May 21, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 816: Iron Man Annual #4, 1977

https://www.comics.org/issue/31333/

Today's comic (actually, like a couple of the BnV ones from last week) is part of a subset of the collection that belongs to my lovely wife. For a long while these comics were kept separately in a cute little comic box that her parents must have made for her, but they've since found their way into the larger Giant Box of Comics collection. Though, they're still under her name in my database.

Iron Man has never been one of my favourite Marvel characters. The recent films have been pretty good, and whenever Stark is on the Avengers, I've enjoyed his presence, but for me he's a bit like Batman. I like Bruce when he's in JLA adventures, but his solo stuff, Morrison's run aside, leaves me a bit cold. There are definitely characters in both the Marvel and DC universes that function better when they're held in juxtaposition to other heroes, or that blossom when part of a team. Iron Man, in my opinion, is one of these characters.

Though the comic doesn't explicitly state it, I think this story comes in part way through a longer tale. Iron Man is tracking M.O.D.O.K. and A.I.M., and recruits new superhero team The Champions to help him. We don't actually see Tony Stark's face in this issue, as he spends the entire story encased in his armour. And The Champions are a weird mixed bag of a super-team. I don't really know all that much about them, but I don't think they lasted much past the end of the Seventies.

I don't really know what to say about this story. It was a strange amalgamation of little stories, with the team splitting up to investigate three possible M.O.D.O.K. locations, only to be called back to Iron Man's original point of investigation, where the invisible enemy had been hiding all along. There is one sequence that struck me. It was amusing, but not in a way that the creators were intending, I think. Part of the action takes place in the giant Redwood forests along the Californian coast. Hercules and the Black Widow are struck by the beauty of the place, Herc even claiming that the forest is blessed by the gods. They're then attacked, and what's the first thing Hercules does? He tears an entire, probably 500-year old Redwood out of the ground and starts pounding on the bad guys with it.

*sigh*

It is, I suppose, in keeping with the character, but the immediate switch from reverence to destruction was kind of darkly funny.

I'll get into some of the regular series over the next week. Iron Man Week. Sounds good.

To be continued.

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