Thursday, July 21, 2011

Didjutal Comiks: IRON MAN #248

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 #248
November 1989


Writers: David Michelenie & Bob Layton
Artists: Bob Layton (Pencils) Bob Layton (inks)

Sorry for a lack of Iron Man goodness yesterday--had some entertaining to do.

We begin with Iron Man losing his shit and about to smash the wheelchair he's been trapped in ever since Kathy Dare shot him until Rhodes whacks him in the head with a crowbar, which is the way I usually deal with hysterical people. Rhodes fills us in on what's happening--Stark is handing over control of Stark Enterprises to Marcy Pearson and stepping away from public life, have decided that since he can walk and stuff as Iron Man, he's willing to give up being Tony Stark.

Of course, before he can hand it over to Pearson, Abe Zimmer pages him and let him know that his "Tapeworm" (what we call a "search bot" in this day and age) has found something that might help to repair the damage--a bio-chip that instructs the cells to repair themselves. Stark gets about the business of securing the chip, but is resigned to the fact that it probably won't help.

On the way to meeting with the people who have it, Iron Man stops an Arab terrorist hijacking (we know they're Arabs because they're a sickly gray colour, meaning the Hulk was once Arab, apparently) and steals their guns with reverse magnetism. The passengers then jump on and beat the shit out of the terrorists as Iron Man salutes them because it's not like the terrorists would have had knives or suicide vests on or whatever and flies off. I can't help thinking this is terribly irresponsible, you know.

Anyways, Stark gallivants over to New York, and meets with the biochip people, then, when they refuse, buys their company. But while he owns the biochips, the people who can put them in him still refuse and, tries to work out what to do next. IF he could find a surgeon who owes him a solid, maybe he could get the biochip put in, he could get around it, but as it's not likely, his plans for Tony Stark to disappear are back on.

But first, he has to go to a court date--Kathy Dare (with former SE lawyer Bert Hindel in tow) is in court to determine if she should stand trial for attempted murder. Upon taking the stand, Dare immediately loses her shit and claims that Stark was drunk, constantly threatened her life, beat her up, and she finally shot him in self-defence.

Stark is understandably dismayed--true or not, it's a blow to his case and to him personally. When his lawyer comes up he calls a number of character witnesses to the stand to testify to Stark's character (including Sunturion, who recounts the story from the recent annual) and Stark starts feeling better--it's always good to have people puncture your negative self-image on a bad day, yeah?

In any event, a psychiatrist is called to testify who's overseen Dare's case for thirteen years, and recommended permanent institutionalization for her. This lead the judge to rule that Dare be held in the custody of the mental health board until she's not-crazy enough to stand trial. Stark, buoyed by the testimony of friends and acquaintances (none of whom mentioned his Permed Mullet of DOOM, bless them) decides not to back away and so Pearson's plans to take over are sidelined (this will ultimately comes back to bite everyone in the ass, but there you go) and decides that Tony Stark is the important person, Iron Man is just a toll to be used to get things done.

The hits keep coming, though--Rhodes has apparently been digging through back issues of Iron Man, and found Dr. Erica Sondheim, who owed him a favour and performs the operation and three pages later, Stark's up and about with the aid of a zimmer frame.

Portrait of an aborted plotline: We get the merest sketch of where things were going with the "Tony Stark shot" thing this issue, the issue, incidentally, where it all gets wrapped up more or less. Of course, it actually wasn't, because the biochip would have, at least theoretically, formed the spine (ha ha) of "Armor Wars II," until Layton skipped off to Valiant and John Byrne took over to the dismay of several. As such, this issue is a bit of a rush-job to slam the door on that plotline, clear the decks for Doctor Doom's return in #249-250, and, well, that's that.

It's not a bad issue, I guess, but it makes no effort to hide the brisk nature of its function.

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