Iron Man #36-37
Issue(s): Iron Man #36, Iron Man #37
...but it's wrapped up after 7 pages with the Spymaster escaping and the rest of the bad guys captured.
It's a really sudden and unsatisfying ending to this whole Spymaster/Zodiac plot. We never really get to learn what the Zodiac were up to. I guess we can infer that they were just being manipulated by the Anhk priests, but we sure don't get their reaction to that. And Iron Man doesn't get his vengeance on the Spymaster for mortally injuring Jasper Sitwell, but i guess the fact that he escapes scott free is pretty cool.
Before everyone separates, Madame Masque asks Iron Man to tell Tony Stark that she's really still in love with Jasper, and that sends him back into the existential fugue that started in Iron Man #33.
But Tony Stark used to be a millionaire playboy, remember, and he really hasn't been living it up the way he should have been since he got rid of the chestplate that was needed to keep him alive. So he leaves Kevin O'Brian in charge of Stark Industries (because, why not?!) and dials up one of the ladies in his black book.
And don't think the alcohol isn't flowing.
Unfortunately that still leaves us with seven pages to fill, so how about an overweight robot and a fight with the robot that re-injures Tony's heart and the robot works for aliens who have been hired by other aliens to turn the Earth into glass and Kevin O'Brian has some mysterious problem AND MARIANNE IS SOME KIND OF WEEPY WEIRDO AND TONY'S STUMBLING AROUND TOWN LIKE HE'S DRUNK AND ONLY KEVIN O'BRIAN CAN HELP HIM GET BACK INTO HIS ARMOR TO FIX HIS HEART SO HE HAS TO REVEAL HIS SECRET IDENTITY AND NOW THERE'S MORE ROBOTS AND MARIANNE'S WANDERING THE STREETS AND NOW SHE'S KIDNAPPED BY THE ALIENS AND THE ALIEN IS IN LOVE WITH HER BECAUSE HE REMINDS HER OF SOMETHING IN HIS CHILDHOOD AND NOW IRON MAN'S BACK IN ACTION AND AAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE GERRY CONWAY SLOW DOWN DUDE YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL!!!
While issue #36 is still based at least partially on Allyn Brodsky's plot, #37 is all Conway.
In the intro to the Marvel Masterworks where these issues are reprinted, Gerry Conway says "In all honesty, folks, it's a mess." and plausibly blames the fact that Marvel was expanding at this point which necessitated bringing on lots of new staff, Conway included, who didn't know what they were doing.
Probably not something you should include in the intro to a book that sells for $54.99 cover price, but at least we're being honest.
One thing i do like about Conway's intro is that he has a handle on Tony Stark similar to mine:
When we first meet Tony, way back in Tales of Suspense #39, he's already successful, a recognized genius, attractive to women, admired by men, secure in himself and his place in the world He's not tortured like Bruce Wayne, he's not filled with teen angst like Spider-Man, he's not a potential mad scientist and social misfit like Reed Richards. He's the ultimate Ayn Rand hero, a self-contained (and selfish) Master of the Universe.
Where i differ from Conway is that he sees Tony's heart problems as a way to make the character human and "whole". Without the heart problems, he's John Galt. It's by giving him the physical flaw that he can be a super-hero. And we see that in these issues; after the snub from Madame Masque he's out on the town flaunting his wealth and making it with the ladies but then he has to go out and fight the robot but there's this endless internal monologuing.
...and then his heart problems return.
I see Tony's heart problems as a really weak substitute for real character development (see also: Donald Blake's lameness) and i'd much rather see him as a Randian super-hero. I also can't stand all the secret identity hijinks and annoying forced drama during battles that come with the health problems. So it's disappointing to see them return here, especially in this hyperactive storyline.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from Daredevil #73.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Masterworks: Invincible Iron Man vol. 7 (#36 is an original)
Inbound References (4): showAquarius, Capricorn, Daredevil, Guardsman (Kevin O'Brien), Happy Hogan, Iron Man, Madame Masque, Marianne Rodgers, Nick Fury, Pepper Potts, Sagittarius, Spymaster
These issues are just bonkers, but not in a quaint way either.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | February 23, 2013 10:05 AM
Hopefully the Changers don't give people only pennies.
There was an item in early 1971 Bullpen Bulletins that stated that Iron Man & Daredevil would be sharing one book. I'm guessing Allyn Brodsky wrote two issues for that format, quit writing for whatever reason, then the format got hurriedly changed before publishing time, and Gerry Conway was brought on board to fill out those two issues REALLY fast, resulting in the abovementioned mess.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 23, 2013 5:57 PM
Reading this over, it really does feel like a prelude for the entire Conway Marvel experience, only vastly condensed compared to the headaches of Mr. Kline and the Clone Saga. (plus its hilarious reading your "CONTROL YOURSELF CONWAY" rant)
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 24, 2014 4:49 PM
I'm not sure I agree with you about Tony Stark, fnord.
It's a shame Lee had to write for kids and make his superheroes seem like moral examples. Imagine if there was no need to ever write Watchmen, because Lee had already painted the broad picture way back in the 1960s with Iron Man.
Anyway, I enjoyed this story.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 24, 2014 6:57 PM
CK, i think we agree on how we'd like to see Stark. You're just taking issue with my (and possibly Conway's) characterization of John Galt, which is fair. You're right, the Galt of Rand's novel doesn't act like Tony Stark. I meant "John Galt" as a joking slur at the real life "Masters of the Universe" types, but you're right that it's not really accurate depiction of the character in the novel. On my mind at the time was the threats of people to Go Galt a few years back.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 24, 2014 8:05 PM
OK, that's all good. I'm not sure if it'd how I'd like to see Stark, I was more playing out your own vision.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 24, 2014 8:09 PM
I get the sense that the Spymaster stuff was really Allyn Brodsky's plot, and Conway couldn't be rid of it fast enough to move to his own vision for the title. Pity about the quality of that vision....
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 18, 2015 9:50 AM
Five stars for the rant alone!
Posted by: VtCG | March 2, 2018 2:42 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|