Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #150

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 #150
September 1981


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

How very Witless Prattle that we did the sequel to this story the week before we did the original. Oh, if this place were any more ass-backwards, it'd be forwards.

Anyways, thanks to some time-travel chicanery, Iron Man and Dr. Doom have found themselves lobbed back in time to Camelot, and are immediately mistaken for two knight (because of the armour, natch) and Doom, already impatient with this, decides to get medieval on some medieval ass.

This leads to them being brought before King Arthur, who, after a few bits of noise, tells them to consider themselves honoured guests . . .provided they don't leave the castle. Stark takes this opportunity to get laid, of course, and Doom hypnotises his serving wench (because he's not one for pillow talk, one assumes) and divines the location of the castle of Morgan LeFey. Ever the stealthy manipulator behind the scenes, Doom blasts a couple holes in the wall and flies off because that's just how he rolls.

Iron Man stops by King Arthur for some exposition about Morgan LeFey is and she's bad news--apparently she got locked in her own castle, but also caused Merlin to go into the Merlinsleep, which means should Doom decide to throw in his lot with Morgan (like there's any doubt about that?) they won't really have an effective counterweight against it. Iron Man volunteers to fight Doom, and we're getting set up for the big fight.

Doom visits Morgan and exposits some more--Doom's been on a magical magician tour, trying to learn from the most powerful sorcerers and sorceresses in history in an effort to learns how to free his mother from hell, or as we know it today--Parma, Ohio. Morgan's down with this, but asks only one thing in return--Doom must kill King Arthur. Morgan has an army of zombies at her command--she has a chip of Excalibur, which has a connection to everyone ever killed with the sword, you see--and Doom leads this army against Arthur.

Iron Man flies out to meet him and the fight, they say, is on like neckbone. The battle is pretty pitched--Iron Man holds back his heavier weapons because he wouldn't have a place to recharge if he went all-out. Deciding there's little to be gained in battle with Doom and his army, Iron Man flies to Morgan's castle to deal with the problem at the source. Iron Man gets his ass kicked with magic for a few pages (and gets several opportunities to expound at length about how much he hates magic) Morgan vows vengeance on Iron Man, until she disappears, claiming she's going to study how best to deal with him, which immediately short-circuits the zombie army.

Doom is less than pleased about this and vows to kill him some day. But first, they have to work together to get back to the present. So they disassemble their armours to make some kind of time travelling doodad and get themselves back to the future. Doom vows vengeance again and they walk on, not unlike Jack and Diane.

When people think of "classic" Iron Man issues, this is typically what they're talking about. It's frankly pretty awesome, really--the detail on in the fight scenes is amazing and makes great use of the double-page spreads, which were fairly rare in the Shooter era, you understand. The actual plot doesn't make a desperate amount of sense, as we're told what's going to happen, and then things happen counter to that with no explanation, but the point of the issue is to have a fun romp with Iron Man and Dr. Doom, who really hadn't fought that much (if at all, really) up to this point.

John Romita Jr. (who isn't JRJR stylistically just yet) does an amazing job with with the art and Bob Layton gives it his usual high-tech sheen. However loose the plotting might be, there's no disputing that the art is firing on all cylinders.

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