Iron Man #64-67
Issue(s): Iron Man #64, Iron Man #65, Iron Man #66, Iron Man #67
The rest of the arc, however, is devoted to several rounds of fights with Doctor Spectrum. Iron Man is able to confirm that ultraviolet light still works against him.
After he retreats, his next attack comes in the form of a construct he makes with his ring that he uninspiredly names Rokk.
Rokk starts off by smashing up Roxanne Gilbert's health food store. Inside the store we get an odd exchange between two of the patrons.
Maybe Mark, Sharon, and Renfield are part of a 70s cultural reference that i'm not aware of? Or maybe it's an inside joke? Or maybe it's just meant to be a random slice-of-life scene.
Eventually Iron Man finds out that Rokk is really controlled by Spectrum.
The fight continues, and Spectrum has Iron Man on the ropes again and ready to kill him when the Prism interrupts again. "Wait!" it says. "Instead of killing him, we can tell him our origin!". Spectrum sees wisdom in that. Don't know why.
I do approve of this expository break, however. Because the origin is a real doozy. Doctor Spectrum's Power Prism is, you see, a Skrull.
Having failed in a coup, the Skrull, Krimonn, was converted into a prism and then launched into space, where he orbited until the Grandmaster (called the "Gamesmaster" in the flashback) sent him to Earth to be found by Dr. Obatu. It's not said exactly why the Prism was able to grant Obatu such power, however. Even as punishment for a coup, turning Krimonn into a prism is madness, and i don't see why the Skrulls would also turn him into a prism that granted its wielder great power, but not use that power for themselves. So maybe the Grandmaster did something to him?
Anyway, the origin-telling devolves into another argument between the Prism and Spectrum, and Iron Man uses the opportunity to get away. But when Spectrum chases, he finds Iron Man walking back towards him (why would Roxanne Gilbert refer to Spectrum as "them" in that panel? How could she know that Spectrum's been having a conversation with his prism? Even if she saw him talking out loud, it seems like a real intuitive leap for her to realize what was going on.).
In the subsequent fight, Krimonn abandons Spectrum and possesses Iron Man.
Krimonn/Iron Man goes on a bit of a rampage. That's when Thor shows up.
The Iron Man/Thor fight isn't as exciting as you might want it to be...
...but there's two factors at work here. First, Krimonn is still learning Iron Man's abilities, so he attempts a full-frontal assault on Thor instead of using all of IM's gadgets, and gets slammed for it. He's also not using his Power Prism powers against Thor for some reason.
The second factor is that Tony Stark isn't in the armor at this point. It's actually Eddie March.
Happy Hogan also briefly wears a suit. Everybody gets a suit of Iron Man armor! You get one! And you get one!
It's all part of a "guess who's really Iron Man" switcharoo. But eventually the real Iron Man returns, his ultraviolet generator repaired, and puts the hurt on Spectrum.
The Prism is temporarily destroyed, but we see it pulling itself together. It'll be back, but not with Obatu as the host.
We learn more about Spectrum's alter-ego, Dr. Obatu in this arc. It's said that he's a "west African economics minister -- here to... er... raid some top minds for his country!" and "he's a bit of a nationalist... and only goes after the black brains!". Obatu says that he wants to hire Iron Man as a bodyguard, but the only villains after Obatu are the ones he creates himself with the Power Prism, like the goons from issue #63, and Rokk. But he does seem sincere about hiring a bodyguard since he also tries to recruit Luke Cage.
Unfortunately Cage is in New York and Obatu didn't include any travel money with his letter, so Cage is unable to join the story in Detroit.
Obatu vows vengeance after his defeat, but Iron Man laughs him off.
As for the Happy/Pepper/Tony triangle, it doesn't go so well.
After that, Happy, who knows Tony's secret ID, spills the beans to Pepper since while she likes Tony she doesn't like Iron Man. She freaks out, 70s style.
When Happy learns that Tony is in danger, however, he seems to forgive his friend enough to put on that spare suit of armor (over Pepper's protests).
Issue #67 deals with the aftermath of this arc. Eddie March took a bad beating from Thor, plus he had that bloodclot, so he's in critical condition. Thor turns into Donald Blake to help out, but it turns out that the only way to save him is to use that Enervator that temporarily turned Happy Hogan into the Freak way back in an old issue of Tales of Suspense. Sure enough, the device turns March into a Freak as well (he's a much more monstrous Freak than Happy was)...
...but Iron Man contains the damage until March reverts to human form. It's said that March will live, but he'll be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.
Before he passed out, March asked Roxanne to go to Vietnam to find his brother Marty March. She's already left, but Tony decides to follow her at the end of this arc.
There's a funny scene in issue #67 where Tony Stark is changing out of his armor in the bushes somewhere while (i think) nuns and a policeman walk by.
I enjoyed this arc more than i thought i would. The (proxy) Green Lantern / Iron Man fight was decent, and i liked the wacky origin of the Power Prism and the conflicts that it led to for Doctor Spectrum. It's not a great arc, by any means. The art is stiff, Spectrum really never does anything too imaginative with his powers, the Thor fight is disappointing, Happy's jealousy is tedious, and it's all a bit long, especially counting issue #63. But there are enough twists to keep things interesting.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This arc starts with Iron Man doing some community service and reflecting back on the events of last issue, including getting caught making out with Pepper Potts. So it doesn't need to take place directly after the end of issue #63.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
i always find it a bit annoying when a writer/artist includes his "friends" in the comic. Its llike a director casting his relatives in a film with bit parts when they cant act. its fine if they dont speak but whenever they get dialouge it always feels unnatural because despite being in a couple they always have to address each other by name. "Sharon, what do you think about that?" "I don't know, Mark, what do you think?" "Well, Sharon, we should...."
Posted by: kveto from prague | December 17, 2011 5:56 PM
Those are nurses in that panel.
"Sheldorf Hotel Detroit" refers to the late uber-fan/researcher/historian/convention organizer Shel Dorf, who was based in Detroit for some time.
I have no clue what the "Renfield" scene refers to.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 18, 2011 12:19 AM
The prism itself should be listed as a character here, right?
Posted by: S | February 10, 2013 3:12 PM
Thanks, S. I had him tagged in all his other appearances but i missed it here.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 10, 2013 3:17 PM
In these issues, Pepper is constantly drawn to look like her eyes are on the verge of popping out of her head.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 11, 2013 4:15 PM
"Construct he makes with his ring"
Dr. Lantern was really bugging you, huh?
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | September 7, 2016 6:48 AM
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