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Essential Iron Man, Vol. 4

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The fourth installment of Iron Man adventures shakes the Marvel Universe with the debut of Drax the Destroyer and his Eternal enemy, Thanos of Titan - with Iron Man in the middle! As if that isn't enough, Mister Kline's drawing Tony Stark into another crisis, while the Black Lama's waiting to start a third! The fourth installment of Iron Man adventures shakes the Marvel Universe with the debut of Drax the Destroyer and his Eternal enemy, Thanos of Titan - with Iron Man in the middle! As if that isn't enough, Mister Kline's drawing Tony Stark into another crisis, while the Black Lama's waiting to start a third!


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The fourth installment of Iron Man adventures shakes the Marvel Universe with the debut of Drax the Destroyer and his Eternal enemy, Thanos of Titan - with Iron Man in the middle! As if that isn't enough, Mister Kline's drawing Tony Stark into another crisis, while the Black Lama's waiting to start a third! The fourth installment of Iron Man adventures shakes the Marvel Universe with the debut of Drax the Destroyer and his Eternal enemy, Thanos of Titan - with Iron Man in the middle! As if that isn't enough, Mister Kline's drawing Tony Stark into another crisis, while the Black Lama's waiting to start a third!

30 review for Essential Iron Man, Vol. 4

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eamonn Murphy

    ‘Essential Iron Man Volume # 4’ presents us with Iron Man # 39-61, featuring the golden avenger and a lot of villains, including some oddities like the White Dragon, Slasher, Demetrius and Soulfather. Importantly, it also features the very first appearance of Thanos of Titan, who went on to big things. The first five issues are scripted by Gerry Conway in his verbose period. Wordy captions feature the captivating prose of a young would-be novelist over-writing for all he’s worth. Added to this a ‘Essential Iron Man Volume # 4’ presents us with Iron Man # 39-61, featuring the golden avenger and a lot of villains, including some oddities like the White Dragon, Slasher, Demetrius and Soulfather. Importantly, it also features the very first appearance of Thanos of Titan, who went on to big things. The first five issues are scripted by Gerry Conway in his verbose period. Wordy captions feature the captivating prose of a young would-be novelist over-writing for all he’s worth. Added to this are lots of thought balloons in which characters agonise over everything. Do you think of yourself in the third person when you think, reader? Do you ask yourself lots of questions? (Do you, Eamonn? Do you?!) No, I don’t! Conway’s scripting always had these tendencies though I think he got better over time. Stan Lee’s captions seldom went beyond ‘Meanwhile…’ or ‘Later…’ partly because he knew that this was better, probably also due to a lack of time. He had a lot of comics to write. To be fair, the plots are quite good but there are gaps. The White Dragon belongs to some larger organisation called the Council Of Nine but we never hear of them again after he’s defeated. Other villains are pawns of a man called Kline but he, apparently, gets killed off in Daredevil # 84, so we never hear of him again neither! Cross-over stories like this, spanning more than one title, are generally resolved with a team-up of the heroes involved and the ‘Essential’ volumes usually print all episodes of the cross-over even if they are not those of the character on the cover. Not this time. I don’t know why. Mike Friedrich took over the scripting with issue # 45, after a one-shot in # 44 by Robert Kanigher, an oddity because he usually worked for the Decent Competition. Friedrich is not as caption happy as Conway but, in his early issues, he either has trouble with continuity or plays cheap tricks with cliff-hanger endings. Issue # 45 concludes with an angry crowd of students chucking rocks at Iron Man and issue # 46 opens with a Daily Bugle report on what happened! The whole cliff-hanger crisis ending of one episode is simply dispensed with and next time we see him our hero is cuddling his girl-friend, Marianne. Then, at the end of issue # 50, Iron Man is stood over a vat of deadly chemicals with his boot jets not working, dramatic because his girl-friend Marianne has had a vision of him plunging jetless into that very vat. The Cyborg-Sinister is approaching the factory and we infer that the crisis is imminent. Issue # 51 starts with Iron Man supervising a rocket launch. The vat and villain episode is delayed. The Cyborg-Sinister, by the way, was evolved from the Super-Adaptoid by an alien on the sub-atomic world of Bast where they tend to talk backwards. Tyrr, the villain, speaks of his Domination-Royal and his cousin tells him he has ’crossed the line uncrossable’. Friedrich makes no further errors of this sort and the plots get more interesting in the latter half of the book. These yarns are from the early seventies, so concerns such as women’s rights are raised. The attitude of ‘Happy’ Hogan to his wife ‘Pepper’ Potts having a job seems stone age now but this was forty years ago. There’s a sort of intermission in which Jim Starlin and Steve Gerber do a couple of issues. Starlin began his Thanos epic in the pages of ‘Iron Man’ when shellhead met Drax the Destroyer, the Blood Brothers and Thanos himself. Steve Gerber does a very Gerber-esque yarn about a mad magician and starts a story featuring the Mandarin and the Unicorn. So the stories are a bit hit and miss but get better. The book is notable for the art, mostly by George Tuska, who is not a spectacular penciller and those used to the more stylised and dramatic work of later comics, might underestimate him. Don’t! He tells the story very well, the figures are in proportion and the backgrounds minimal but sufficient. He’s an excellent artist. Vince Colletta’s inking, often lambasted, seems to do him justice here. Oddly, as the stories get better in the latter half of the book, the art gets a bit worse. This might be due to the inking of Mike Esposito, never my favourite on anyone. With the films of this hero making big bucks at the box office, some might be interested to catch up with the original adventures. ‘Essential Iron Man Volume # 4’ is not the best place to start, not because it’s bad – it’s okay – but because it’s quite far along Tony Stark’s story. However, I can certainly recommend volumes one, two and three of the series which feature great work by Stan Lee, Artie Simek, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Gene Colan and George Tuska. I’ve read them all, I just haven’t got round to writing the reviews yet. On the sub-atomic world of Bast, they would call me the Slacker-Irredeemable. Eamonn Murphy This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    About as average as you can get overall. There was a couple of standout issues thanks to Steve Gerber and Jim Starlin. It was fun to revisit issue #47. When I was a kid I collected Iron Man starting with issue #169 and it was a couple of years before I learned his origin story which was retold in #47. Back issues of comic books were much harder to find back then and I had to convince my parents that I needed that one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adam Graham

