May 23, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 818: Iron Man #187, October 1984

https://www.comics.org/issue/39201/

So we jump 70 issues, in to the 80s, and all of a sudden James Rhodes is Iron Man. This is the Iron Man I was originally introduced to. The first West Coast Avengers series was one of the first series I ever collected, and Rhodey had just become Iron Man at that point. As I noted yesterday, the reason for this is that Tony Stark has accepted, and started dealing with, his drinking problem. There's a nice two or three panel sequence in this issue of Stark musing on "being thirsty," and then walking away from a bar that he's strolling past. It's a small moment, but one that speaks to the daily struggle that is very often the life of an addict.

Story-wise, this is a relatively straight forward tale - villain escapes from prison and threatens a small town if Iron Man doesn't present himself for vengeance. Of course, IM and his team figure out the source of the villain's powers and defeat him. It's the last part of the story about Vibro (an unfortunate villain name if ever there was one, and probably a future Scourge victim), and it has about it the feel of an epilogue. The art by Luke McDonnell is...well, it's a bit awkward, actually. There's one or two shots of Iron Man flying away and he really seems like he doesn't know what to do with his body. This could be a narrative choice, I suppose, but Rhodey simply doesn't seem like the kind of character that would hold himself awkwardly, whether flying through the air or standing on the ground, so these moments where the red and gold body looks somewhat askew are quite off-putting.

I'll keep on trucking through Iron Man this week. I've got a short run of the Michelinie-penned stuff coming up, so perhaps I'll draw our look at the golden Avenger out a little longer than a week. But I'm kind of hoping to spend at least a week over the next little while on iconic characters. The Hulk, John Constantine, some others that have become more available to me since my rearrangement of the collection.

To be continued.

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