Monday, April 25, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #234

Digital comics are the future of comics, so say everyone on the internet and everyone trying to justify their purchase of an iPad and leveraging that into a desperate attempt to generate content for their blogs and stuff. It is in this spirit that the management at Witless Prattle launch the following new, exciting, weirdly specific and slightly iconoclastic feature.

So, my reviews of digital comics will be a little different. I did not use any of the various comics apps to read comics on the iPad. Mainly because I'm too cheap, I hardly read any new books and having 15 different apps for something like comics was a little too much like having a choice of 300 pairs of shoes when all I need right then is a comfy pair of slippers.

So I did it this way: Through the magic of "Foresight" I bought one of those Marvel DVDs where they stuck like 30 whole years of a character's run on one disc as PDFs and sold it. Of course, almost as soon as I did, Marvel stopped doing them because having that much archived Chuck Austen content is probably enough to qualify as a lethal concentration. Seriously, dude was everywhere in the 2000s.

I then moved the PDFs over to the Ipad. To better help with the linearity of this soon to be blog feature, it totally scrambled the running order, so we will be skipping around a lot. It will be nothing new to the people who read this, I imagine--whatever ever, the Prattle is not about being organised. It's not a complete run, it's not comprehensive, these are just Iron Man comics I like, they're on my iPad, and it's a handy thumb to the eye to all those wanna be futurists who think all we need to do to fix comics is save some trees.

The only drawback to these, I should add, is the big "MARVEL" watermark on the pages. But I found that you can do what I do with most Marvel comics these days and ignore it with practice.

That's enough preamble. Let's do this:

September 1988


Writers: David Michelenie & Bob Layton
Art: Jackson Guice & Bob Layton

At a somewhat thinly disguised CES in New York, Stark is showing off the new and improved Iron Man as an effort to shore up his companies reputation after the Armor Wars and take everyone's mind of his totally 80's permed mullet. In between that he has a look at Stane International's display, which is headed by some Chinese guy who seems to make everyone sick, including Peter Parker, who is there to cover the trade show and in no way shape or form a guest star shoehorned in for the benefit of sales.

While we're in the early days of working out what's wrong, Stark runs into his old security chief Vic Martinelli (who hasn't been seen for . . .geez, nearly five years at the time this was published) who ties up some lingering issues and additionally tips him off that All Is Not Well at his old company.

Meanwhile, in Subplots Corner, Kathy Dare shows up she and Tony have a meet cute. This will not end well.

Back at Stane, Spider-Man has worked out that Chinese-Guy-In-Sweater is actually Radioactive Man (No, not the one from the Simspons) and obviously, this is bad news. Stark pressures Martinelli to sneak him in to the compound and stop him, and he changes into Iron Man and stops Radioactive Man from harvesting Spidey's blood (spider blood spider blood radioactive spider blood) and any notions of stealth are chucked out the window as we get to fightin'

Eventually they seal him up in lead and part as chums, like you do.

This issue is from a period of time wherein the various subplots left over from the Armor Wars hum along in the background while new plots emerge (the Kathy Dare stuff) and we have time for a fun romp with Spider-Man. In other words, it works to a formula that, while a bit worn, is certainly effective for providing a satisfactory monthly installment in a continuing narrative.

The art is solid stuff--Layton provides the sleek, shiny tech stuff and Guice pencils insanely sexy women wherever possible, as was his wont at the time.

The permed mullet though? God, what a mistake.

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