    If there's a word to describe this book, "inconsistent" would do it. It collects 23 issues of Iron Man with a variety of writing credits though Mike Friendrich has the most. This was a time of transition for Iron Man. He'd been created by Stan Lee as a weapons manufacturer, someone who left wing college students would naturally hate. Yet Lee set out to make the character likable. However by the 1970s, liberal fans and writers were tired of having to look at someone who did things they disagreed If there's a word to describe this book, "inconsistent" would do it. It collects 23 issues of Iron Man with a variety of writing credits though Mike Friendrich has the most. This was a time of transition for Iron Man. He'd been created by Stan Lee as a weapons manufacturer, someone who left wing college students would naturally hate. Yet Lee set out to make the character likable. However by the 1970s, liberal fans and writers were tired of having to look at someone who did things they disagreed with politically as decent human beings, so the focus began to shift Tony Stark and Iron Man away from his roots. The result is somewhat uneven. At the book's height, it includes Issue 54 which, while silly in itself, introduced Moondragon and Issue 55, the crown jewel of the book, introduced Thanos. The first half of the book has a fascinating storyline where Tony gives Kevin O'Brien the Guardsman Armor, only for the Irishman to turn evil and help manipulative evil corporate overlords try to undermine Stark. He's driven in part by his crush on Stark's girlfriend Marianne, and part by the Guardsman's armor that ends in tragedy. Marianne is a fascinating character and probably one of the best early Tony Stark girlfriends: an ESP-powered sensitive soul that makes a nice balance to Tony's iron-edged personality. That brings us to the negatives after he and O'Brien died fighting over her, Tony drops her like a hot potato, and the writers aren't content for her to be dropped, they want her to suffer as we see her undergoing trauma counseling and eventually sanitarium. We then return to the well of Pepper Hogan who was bored living at home and decided to sign up to be Tony Stark's assistant, reaching the conclusion that totally abandoning her husband for weeks on end and disregarding his feelings is what being a liberated woman is all about. She still loves him but she'd rather do it from 1500 miles away. Happy's behavior is only slightly less jerky and irrational, making this a very annoying feature. There are just some really bizarre and forgettable villains. It's odd to have Iron Man up against occult villains and dated villains that just screams, "It's the 70s man." like Firebrand, Mikas, or Priness Python. Thankfully, the Mandarin does return though in a very odd form. Plus Iron Man begins to barnstorm, leaving New York in the middle book for California, and then fighting his last few battles in Detroit. Overall, this is a very tough book to like. There are some good spots and enough interesting to make this mediocre, but Iron Man at this point in its history was a book that was abandoning its original premise and didn't know what it was going to be about, and constantly shifting things around in ways that were more annoying than entertaining.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jason Luna

