Thursday, May 5, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #219

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 #219

June 1987

"Ghost Story"

Writer: David Michelinie & Bob Layton

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

Tony Stark starts the day with a brisk jog along the beach, catches up on some plot threads and nearly gets some trim--or, more accurately, gets some trim to nearly pick him up until Rhodey flies in with his helicopter which somehow has a functioning shower on board. Bet Airwolf never had that.

On their way to a new company Stark is headhunting--Accutech--they see a brush fire heading right for the complex (because California, right?) Stark armours up and puts the fire out and man the Silver Centurion suit was so damn cool.

I also notice that Josh Brolin was in the movie "Thrashin'"--perhaps the least exciting skateboarding movie ever. Yeah, I can see it was a straight line from that to "No Country For Old Men." This has nothing to do with anything, really--it just struck me.

Anyways--Accutech. Stark is planning to buy them out for their beta-particle technology and Accutech is eager to sell because they're teetering on the edge opf bankruptcy thanks to a series of accidents that one of Accutech's people--Abe Zimmer--blames on something he calls "The Ghost." As in the best of these stories, everyone chalks it up to Zimmer being a harmless crank/full of shit. Well, everyone except the Ghost, who politely e-mails him to shut up or die.

Back at Stark Enterprises, things are in a right state--the secretary can't control things, and Stark has over-extended himself trying to buy Accutech. He gets his loan and buys the company and soon enough, he's rumbling with the Ghost, who can turn invisible, phase through walls, and has a somewhat theatrical bent.

Iron Man gives chase and tries to corner the Ghost, but it's much easier less said than done when the guy can walk through walls and has a thing for throwing explosives around the way people at Mardi Gras throw beads, and he's able to escape. Having seen with his own eyes what this guy is capable of, Stark offers Zimmer a job with SE and the Ghost vows that he and Iron Man will have a round 2.

Oh, the Ghost. Man, I always liked his original look before Marvel brought him back as a poor man's Johann Krauss and boiled down his characterisation to Generic Comics Amoral Psycho #21A. He's actually one of the few Iron Man villains that hasn't dated horribly and always works--he's a nobody who destroys corporations out of some sort of compulsion that's never reliably explained. He makes for an effective villain and a good foil for Iron Man because he's totally not interested, nor deems it necessary to have a punch-up with Iron Man--he wants to sabotage his shit and leave.

This is a good issue--the reveal of the ghost is rather effectively teased, and when we finally see him, he more than lives up to the hype. The Ghost will actually cut quite a formidable swath of destruction through his time in the book, most especially a couple issues from now.

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