Iron Man #44-46
Issue(s): Iron Man #44, Iron Man #45, Iron Man #46
He attacks while Tony Stark is recovering from his injuries from the fight with Soulfather.
Regarding the Mr. Kline storyline, i originally wrote the following:
In theory i should be more interested in this Mr. Kline story. After all, with the story being so dispersed, with parts in Daredevil, Iron Man, and Sub-Mariner, it is a poster child for the sort of line-wide chronological reading that i'm advocating for on this site. But the characters seems so bland and the plot seems so muddled, i can't bring myself to really figure out what's going on, and i haven't hunted down the issues i'm missing.
I've subsequently picked up the remaining issues in this saga, and having read the whole thing it's certainly a little less muddled, but it's still a big mish-mosh, with the stories in each title being unrelated and the treatment of Kline in Daredevil and Iron Man feeling more than a little inconsistent. Iron Man learns that the Night Phantom is working for a Mr. Kline this issue but he'll never follow-up on that, so this part of the crossover ends with a shrug.
The second story deals with the Guardsman. Kevin O'Brien (with that spelling, instead of O'Brian, appearing for the first time) has been wearing Stark's experimental new armor, and it has been causing problems with his mind, causing him to become jealous of Stark's latest girlfriend (Marianne Rodgers, who happens to have ESP, and who Tuska doesn't mind portraying sitting around the house in her underwear, mooning over pictures of Tony).
Before the Guardsman starts to go crazy, however, we have an awfully written misunderstanding fight between Guardsman and Captain America where Cap wildly jumps to the wrong conclusion about why the Guardsman would be carrying an injured Iron Man.
Later, Guardsman is easily manipulated by some ambitious members of Stark Industries board of directors who were looking to replace Stark.
In an overt parallel to the Kent State Massacre, the Guardsman opens fire on a crowd of young hippies protesting Stark's weapons manufacturing.
The kids are reported killed, but Marvel backtracks in the next issue saying that they were only injured.
In a subsequent battle, Iron Man accidentally kills the Guardsman.
Issue #44 also contains an Ant-Man backup called "Armageddon on Avenue 'A'" by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito. The poor guy has to face one of the real stinkers from his rogue's gallery, the Scarlet Beetle.
And he really doesn't win the fight, he's just very lucky that an out of luck storekeeper decides to burn down his store for the insurance money while the insect-sized opponents fight each other, giving Pym a break. Actually, the storekeeper accidentally drops his can of kerosene on the Beetle and kills him, which is a good indication of his threat level.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Iron Man was injured at the end of last arc and is seen being carried home by the Guardsman at the beginning of this arc, so no other Iron Man appearances should appear in between. The beginning of this issue takes place before Mr. Kline is defeated in Daredevil #84. Captain America's appearance is reference free. As for the Ant-Man back-up, Henry Pym switches back to his Ant-Man persona during the Kree/Skrull War, so this should take place after that.
Crossover: Mr. Kline
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (11): show
This is Robert Kanigher's only Marvel effort, and one of his few non-DC stories(the others being some things for Skywald). Kanigher wrote way too many utterly bizarre Silver Age stories for DC to list here.
Mike Friedrich also came from DC, and two years later would start his own underground comics company, Star*Reach Productions.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 13, 2011 8:31 PM
I don't care what anybody says. The Scarlet Beetle is an intriguing idea.
Check it out: Thor has Asgard. Captain America has all those WWII flashbacks. Iron Man has all the Stark Industries jibber-jabber. But Ant-Man doesn't have anything like that... except the Scarlet Beetle.
But when you think about it, Ant-Man could have his own little insect world, with wacky bugs like Korr ("Tales to Astonish 44," I think) and the politics of their hive. Like, a Silver Age version of Sectaurs or something. I grant that this would require a lot of imagination to pull off, but I think Kirby & Co. could have done so.
(I am not sure why the Scarlet Beetle has human-style eyes.)
Posted by: James N. | August 28, 2011 11:41 AM
Don't worry, the Scarlet Beetle isn't really dead. Rascally Roy brings him back in a classic issue of Fantastic Four Unlimited in the 1990s. With Herb Trimpe providing art in the style of Rob Liefeld imitating Herb Trimpe.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 27, 2012 12:09 AM
Fie! My knowledge of FF Unlimited is not so good after all, but the Scarlet Beetle does have some further adventures as described by the Appendix here, http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/scarbeet.htm
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 27, 2012 12:11 AM
And that ASM Annual appearance is drawn by Ditko!
Posted by: S | November 27, 2012 4:09 PM
Looks like there's a big gap between IRON MAN #46 and 53, or am I missing something?
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | July 3, 2013 4:02 PM
No, i'm missing something: Iron Man #39-40,47-52, and 92. ;-)
I'll be publishing my What's Missing page as soon as i finish my current back-issue add.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 3, 2013 4:32 PM
It's incredibly hard for me to give my rating for these issues. The one draw back to including multi-issue entries. Sometimes, there's some great stories mixed in with some really bad ones.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | April 26, 2014 12:49 AM
The Guardsman, annoying stereotype accent aside, added some interesting drama, shame it was so short. Got kind of dull afterwards.
Posted by: david banes | April 26, 2014 3:18 AM
So what happened to Mister Kline/the Assassin that led to his comically abrupt departure from this issue? Well, in Daredevil #84, Kline approaches the Black Widow in Switzerland claiming to be a doctor who has discovered a cure for blindness; Natasha calls Matt to come meet her. There, Daredevil learns that Kline/ the Assassin is an android, sent back from the 50th century by his master Baal who is a massive computer which gained sentience and will be the sole ruler of Earth; Kline’s mission was to mess with the timeline to prevent certain threats to Baal’s future posed by DD and Iron Man. During the battle with Kline, two of the Final Sons of Men, rising in the wake of the death of Baal, have come back to tie up the last loose ends, and they destroy Kline. Biggest unanswered question: Why would Foggy Nelson being elected Governor of New York in 1971 affect anything on Earth in the 50th century? In this context, the current Iron Man issues make even less sense: what did fighting a robot double of one of his more obscure foes have to do with the epic Terminator/ science fiction plot that DD #84 only hints at? A plot so fragmented that it makes no sense at all and just comes across as a random series of adventures until writer Gerry Conway chose to end it by dumping an overly complicated time travel epic on an overwhelmed reader – with no hints of this given in Iron Man’s book?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 24, 2016 12:30 AM
in these issues, I could never tell if Marianne was sleeping with both Tony and Kevin Obrien, or if that was just all in Kevin's imagination.
Posted by: kveto | February 24, 2018 7:06 AM
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