Iron Man #63
Issue(s): Iron Man #63
...but we'll learn that he's also Doctor Spectrum (the Squadron Sinister version).
But before we get to him, Tony Stark has decided that he fancies Roxanne Gilbert. Like her brother Firebrand, Gilbert is an anti-corporate, anti-establishment type, and i suspect that Stark likes the challenge of getting with a girl that despises his type. Tony Stark declares to Roxanne that he "won't ever handle munitions work again".
Stark Industries has already divested to pollution control, space research, and consumer goods.
That's not the only iron that Tony has in the fire, though. Pepper Hogan (nee Potts) is having trouble with her marriage to Happy Hogan, and she's turning to Tony for comfort. One of the best things about the early Stan Lee's early Iron Man stories was the flirtatious bickering between Pepper and Happy, so it's disappointing to see their marriage used as soap opera fodder. The issue ends with Tony and Pepper kissing while Happy walks in.
Ok, back to Dr. Obatu. Obatu has an appointment with Tony Stark, but he's attacked by some costumed goons (Tony was away in Detroit anyway, so either he was rudely missing the appointment or Obatu was lying about it). Eddie March, an ex-boxer that got hired at Stark thanks to Happy Hogan a while back, helps Obatu fend off the goons.
The goons disappear after they are defeated. Obatu tries to hire March to be his bodyguard, but March had to give up fighting because of a blood-clot. However, he accompanies Obatu to meet with Tony Stark in Detroit.
Doctor Spectrum then attacks Tony Stark at a construction site (we don't yet know that Obatu is Spectrum).
Tony slips off to become Iron Man.
Readers of this site know that i don't really like the Squadron characters, so having Iron Man fight a Green Lantern analogue isn't my idea of a good way to spend an issue (let alone six!). On the other hand, there's some interesting stuff going on here, with Spectrum arguing with his Power Prism
The last time Iron Man fought Doctor Spectrum, he found that Spectrum was vulnerable to ultra-violet light (the equivalent of the Green Lantern being weak to the color yellow). Iron Man suspects that if Spectrum is challenging him again, he must have sorted that weakness out. He gets set up to try it anyway, but his armor gets damaged in the fight before he can use it. Iron Man is near defeat when Spectrum falters due to an argument with the Prism (he wants to kill Iron Man, it wants to enslave him). Spectrum winds up burying Iron Man in the rubble of a collapsed building but arrogantly doesn't wait around to confirm that he's dead.
Everything about this issue is stiff. Tuska's style is stiff and old fashioned. Friedrich's dialogue is stilted. I like the 'possessed artifact' element to the Power Prism, and the super-hero fighting wasn't bad, but the "romance" portions of the plot, especially the Happy/Pepper/Tony triangle, are very 1950s romance comic-ish, and that's not a good thing. Responses to this in the lettercol in issue #67 are not pleasant. Odd choice to end with that really cliched "My best friend is in love with my wife!" scene instead of, say, Iron Man buried in rubble.
We don't yet know what Obatu has to do with the plot. And of course there's the situation with the Power Prism. So it's an interesting set-up. It'll be resolved over the next five issues.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue ends with Happy walking in on Tony and Pepper, but issue #64 starts some time later, so the issues don't have to be part of one continuous arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showEddie March, Happy Hogan, Iron Man, Krimonn the Power Prism, Pepper Potts, Roxanne Gilbert, Sinister Doctor Spectrum
Steve Perrin briefly worked for Harvey Comics in the 1960s on their short-lived superhero line.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 18, 2011 12:11 AM
In late 1978, Scott Edelman related this brief exchange he heard between Archie Goodwin and Chris Claremont:
Archie:"I'll probably do one issue[of Iron Man] and then quit."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 27, 2013 5:42 PM
Very interesting how Dr. Spectrum was created by Marvel from the Green Lantern. I'm sure you have notes in these pages of how the Squadron Sinister were DC influenced. I'm still clicking my way around after just discovering this site.
Posted by: Mike | June 15, 2014 6:45 PM
" Tuska's style is stiff and old fashioned"
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | December 30, 2016 10:35 AM
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