Iron Man #52-53
Issue(s): Iron Man #52, Iron Man #53
One of the advantages of solar power is that he'll never have to drag himself to a wall outlet again.
Between the new suit, the shift in his company away from munitions, and the fact that he's dumped his deadweight fiancee Marianne Rodgers, things are looking up for Tony Stark. In fact, he's even given up drinking.
The beginning of this issue is just dedicated to Tony having a good time.
He still should have to be wearing the chest plate, though, so he can't be having that good a time.
As for Marianne, she seems to have landed on her feet...
...but that's not quite the case.
Hey, does that guy really mean "clown" or "clone"? The two generic lab workers look like identical twins. But the important thing to note is that Marianne gets taken away to a mental hospital.
The downtime stuff with Stark and the invention of the new armor is actually a nice change of pace, but from there we get back into Friedrich continuing the Gerry Conway tradition of bizarre pseudo-mystical storylines. Something about a girl falling in love with a "lowly forest ranger" and her "brother", a fire powered cult mystic named Raga, going nuts about it.
Starlin is credited with "additional pencils" for issue #52. I'm going to bet that he didn't draw this panel:
Iron Man continues to fight Raga.
We're also introduced to his mentor, the Black Lama. Raga was a student that fell in love with an Indian girl, but she didn't love him back. When he followed her back to India, he found that she was already married. After he flew into a violent rage (possibly killing the husband), he was approached by the Lama, who taught him occult stuff.
The Lama is now displeased with Raga because the Raga's own pupils are getting out of line, but Iron Man shows up to prevent Raga from "disciplining" them. The Lama ("in Doc Strange's league", according to Iron Man) doesn't get directly involved in the fight, but he does cause some psychedelic stuff to happen.
Raga is ultimately killed in a landslide, but the Black Lama will return to torment Iron Man (and us) with the abominable War of the Super-villains.
The art is kind of a mess, and Raga is uninteresting. The Black Lama may potentially have been interesting, but i'm unable to be objective about it since i know how his story turns out. I do like that panel where Iron Man is pulling Raga's hair, though.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place the first 3 pages of issue #52, where Iron Man builds his new solar armor, prior to Avengers #105-109. The rest of the issue takes place after #109; i've placed the arc based on the majority of the story. The story takes place over the course of "days". Iron Man next appears in Iron Man #54, on his way home from the events of this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Masterworks: Invincible Iron Man vol. 8 (#53 is an original)
This is the second time in a row that Friedrich has used Iron Man to plug his Ant-Man stories with the flimsiest of excuses.
Posted by: Michael | December 21, 2014 7:14 PM
I think "sister" is meant here as in "cult-member" rather than biology.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 22, 2014 11:38 AM
Good point. I've put brother in quotes.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 22, 2014 12:09 PM
The three demons Marianne envisions seem kind of reminiscent of three demons the Lama conjures before Raga. (They could be the same entities drawn somewhat inconsistently.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 23, 2014 4:26 AM
I think that's probably deliberate, considering Marianne's later role in the War of the Super-Villains and her unintentional mental connection with the Black Lama.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | October 3, 2017 10:34 AM
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