Sunday, April 13, 2014


Having completed my reviews of the David Michelinie/Bob Layton IRON MAN run the other day, I thought I'd take a bit of time to write about the actual book itself. As I noted some time back, this book is officially the IRON MAN BY DAVID MICHELINIE, BOB LAYTON, & JOHN ROMITA, JR. OMNIBUS. It is a large, sturdy tome, weighing in -- according to -- at five-and-a-half pounds, and totaling 944 pages.

The dustjacket is slick and shiny, showcasing an image of Iron Man, in his classic armor, illustrated by John Romita, Jr. in 2012. As with most Omnibus volumes, there were two cover options: the standard edition, which I went with, or the Direct Market edition, available only through comic shops, featuring an unaltered image of the cover to issue #144. I usually tend to go with the Direct Market covers for these things, as they typically feature covers from the original series' run, as is the case here.

The cover to issue #144 is certainly iconic, showing bits and pieces of Iron Man's origin, but the central "modern day" figure is wearing the space armor he used in that particular issue. And I didn't want the cover of this definitive run to show Iron Man in a suit of armor he wore for two-and-a-half issues out of the 43 contained within. So I went with the Romita cover. It's not especially dynamic, and there's no background to speak of, and it even has the wrong logo on it, using the modern version instead of one appropriate to the period presented within -- but it shows the correct armor, and that's the most important thing to me.

Like the majority of Marvel's Omnibus volumes, the book features sewn rather than glued binding, so it will lay open even when turned to the very first or very last pages. This seems like a small concern, but it's nice to be able to open a book all the way without worrying about cracking the spine. The pages, by the way, are thinner than the majority of past Omnibuses, and I've seen some criticism on that point. It's fine with me, however. There is no noticeable bleed-through when reading under normal light, and the thinner pages simply mean it's a much slimmer book than it would otherwise have been. There are, after all, over forty issues in this volume!

Besides the full run of issues we just covered, the book also contains nearly sixty pages of bonus features. There are reproductions of original artwork and covers, a couple of unused covers, Layton's illustrations of a few characters for THE OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, a one-page gag from WHAT IF...?, and a full reprinting of issue #144, colored gorgeously in a modern style for a one-shot a few years back called IRON MAN: REQUIEM (which, naturally, made me wish the entire run had received the same treatment).

Overall it's a lovely package, and I'm very happy to have it on my bookcase. Bring on another volume for the second Michelinie/Layton run, I say!

Available now at

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