Characters Appearing: Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Dr. Doom, Iron Man, War Machine
Marvel Fanfare #44
Issue(s): Marvel Fanfare #44
Steacy does take the first third of the story just to basically show off his art, starting with a tech demonstration scene with Iron Man fighting a robot controlled remotely by James Rhodes.
And then Iron Man getting hit with some gas (bypassing his suits triple redundancy) that causes him to freeze up and hallucinate.
But then the story starts in earnest. Ant-Man is called in to unlock Iron Man's armor.
Who can bypass Tony's triple-redundancy? Dr. Doom.
The tech that Stark was developing is to be unveiled at a tech consortium held in Latveria, so that is where Stark (and Rhodey and Lang/Ant-Man) head next. The expo is being held in Latveria because it is "a neutral republic, and Doom is footing the bill". It is mostly people in armored suits at the convention.
And the suits suddenly start going out of control. Iron Man immediately suspects Doom, and goes to confront him.
Doom claims that the other exo-skeletons are being infected by a virus that was created by accident in one of his labs. He also notes that the virus is being spread by Iron Man. The virus has a short lifespan, after which it freezes up the infected suit. But after that it is able to transfer itself to other systems.
When Iron Man threatens him, Dr. Doom attacks, but his suit suddenly malfunctions and freezes up. Doom's suit was supposed to be immune to the virus, but it seems to have mutated. The problem is that Doom's suit is powered by a micro-reactor that will cause a melt down and a nuclear explosion now that the suit is disabled. So Iron Man forces one of Doom's lackeys to reveal that the virus can be destroyed by a sub-harmonic frequency, and then Iron Man has Ant-Man shrink him down so that he can go into Doom's armor to reactivate it. Doom's armor's defenses are thought to be too much for Ant-Man to deal with.
In fact, Doom's defenses prove too much for Iron Man, and his suit gets disabled again. So now it is up to Rhodey, who takes control of Iron Man's suit remotely.
In the end, Dr. Doom never quite admits that he created the virus deliberately.
We have to leave Doom's actual motivations to our imagination (or accept that he really does believe in stirring up chaos for its own sake, which isn't how my Dr. Doom acts). But beyond that i think it's a nice little story. I like how it's so self contained, with Rhodey and Ant-Man getting to play a part in the story after their contributions were foreshadowed earlier. But mostly i like Steacy's art. Cartoony but still dark and moody (Steacy does colors too).
Now that i know that he can write well enough, i'm extra disappointed that Steacy was able to do so little for Marvel.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 50,840. Single issue closest to filing date = 47,800.
Quality Rating: B+
Historical Significance Rating: 1
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after Armor Wars, but while Dr. Doom is in control of Latveria. That winds up getting it pushed pretty far past publication date, after Fantastic Four #350 when Doom takes back control of his country. Iron Man appears out of his suit, so this would also have to take place after Iron Man #269 when Stark develops a neruo-net that allows him to move about while he's technically paralyzed. Iron Man says that Dr. Doom is more powerful than the last time that they met, but there's no footnote so that can refer to whichever last encounter happens to fall prior to this. The fact that Latveria is considered neutral territory is meant to be a reference to the Cold War, but it can still work in the post-Cold War period.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Heh, I never knew the Silver Centurion was upset that he never had a nose. Live and learn.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 6, 2015 3:16 PM
Per Ken Steacy in Back Issue #96: he was having deadline problems with this story, so he asked Steve Leialoha to ink the last 16 pages(uncredited).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 14, 2017 10:54 AM
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