Characters Appearing: Captain America, Falcon, Guardsman (Kevin O'Brien), Hawkeye, Iron Man, Jasper Sitwell, Marianne Rodgers, Nick Fury, Redwing, Thor
Iron Man #39-40
Issue(s): Iron Man #39, Iron Man #40
This character is not to be confused with the White Dragon that later has a few run-ins with Spider-Man, and i wonder if that version knows that his name means "He who is a coward".
This White Dragon's scheme is lifted from the Manchurian Candidate. He kidnaps Tony Stark and brainwashes him, with a goal of having Stark devise some new weapon and deploy it at a United Nations conference on Peace, Love, and Understanding. But the White Dragon doesn't initially count on Tony Stark also being Iron Man, and it turns out that the Iron Man armor dulls the mind control effect. In fact, the disappearance of Stark's brain signal combined with the arrival of Iron Man in the sky causes the White Dragon to panic, and he releases a horde of his goons to stop him. Iron Man has no idea what's going on.
The battle winds up on the doorstep of Avengers Mansion, so they come out to help.
Everybody's mouths look weird in that panel. The shading in Cap's mouth makes it look like he's sticking his tongue out.
Also interesting to see Falcon included among the Avengers here. He was also with them in the Psyklop story in Avengers #88 and Hulk #140. I wonder if he was actually considered a member of the team at this point. We don't get to see him actually participate in the fight, though.
Falcon does usurp Hawkeye-Goliath's usual role of being the sass-mouth.
The Avengers just let the addled Iron Man wander off, and Iron Man has another fainting spell again. He's helped by Kevin O'Brien. At this point White Dragon, who has generally been pretty incompetent so far, figures out that Iron Man is Tony Stark. So give him some points for that, even though learning it is obviously a death sentence.
During issue #40, Marianne Rodgers, Tony's ESP-gifted girlfriend, has a premonition. She calls Tony's office but gets Kevin O'Brien, who doesn't want Marianne to know that Tony's in trouble as Iron Man, so he tells her that Tony is "off at some drinkin' party". When she hangs up, Kevin thinks to himself that she's a "crazy woman".
Speaking of crazy people, here's what Tony remembers having happened to him.
The White Dragon is actually getting prodded along by a woman. There's actually a whole story behind these characters where they're part of a Council of Nine and the White Dragon was kicked out for being too wimpy, and the woman is the daughter of the leader of the council. She's secretly still working for her father, manipulating the White Dragon into acting.
But things don't really work out, because Stark decides not to go to the UN to give the speech (even though it makes Nick Fury mad).
The most important development in this issue is the fact that Stark says he intended to reveal at the speech that he's going to get out of the weapons business.
Eventually Iron Man kind of stumbles onto the people that are manipulating him.
The White Dragon kills himself and his girlfriend when he finds out he's been manipulated.
Meanwhile, Kevin O'Brien, charged with building the weapon from the blueprint that the White Dragon gave Tony Stark (even when mind-controlled, Stark knows the importance of delegation), discovers a microchip, and fakes an explosion so that the bad guys will think they were successful.
I kind of feel like i've failed you with this review. I somehow managed to make it seem like it all makes sense, but it really doesn't. Stark gets brainwashed at the beginning, and then basically nothing happens for two issues except for some headaches and moaning until Stark more or less accidentally foils the bad guys' plot. The bad guys are offensive both in the sense of being racial stereotypes and also just because they are hastily defined, with a lengthy expository backstory inserted that nonetheless gives them nothing but the most generic of motives.
On top of that, both Herb Trimpe and George Tuska's art is pretty awful here, with the faces of their Asian characters sometimes getting really bad.
Forgive the blurry scan here, but i wanted to show something from the Marvel Masterworks reprint. This book was published at a time when Marvel was putting story pages on the same pages as ads; story on the top, ads on the bottom. For reprints, normally they just take those two half pages and put them together on a single page. But this particular scan is a (not particularly impressive) double page spread. So since it wasn't possible to put half the picture on the bottom of the page, they reprinted it across the top, and replaced the ads with Iron Man placeholder images.
A little goofy but kind of cool, and definitely shows the care that Marvel put into the reprints. Of course if you didn't know about the ads, it might seem a little weird.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has the Avengers here after their appearance in Avengers #88 and Hulk #140 (possibly due to the Falcon's inclusion, but it's not too far off from publication date anyway). The intro to this story, with Stark visiting Jasper Sitwell in the hospital and then getting brainwashed by the White Dragon, takes place a week prior to the rest of the story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Masterworks: Invincible Iron Man vol. 8
The next issue blurb from #39 promises a story titled "Death, Thy name is Brother!" Marvel used the title a few years later in THOR #268. It might be a play on the title "Man, Thy Name Is--Brother!" from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #57.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | December 16, 2016 4:54 PM
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