Characters Appearing: Anaconda, Black Mamba, Death Adder, Iron Man, Mrs. Arbogast, Vic Martinelli
Iron Man #160
Issue(s): Iron Man #160
The rest of the issue seems to be entirely Steve Ditko. The art has an antiquated look to it, but it's cool for what it is.
Plotwise, this issue features the Serpent Squad (sans Sidewinder), which is a villain team that i always enjoy.
Not really great writing. They try to take over the Long Island Zoo where Stark has leased some equipment.
Stark is tempted by alcohol at the party the Zoo is throwing and faced with a woman with alcohol problems. The super-heroics are a little weak thanks to Ditko's choppy style. And the alcoholism parts are very not subtle.
But if you wanted to see the Death Adder taking down a gorilla, here's your chance.
And here's a "Tony in the shower" scene; only fair after all those Dazzler issues.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
According to Marie Severin, Steve Ditko refused to draw a drunk super hero for the splash page, even though it was a dream sequence. So she stepped in to do that page.
I learned this a couple of years ago when I came across a scan of the original artwork for the splash page. Marie had written a note at the bottom of the page explaining that.
Posted by: Rick | April 14, 2015 11:28 AM
The splash is awesome...and I'd say this has some of the better latter era Ditko work.
Posted by: MindlessOne | April 20, 2017 11:30 PM
@MindlessOne - Yep, that's an awesome splash. Severin is one of those great artists who is on the underrated side.
As for the rest of the issue, yes, it's a good job for an early 1980s Ditko fill-in issue. I'm sure some of the credit for that is owed to Dan Green, who is a really solid inker / finisher.
O'Neil verified Severin's explanation when speaking with Matt Fraction in The Comics Journal #300...
"Yeah, well, the first Iron Man story I did was a fill-in and Dave Michelinie had established the drinking problem in the continuity. I opened on Tony having a dream that he’s in the Iron Man suit, but he’s drunk and then you turn the page and he’s waking up, saying, “Wow, what an awful dream.” Steve Ditko did a great job on the rest of the story but we ended up having Marie Severin drawing that one page. There are people who think that heroes should never have serious flaws. I don’t think they should be jerks, the word “hero” is from the Greek “to serve and protect” and I think that has to be element of it. But, having a guy overcome something like an addiction or a terrible flaw seems to me to enhance his heroism and I think Gruenwald’s boss was of that school or something like it."
Even though it was due to Ditko refusing to draw it, I think that the splash page is more powerful for being done by Severin. It's such a insanely cartoony image that really stands out from the rest of the look of issue, making it doubly clear that this is one of Stark's nightmares.
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 21, 2017 11:27 AM
For those who are interested, here is a link to the full discussion between O'Neil and Fraction from TCJ #300...
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 21, 2017 11:46 AM
Whatever complaints one may have about this issue, Severin's page (and its substantial, intentional contrast with Ditko) shouldn't be among them.
Posted by: Oliver_C | April 21, 2017 11:49 AM
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