Thursday, June 2, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #147

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, exciting, weirdly specific and slightly iconoclastic feature.

Iron Man #147
June 1981

"Holocaust at High Noon!"

Writers: David Michelenie & Bob Layton
Artists: John Romita, Jr. (pencils) Bob Layton (inks)

So Blacklash has done more damage to Stark International than one guy with a whip named after a mascara, and it was all to get at Stark's head of security, Vic Martinelli. So naturally, this is an excellent time to argue it all out now that Stark Internation is, y'know, burning to ground.

Iron Man shuts Blacklash up with a repulsor (honestly, he's a guy with a whip. Iron Man can blast things from God only knows how many places on his armour. How did you think this was gonna turn out?) and the rest of the issue pretty much plays out like your standard disaster movie--we have little vignettes of some of the supporting cast trying to save people from the house burning down while people on their way to work say "Baby what do you expect?"

This goes on for a couple pages until Blacklash decides he's tired of being unconscious and wants to start some shit again with Martinelli, and gets a face full of fire extinguisher for his trouble. Blacklash decides he's had enough of this shit and vows to return and Iron Man uses a tanker car full of Long Island Sound water (er, ew.) to douse the fire and with the immediate crisis over with, it's time for some exposition.

Martinelli, you see, testified against the Maggia and was given a new identity under the Witness Protection Program. (This was, apparently, one of those rare times that the Comic Book Mafia acted more like Real Mafia rather than buggering about with robots) Since them he'd kept a low profile until a photo was accidentally leaked out and that's how Blacklash found him. Stark says he'll take care of it.

We cut back to Blacklash who has the most blatant Jean Harlow manque ever annoying him while he's playing with his whip (yes of course it's approved by the Comics Code) and the Maggia goons call in and put the screws to him to finish the job with Martinelli. Blacklash, ever the obedient mook, goes after him again.

Unfortunately for Blacklash, this means he's wandered into a trap, and gets punched out by Iron Man again trying to get to Martinelli, and Iron Man says "OK, enough of that bullshit) and starts beating Blacklash down even harder. Blacklash has a trick up his sleeve (literally) however--his necro-lash is strong enough to chip Iron Man's armour. So Iron Man decides to do a bit of cracking the whip himself and throws Blacklash into a wall. Iron Man dumps him back with the Maggia and tells them to leave Martinelli alone or he'll kick their collective asses. We end with Stark and Martinelli bonding over picture framing.

So . . .not the worst issue ever minted, but certainly a lesser light. Unless you really care about the evolution of Whiplash to Blacklash, this really means frighteningly little, as whatever he called himself, Blacklash's role in life was just to give Iron Man's fist a pillowy resting place when he threw a punch. But the Vic Martinelli stuff is interesting (I always thought it was a shame that Iron Man's supporting cast dwindled and then pissed away like that. Of course, now supporting casts are other superheroes and . . .yeah, I've done that rant) and the supporting cast each gets a panel or two to be heroic, so it's a pleasant enough diversion, I guess.

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