerable to entrapment by a pretty Russian face.
Posted by: kveto | January 6, 2017 3:43 PM
According to the GCD John Romita Sr "redrew Carter Hastings' head/face in many panels", if I follow correctly to make him bald.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 6, 2017 5:14 PM
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