Iron Man #256
Issue(s): Iron Man #256
This is also Bob Layton's last issue (his writing partner David Michelinie has been gone since #250 and Layton's continued run without him, if you want to call it that, has seen more fill-ins than not). There's another fill-in next issue, and then John Byrne will come in and take the contractually required Armor Wars II in a different direction than anything Layton (and Michelinie?) intended.
This issue is just Iron Man laying under rubble in a space station for 22 pages.
The space station in question is the one that seemed like it was going to be the prime focus of Stark's new company after Stark recovered from alcoholism at the end of Denny O'Neil's run, but which Layton and Michelinie did away with when they took over soon after that. They had the station rendered inhabitable thanks to a biological attack from AIM. But the station has still been out there (it was seen briefly in the first Armor Wars) and this story is about a company that has found a way to clean out the virus that has been infecting it, which they will do in return for being allowed to rent space on it for lab experiments. The catch is that they need Iron Man to deploy the anti-virus solution.
And that deployment is complicated when it turns out that one of AIM's virus bombs did not detonate earlier, and it detonates now. So the majority of the issue is Iron Man dealing with threats in the satellite associated with that.
In a flashback scene, Tony Stark gives a bonus to an employee in accounting that took some initiative and changed some purchase orders. It turns out that she was wrong in doing so, because the more expensive company that her superiors really intended to go with was a Stark subsidiary. But Tony Stark likes her initiative and rewards her. But seriously, next time check and see if there's a reason why your company might go with the more expensive bid.
John Romita Jr. has gotten a lot more abstract since his first Iron Man run, and i'm not so sure i love what's going on with people's faces in this issue. In the scan above, Tony looks like he's had too much plastic surgery. Other times he looks like John Oates...
...or maybe a vampire John Oates who has had too much plastic surgery.
I do like Rhodey's facial hair, though.
Probably the most significant thing in this issue is the repeated hints that something is wrong with the cure that fixed Tony's paralyzation.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 199,100. Single issue closest to filing date = 200,300.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Next issue will begin with Iron Man in space cleaning up rubble from the space station explosion in this issue, but it's made clear that he's returning to space from Earth (and this issue ends with Iron Man on Earth), so it's not a direct continuation. But it should take place not too long afterwards.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"The space station in question is the one that seemed like it was going to be the prime focus of Stark's new company after Stark recovered from alcoholism at the end of Denny O'Neil's run, but which Layton and Micheline did away with when they took over soon after that. They had the station rendered inhabitable thanks to a biological attack from AIM."
The fact that it was now inhabitable clearly ruined any chance of Stark using it for a space storage business, since thieves could now inhabit the station, thus it was abandoned.
Posted by: Max_Spider | June 2, 2015 8:24 PM
This is indeed the promised prelude to Armor Wars II. That's because, as Layton explained on his blog a few years ago, AWII was going to involve the biochip that lets Stark walk fusing with a retconned biochip implanted by Spymaster in the first Michelinie/Layton/Romita run. The evil, sentient super-biochip would take over Stark's body--hence his back suddenly being without pain at the end of this issue--and then get taken out, only to build an evil Iron Man body for itself. And that's the armor part of Armor Wars. Evil IM would have Stark's personality and qualities, only eeevil.
I dislike the upcoming Byrne run, but it sounds like Layton's Armor Wars would have been awful, too.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | June 2, 2015 9:28 PM
The original Armor Wars II concept would eventually be told in Iron Man #258.1-258.4. I have no idea if it was modified to fit into current continuity or not (if so, it may be of interest to this project), but it is set in around the same time it was supposed to be.
Posted by: Max_Spider | June 3, 2015 4:09 PM
Max_Spider, Iron Man 258.1-258.4 don't fit into current continuity (although interestingly, they were modified from Layton's original plans for Armor Wars II).
Posted by: Michael | June 3, 2015 11:50 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|