Monday, March 10, 2014

IRON MAN #148

"SIEGE!"
Plot/Writer: David Michelinie | Co-Plot-Finished Art: Bob Layton
Pencil Art: John Romita, Jr. | Letters: Joe Rosen | Colors: Bob Sharen
Editor: Jim Salicrup | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: In the Central American country of Costa Diablo, a Stark International office is invaded by revolutionaries, and the installation's staff are taken prisoner. Iron Man travels to Costa Diablo on a rescue mission, and after getting most of the staff out with Rhodey's aid, he invades the presidential palace to spring the Costa Diablo division head, Ricardo Pruz. But when he finally reaches the building's head office, he learns that Pruz was the true leader of the revolution, having embezzled funds and resources from Stark to arm his people.

Iron Man departs in defeat, cautioning Pruz to watch his back, lest he be betrayed just as he betrayed Tony Stark. And just a few days later, Mr. Pithins shows Stark an article reporting that Pruz was executed as a traitor by his own right hand man, General Caligerra.
Continuity Notes: When we first catch up with Tony this issue, he is on a wilderness excursion to the Canadian Rockies with Yvette and Jarvis, where he tells Yvette that he's worried about Bethany following her mysterious departure.

Following the fire last issue, everyone who would normally be housed in Stark's administration building is instead working out of temporary offices.

In order to conserve his armor's systems en route to Costa Diablo, Iron Man travels in an Avengers quinjet. Captain America puts in a cameo appearance, cautioning Iron Man against compromising American foreign policy -- and reminding readers that Iron Man is still a member of the Avengers! It's hard to believe, but at this point not a single Avenger had appeared in this title since issue #125, two years previous, when the Avengers were worried about Tony's drinking problem.
However, two years in real time was much less for Iron Man, as our hero notes that it's only been "a few months" since his encounter with Namor in issues 120-121.

When he arrives in Costa Diablo, Iron man enters the Stark facility via a secret entrance, one of many he has installed at various offices around the world to conceal Iron Man's comings and goings.
My Thoughts: This story seems to be somewhat inspired by the Iranian hostage crisis (which would have ended earlier in the year the issue was released), though with Central America as the backdrop instead of the Middle East. Which is fine, though I can't help feeling the hostage incident would've been a little too fresh in people's minds at the time. But maybe I'm wrong. Unlike, say September 11th -- and not to belittle what the hostages went through -- the hostage crisis eventually had what could be called a "happy ending".*

Anyway, the story itself is all right, though I figured out the twist regarding Pruz fairly early on. Overall, I felt like Michelinie and Layton knew they wanted to do Dr. Doom in their big 150th issue, and that they would need one issue before that to set it up, so they had to kill a month before, and came up with this. And if that's the case, I can't help feeling I would've rather just seen another full sub-plot issue with some token Iron Man action. At least then I would've felt like something noteworthy had occurred.

* Note: All references to the Iranian hostage crisis above are drawn from knowledge provided by the film ARGO and a quick skim of the incident's Wikipedia page. Since I was like two years old when it happened.

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