Iron Man # 127 (October 1979) "A Man's Home is his Battlefield!" Writer/Plot: David Michelinie Pencil Art: John Romita Jr. Finished Art/Plot: Bob Layton Karen: This second issue in our review starts us off right with a great cover, with Iron Man pounding his way through a dozen or more villains. The inside is more of the same. Hammer throws a ton of minor leaguers at Shellhead, and he proceeds to tear them apart. When Discus -yes, Discus - attacks Stark, he's as incredulous as the reader: "Oh come on! I'm Iron Man, remember? My whole gamut of powers began with reverse magnetism..." Iron Man almost gleefully tears through second stringer after second stringer. When he tore the wings off the Beetle, I had to laugh. These pages were flat out fun.
Doug: The entire time I was reading this, I was thinking of the Scourge storyline that began in Iron Man #194 and ran through Captain America and other titles several years after this. It was repeatedly occurring to me that what Scourge did was a public service! Wow, was there some chaff in the Marvel Super-baddie Universe!
Karen: Just as it looks like IM has things going his way, Hammer pulls a trick out of his hat: he starts moving the island! It turns out his massive floating home is also equipped with huge jets that lift and propel the island across the sea, headed for international waters. Desperate to prevent Hammer from escaping with the evidence that will clear him of the murder of the ambassador, Iron Man launches himself straight at the center of the island! This splits it in two, and as it begins to sink, Stark somehow locates the computer programmer who engineered his frame-up.
Doug: The panel where Shellhead has the guy suspended way, way up in the sky over the ocean was very reminiscent of a couple of Batman scenes: in The Dark Knight Returns, when Batman holds a stooge out over a gargoyle above the Gotham City skyline, and in the 1989 Batman movie when Michael Keaton holds a mugger over the ledge of a rooftop and utters the famous line, "I want you to tell all your friends... I'm Batman!" Karen: Once the evidence and the programmer are turned over to the authorities, Iron Man is soon cleared of the murder. However, an encounter with a small girl, who runs terrified of the killer of "that nice fat man on TV", puts Tony into a tailspin. He still harbors guilt over the death even though he was not responsible for it.
Doug: Michelinie and Layton have done a nice job addressing the psychological aspects of Tony's illness. The incredible high, the over-running self-confidence during the brawl on Hammer's island transitions immediately to the scene you mention. It's a quick bottoming out. I also thought it was a nice line, bringing home again Tony's mental state, that every time Tony sleeps he sees the ambassador's face. Good, thorough, writing.
Karen: Tony begins drinking heavily. He misses a date with Bethany, but assumes she stood him up. In a drunken stupor, he picks up a floozy and actually brings her to Avengers Mansion, where he angrily yells at the faithful Jarvis. The next day, a hungover Stark is shocked when Jarvis resigns! He is left staring at a bottle of whiskey.
Doug: The mood swings, the violence (if only in speech), the unreliability, placing blame on others -- deflecting that accountability to self and others, the repetitive behaviors, the down-spiraling self-destruction... for a funny-book, this storyline is very mature. It's a lesson for young readers, and I hope it changed a life along the line or at least served as a warning in its time. Powerful stuff. This is really one of the notable storylines of the Bronze Age, and its creators are to be praised for attacking such a sensitive subject.
Karen: I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book - there's really nothing to complain about as far as I'm concerned. We get some great action in the beginning, some character development, and some foreshadowing of what's to come. I should also point out that Tony's troubles have been building longer than just these two issues we've reviewed - we just didn't want to review 6-8 Iron Man books to the exclusion of everything else! Doug: I agree. Each of these issues have been interesting in that they are essentially two-in-ones. In #126, we had the long recap of the previous issues, and then the time on Hammer's island. In this issue, it was the finish on the island, and then Tony's issues with the bottle. In each case, it's been an effective storytelling method.
Karen: We know what's coming. Stark faces his greatest enemy -himself!
Karen has joined the ranks of podcasters along with her friends Larry and Bob on the Planet 8 podcast. Click on the image to hear them explore all things geek!
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Karen and Doug
Bronze Age Babies, Unite!
On Sunday, 4/23/17, Martinex1, Doug, and Redartz gathered for a day of fun at C2E2 in Chicago. It was great to finally meet in person after years of online cameraderie.
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Karen and Doug met on the Avengers Assemble! message board back in September 2006. On June 16 2009 they went live with the Bronze Age Babies blog, sharing their love for 1970s and '80s pop culture with readers who happen by each day. You'll find conversations on comics, TV, music, movies, toys, food... just about anything that evokes memories of our beloved pasts!
Doug is a high school social science teacher and department chairman living south of Chicago; he also does contract work for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is married with two adult sons, also both married.
Karen originally hails from California and now works in scientific research/writing in the Phoenix area. She often contributes articles to Back Issue magazine. She is married. She hangs out with Joe Biden occasionally.
Believe it or not, the Bronze Age Babies have never spoken to each other...
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Dig Karen's Work Here? Then You Should Check Her Out in Back Issue!
BI #44 is available for digital download and in print. I've read Karen's article on reader reaction to Gerry Conway's ASM #121-122, and it's excellent. This entire magazine was fun! -- Doug
Back Issue #45
As if Karen's work on Spidey in the Bronze Age wasn't awesome enough, she's at it again with a look at the romance of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch in Back Issue's "Odd Couples" issue -- from TwoMorrows!
Karen's talking the Mighty Thor in the Bronze Age!
Click the cover to order a print or digital copy of Back Issue! #53