May 06, 2013

Michelinie/Layton nab top 3 Iron Man stories of all-time

Comic Book Resources has the Top 25 Greatest Iron Man Stories Ever up, and thank goodness the fans showed some plain 'ol good common sense. Well, for the most part, that is. As the post title notes, Iron God-Men David Michelinie and Bob Layton claim the top three spots with "Demon in a Bottle" (#1), "Armor Wars" (#2) and "Doomquest" (#3). Admittedly I haven't read any of the recent entries (approx. 2005-present) so I cannot make an informed judgment. I have heard a good amount of praise for writer Matt Fraction's run on the title, and he has a few spots on the list.

But here's some that had me shaking my head a lot (or a little):

  • "Armor Wars 2" (#13). While not a bad story, Bob Layton was actually supposed to write the script (John Byrne ended up doing it). Creative issues with Marvel screwed up the Layton idea, so what we got was some dude named DeWitt unleashing a plan to "hijack" Tony Stark's body. Recall that quite a few issues back, Stark had an artificial nervous system put in his body. DeWitt makes use of this, programming the nervous system to do his bidding!

    But LOOK! Layton's (and Michelinie's) "AW2" has now seen print!! (I'd get it, but Layton filled me in on the entire plot many years ago ...!)

  • "The Mask in the Iron Man” (#11). I've consistently opined that this story is way overrated, probably because then-Marvel head guy Joe Quesada wrote it. In my view, only the art of Sean Chen saves it (the issues that he actually draws, including the climax), and Quesada used this yarn for even sillier spin-offs, including the ridiculous Sons of Yinsen crap. In this story, the Iron Man armor becomes sentient, and that doesn't bode well for Tony.

  • "Iron Monger" (#4). The narrative says this is issues #190-200; however, aside from #192 where Tony Stark returns to the armor -- briefly -- to take on pal Jim Rhodes (who's been filling the role of IM while Stark was busy being a drunk), #190-199 suck. #200 could occupy this #4 spot all alone as it's one of the best single issues in title history. In it, Stark finally takes Obadiah Stane on head-to-head -- in a spectacular all-new armor, the Silver Centurion. All-out action with cool new armor weapons and defenses, this ish has it all.

  • "Ghost in the Machine" (#16). A decent Michelinie/Layton story which intros a pretty cool villain -- the Ghost -- this ranks too high, IMHO. There's nothing especially noteworthy in these issues other than some corporate intrigue and a baddie who gives Shellhead a hard time.

Posted by Hube at May 6, 2013 07:21 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I don't know all of these stories, but the inclusion of Iron Man 17-23 (the Tony Stark LMD and Madame Masque) among the greatest IM stories of all time strikes me as an attempt to get in something out of every era rather than to assess the very best stories.

If you really wanted to go back into that era for something special, why not IM #5, "Frenzy in a farflung future"? Archie Goodwin nicely anticipates (in 1968!) key elements from the Terminator/Skynet future, and although the early Tuska art left me somewhat cold at the time, it grows on me now.

Posted by: Steve Newton at May 7, 2013 07:55 PM

Amen, Steve! I absolutely LOVE Iron Man #5 -- way ahead of its time, although it's yet another "computer takes over world" scenario that didn't anticipate the incredible miniaturization that we've seen in the computer industry.

And I also concur with what you said about #17-23.

Posted by: Hube at May 8, 2013 07:28 AM

So where's your review of Iron Man 3? I know you've seen it by now and I'm dying to compare reactions.

Posted by: Steve Newton at May 9, 2013 04:39 PM

I have NOT seen it yet! End of school and now a minor health issue is mucking up the works. :-(

Posted by: Hube at May 9, 2013 04:45 PM

OK then I will keep my trap shut other than to tell you that the kids and I are going to see it again this weekend.

THAT should tell you something.

Posted by: Steve Newton at May 9, 2013 05:24 PM

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