Iron Man #5
Issue(s): Iron Man #5
You often hear the anecdote about Stan Lee jumping up on his desk to act out some action sequence. In the intro to Iron Man Masterworks vol. 5, it turns out that Tuska is the source (or at least, a source) of that legend. Tuska had developed renown working on the gritty Crime Does Not Pay comic that was a target of Fredric Wertham. When the industry landscape changed thanks to Wertham, Tuska got work on syndicated newspaper strips, and when he came to Marvel (according to the intro) Stan Lee found that the strip work had drained the dynamism from Tuska's style, and that's where the desktop-posing sessions come in.
The intro also says that this story, which is a standalone issue with Tony Stark pulled into the future away from all supporting characters and subplots, was likely designed as a try-out for Tuska.
The reason Stark is pulled to the future is because it's his creation, a computer called Cerebrus, that was designed to use its artificial intelligence to aid mankind but ended up taking over the world.
According to the story, a percentage of the population lost their entrepreneurial spirit and became dependent on their nanny supercomputer, thus becoming mindless zombies. I also think they look suspiciously like Freaks from Stark's Enervator machine.
A group of rebels want to kill Stark and prevent him from building Cerebrus...
...but a woman named Krylla helps him slip away...
...and find a preserved suit of Iron Man armor for him to fight the computer (also preserved: Iron Man's secret ID).
Cerebrus itself has a kind of goofy looking avatar...
...but he's also got some cool robots.
The computer finds itself stumped by a time paradox: it can't kill Tony because if it does, it'll never be invented.
The hesitation allows Krylla to blow it up.
Krylla then sends Tony Stark home, even before they can have a fling, although they were totally into each other.
Obviously a limitation of this story is that Tony can't have found a later model of his armor preserved in the future. It's the same as his current suit. But it would have been cool if he had actually found his red & silver suit or something like that.
It does show Iron Man peeling off his face mask so we know this really is the same suit that he's been wearing in the surrounding issues in the present.
I'm not sure that facing a dystopian future that he's responsible for has caused any self-reflection for Tony. As of the time i'm writing this, Tony has been developing an AI with clear personality problems in Gillen & Land's Iron Man run, and i'm sure there are other examples as well (joining the Illuminati and supporting the militarization of the United States' super-heroes fall into a similar nanny state development category). But that's the ego of a self-made genius for you, i guess.
Fun story, not dissimilar from the sort of Tales of Suspense stories found in the pre-FF #1 period. Tuska's art always feels a little stiff to me, but it has its moments.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man vol. 5
I really love this issue. A great done in one issue, with the sci-fi elements of a planet-wide computer, underground layers, giant far-reaching coil tentacles. Also, a great love interest. A lot that I love about the Goodwin era.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | June 28, 2013 2:23 PM
I love this story as well.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | June 28, 2013 4:22 PM
In Yancy Street Gazette #20, another fan called Bob Gale complained that his letter in #5 was altered to remove criticism of Johnny Craig's art.
Posted by: mark drummond | August 8, 2014 6:38 PM
That Bob Gale is very likely the same guy who later wrote Back tot he Future and had a brief run on Amzing Spider-Man as part of the "Brand New Day" crew of writers.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 23, 2017 3:01 PM
Always found this Iron Man story a bit weird...kind of an inverse Terminator Paradox.
Since Tony knows he will invent the computer, he can decide not to. Unless he has to to allow that future to come to pass...so he can find out and go forward...Oh my god I went cross-eyed.
The idea of Tony leaving suits of armor so he can use one in the future is both interesting and laughable, considering how closely he guards the technology. Perhaps if it had been a more like the Back to the Future 3 , when they fnd the Delorean buried. Or perhaps they located it and salvaged it from Stark Industries, in some hidden lab, I could buy that. But to have it on display in a museum? Hmmmmm. Or maybe I'm letting my Post Armor Wars knowledge of Tony cloud my judgement
Posted by: Will Gillies | December 16, 2017 10:50 PM
Cerebrus's avatar reminds me of Master Pandemonium.
Posted by: Mortificator | December 17, 2017 1:08 AM
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