Iron Man #57-58
Issue(s): Iron Man #57, Iron Man #58
The reason for the unrest is the fact that SI is undergoing a "re-ordering of priorities" to get out of arms dealing and more into renewable energies. He also intends to share technology with other countries, including Communist ones, and that's where the Mandarin finds a way to get the hardhats at Stark's factory to object.
The story also takes the time to explain how Mandarin got his rings back after they were lost fighting the Inhumans in his last appearance. The Mandarin returned to the site of the alien UFO crash where he first got his rings and found a headband that he could use to summon them. The headband, we learn, also increases the power of the rings.
The Mandarin also has what he calls an "eleventh ring"; it's a mind-controlled Unicorn.
After the Red Ghost gave up trying to cure the Unicorn, the Unicorn sought the Mandarin, apparently saying that the Mandarin was as smart as Dr. Doom.
The Mandarin cured him but also brainwashed him and controls him with the headband that he found at the UFO.
Iron Man gets trounced pretty badly by the two villains...
...and he has to flee the scene. The good news is that he discovers that his heart is again working normally and he doesn't need to wear the chestplate all the time (again, not that i'm complaining!).
In the rematch fight, the Mandarin's brain somehow winds up in the Unicorn's brain and the two flee the scene.
Stark's workers then realize that they were being manipulated and agree to stick with him.
The Mandarin also re-explains the origin of the aliens, although they don't look much like Fin Fang Foom this time.
And, really surprisingly for a Gerber book, the story itemizes for the first time what each of the rings can do.
On top of that, we continue to see a focus on Iron Man's technology.
This sort of continuity-minded focus and being very specific about the Mandarin's powers and Iron man's abilities is more like the stuff that happens in the 80s under the stewardship of Mark Gruenwald and the like. I suspect editorial influence, and that the "Truth" comment in the above scan really is.
More along the lines of what i'd expect from Gerber (in addition to the worker unrest theme) is the sort of meta-commentary like this "Just moved to New York, huh?" line:
The story also features the return of Pepper Potts, who gets hired back by Stark.
These issues were surprisingly ok. Steve Gerber is at his best, i think, when he's under some constraint to not get too zany and write a straightforward super-hero story. It still comes out quirky and different, but not too different.
One thing i can't get behind is the Mandarin's new shirtless costume in this arc. But i can't really get behind any of the Mandarin's costumes so i guess it doesn't matter.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: These issues end with Stark about to pick up the phone to hear some bad news. He'll still be on the phone at the start of the next issue. The MCP places a big run of Iron Man, from IM #57-67, between Avengers #119-120.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The description of the Mandarin's rings would be contradicted by later stories.
Posted by: Michael | March 24, 2013 7:15 PM
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