Thursday, May 12, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #132

Digital comics are the future of comics, so says 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 continues the following new, exciting, weirdly specific and slightly iconoclastic feature.

Iron Man #132

March 1980

"The Man Who Would Be Hulk"

Writer: David Michelinie & Bob Layton

Artists: Jerry Bingham (pencils) Bob Layton (inks)

Bruce Banner is kinda losing his shit and freaking Tony Stark and Scott Lang out by talking like the Hulk even though he's Bruce Banner. It turns out it's all therapy intended to cure him, but we know how all that's going to end, so it's just set-up for the main plot of this issue.

Meanwhile, in Subplots Corner, a guy with a metal fist smashes his TV screen because the Unicorn failed to destroy Iron Man back in #113, and to really let us know how old-school his villainy is he even says "Bah!" To throw us off the trail, the character in question is mis-coloured, but it's actually Titanium Man, who . . .well, we'll get to the rather . . .odd . . .Titanium/Unicorn relationship when that issue comes up, huh?

Back in the A plot, the Banner freaks out and Hulks up because this is page 10 and books didn't fuck around back then. Iron Man flies off and, lacking any special armour, gets the shit beat out of him (No, Busiek did not write this book--I did that joke yesterday, quit trying to scroll up) Various collateral damage ensues because, y'know, the Hulk, and ultimately Iron Man puts him out by putting all his power into a single punch (we know it's powerful because it hits on a splash page) which kayos the Hulk . . .and incidentally locks Stark in completely depowered armour which sets up Ant-Man gallumphing through the armour next issue.

Following the cliffhanger, there's an ad for Crazy magazine. Did anyone read Crazy? I mean, I did, and I have a copy (when they re-lettered the Dark Phoenix issues and turned into into something hilarious/insane) but so far as I know it has fallen into that gap of collective amnesia that grips people when something has happened, but no one remembers or will admit it, like watching Pink Lady and Jeff.

There's also an ad for Star Trek: The Slow-Motion Picture on the back cover. If you dreamed of seeing your heroes on a big screen wearing scrubs and staring at a TV screen for two and a half hours, this was your Woodstock, I guess. In space.

This issue is a slugfest with the Hulk, which means it follows a certain formula--namely, Hulk rampages, hero fights him, writers connive a scenario wherein neither character looks bad when the fight ends inconclusively, and this issue mostly succeeds in doing that because Iron Man lays him out with ultra-badassitude.

It's also one of the thinnest issues ever in terms of plotting, as Michelinie and Layton usually have at least three things ticking over and this barely has two. It's . . .all right, but if you've read more than 5 comics featuring the Hulk, you've probably seen this more than a few times at this point.

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