    This volume, like a lot of Iron Man solo stories, is technically sound but sort of dull at times. The highlight that makes the book particularly amazing is the introduction of the cosmically powerful villain Thanos of Titan, and his ersatz counterpart/attacker, Drax The Destroyer. It only lasts for a couple of issues, but their adventure together was beautifully drawn by Jim Starlin, written well too. Otherwise, every issue usually has two main components: (1) a surprisingly mundane series of supe This volume, like a lot of Iron Man solo stories, is technically sound but sort of dull at times. The highlight that makes the book particularly amazing is the introduction of the cosmically powerful villain Thanos of Titan, and his ersatz counterpart/attacker, Drax The Destroyer. It only lasts for a couple of issues, but their adventure together was beautifully drawn by Jim Starlin, written well too. Otherwise, every issue usually has two main components: (1) a surprisingly mundane series of supervillains for Iron Man to maybe struggle a little against, but largely smash, and (2), a "Tony Stark's personal life is sucky" side story. I do have to credit the artwork of the likes of George Tuska, as the villain fighting dynamics actually work quite well. It's just kind of like that a bad guy comes and goes every 1.2 issues on average or something, and most of the bad guys are random dudes who want to blow stuff up, kind of dull. There are some interesting exceptions, largely mystical weird stuff written by Steve Gerber over his too short run, but in general it seems like might beats might after all, end of storyline, rinse and repeat. The Tony Stark stuff is a little more annoying. It's like the initial premise of why Tony Stark should have feelings is always solid, generally interesting. Like Tony has this fiancee who was a little crazy with her ESP, he doesn't know if he can count on her. Or how he never has a social life. Or how his former secretary, Pepper Potts, becomes his present secretary just as her marriage to Happy Hogan falls on the rocks. But instead of working on these issues, seeing them affect Tony Stark/Iron Man, instead he gets these really dense thought bubbles that pour on the pathos, but they go away and come back (mostly go away) quite haphazardly. It's like he's kind of happy but with a really neurotic sense of self. I wish the writing staff would've taken the stand to say that Iron Man could've possibly made a decision to change his life, instead of shallowly feeling guilty while doing the same things over and over (and over). It's a little bit of of a non-descript book, but the art work is able to capture the basic excitement of super powered fighting, making it worth reading in the genre. 3/5 (rounded from 2.9, close enough to decent)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This is a long read. Stark finds the love of his life, Marianne, at the same time as somebody is trying to take over his company. Iron Man has to fight baddies like Firebrand, the Maruders, Black Lama and the Mandarian. This volume is also interesting as it contains the first appearance of Thanos. I enjoyed the more personal stories of Stark trying to work out whether he could ever get close to people, as that would put them in danger. There's more character led action than previously, and it sh This is a long read. Stark finds the love of his life, Marianne, at the same time as somebody is trying to take over his company. Iron Man has to fight baddies like Firebrand, the Maruders, Black Lama and the Mandarian. This volume is also interesting as it contains the first appearance of Thanos. I enjoyed the more personal stories of Stark trying to work out whether he could ever get close to people, as that would put them in danger. There's more character led action than previously, and it shows than Iron Man is not invulnerable. A good read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    If Spider-Man could have a compelling cast - if the Fantastic Four could have a compelling cast - why did Marvel stick Iron Man with these guys? And why the Mandarin over and over? He's no Doctor Doom. He's not even part of a Doctor Doom. If Spider-Man could have a compelling cast - if the Fantastic Four could have a compelling cast - why did Marvel stick Iron Man with these guys? And why the Mandarin over and over? He's no Doctor Doom. He's not even part of a Doctor Doom.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chad Carter

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sean Brennan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay Hancock

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Grant

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roger

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tragedygril

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rexhurne

  19. 5 out of 5

    David

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roger Goodworth

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aarcanum Black

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Pardoe

  26. 5 out of 5

    DDetisch

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Gombert

  29. 4 out of 5

    De'Andre Crenshaw

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chayce

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