Monday, January 27, 2014


Plot: Peter John Palmer | Script: David Michelinie
Layouts: Alan Weiss | Finishes: Bob Wiacek
Letters: John Costanza | Colors: Ben Sean | Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Tony Stark arrives in London to investigate an incident of theft and sabotage at the British division of Stark Enterprises. He soon meets a villain named Endotherm, who uses heat and cold based technology, and who easily bests him (as Iron Man) in battle.

The next night, Endotherm returns to challenge Iron Man a second time, now with the intention of killing him. But Iron man has prepared a defense against Endotherm's power, and emerges the victor. Upon unmasking his foe, Iron Man learns that Endotherm was actually the security chief at S.I. U.K., who had a psychotic break and decided the only way to keep his pension was by killing Tony Stark.

Continuity Notes: The story opens with Tony flirting with Sybil Carmichal, a British publisher who wants to do Tony's autobiography. They make a date and share a kiss, and Tony thinks to himself that "Big Ben isn't going to be the only one getting his chimes rung this trip."
...Doesn't Tony have a girlfriend back home? He and Bethany have seemed pretty serious lately. But then again, on their date a couple issues back, Bethany indicated that "there aren't any shackles on our relationship." So maybe they're free to see other people? Or maybe Tony is just playing Don Draper on his business trip. At any rate, it seems peculiar behavior for a kids' hero/role model.

My Thoughts: Another business trip and another "fill-in that isn't quite a fill-in". Layton takes the month off, but Michelinie is here to script, however it's over another's plot. I have no idea who Peter John Palmer is, and from what I can find online, this is the only Marvel comic he ever worked on. Was he a friend of the editor, or something?

The story isn't bad, but it's a little simplistic. I could tell the security chief was going to turn out to be Endotherm from the villain's first appearance. If you introduce your mystery character after setting up one single suspect, chances are that's who it's gonna turn out to be. And the whole psychotic break came off as ill-researched, like a kid's idea of how such a thing could happen. Stark's security chief is so afraid of losing his pension that he figures the only way to keep it is by killing the head of the company, so he can't be fired. Is that really how these things work?

Alan Weiss's layouts are fine, and Bob Wiacek, who I like as an inker, does a decent job here, but Bob Layton's touch is missed. Layton brings such a gloss and energy to his finishes on IRON MAN that any other art team just looks wrong in comparison. The work is fine, but Iron Man isn't shiny enough, and the people aren't as glamorous as they should be.

Anyway, the story isn't awful. It's certainly much better than that awful trip to Hong Kong six issues ago. When Iron Man has cause to use his roller skates, it's hard to complain too much.

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