November 4, 2012
Okay, you know what, I’m not even going to assign any new reading for the upcoming week.
Read what’s already out there and get back to me.  It is hard to have conversations if no one says anything.

Okay, you know what, I’m not even going to assign any new reading for the upcoming week.

Read what’s already out there and get back to me.  It is hard to have conversations if no one says anything.

October 27, 2012   3 notes

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of October 29, 2012:

Iron Man #184
“On the Road…”
July, 1984

Iron Man #185
“Terror in Tulaluma!”
August, 1984 

I forgot to have one of these prepared for Friday afternoon, so this entry is super late.

A newly sober Tony joins Rhodey, Cly and Morley in their venture to create their own company in California.  Tension mounts between Tony and Rhodey, so of course they have to work together to take on some Zodiac-themed villains.

Marvel has an assload of Zodiac-themed villains.  It is pretty frustrating.

October 19, 2012

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of October 22, 2012:

The All New Iron Man #182
“Deliverance”
May, 1984

The Invincible Iron Man #183
“All the Kinds of Fear!” 
June, 1984 

Welcome to crossover hell!  Back in ‘84, Marvel published the second of their crisis crossover events, Secret Wars.  Rhodey’s story in these two issues deals with the fallout of his having participated in said event — namely, the Stark-built components of his armor that have been replaced with alien tech.

Meanwhile, Tony meets a crossroads.

The creative team remains the same.

October 8, 2012

Uuuugh the book club assignment that was supposed to go up on Friday went up today?  What?

October 8, 2012   1 note

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of October 15, 2012:

The All New Iron Man #180
“This Ancient Enemy”
March, 1984

The Invincible Iron Man #181
“Though My Life be Forfeit…” 
April, 1984 

This week, we are going to look at a two-part story in which Rhodey fights the Mandarin.

The Mandarin is an extremely controversial character because he is a construct built entirely of racism and stereotypes and then some more racism, but he continues to be used as Iron Man’s Ultimate Enemy.  I’ve spent months trying to figure out how I can even put this into words, but you know what?  I don’t have to.  

LOOK AT THE COVER OF #181.

YEAH.  THAT HAPPENED. 

A picture is worth a thousand essays on why something obviously bad is bad.

Oh, yeah, the creative team remains the same.  Denny O’Neill, Luke MacDonald, et al.  Send me your responses.  I have not gotten any in a while.

October 5, 2012   1 note

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of October 8, 2012:

The All New Iron Man #178
“Once an Avenger, Always an Avenger!”, “Struggle!”
January, 1984

The Invincible Iron Man #179
“Mission into Darknessl” 
February, 1984 

It’s Assistant Editor’s Month OH NOOOOooooooo

Actually, Assistant Editor’s month is a lot of fun and I wish Marvel did this more often.  #178 features two short stories, one by Bob Harris and one by Denny O’Neil.  There ..are least one, but I think two? Robot Chicken shorts based on the Bob Harris story.  Assistant Editor’s month is the time to do something completely different — as seen in Harris’ story of neighborhood kids who have become their street’s Avengers!  In the second story, Tony faces some of the hard truths about the demons that plague him.  

In between #178 and #179 is Iron Man Annual #6.  Annuals can be significantly harder to come by, so they won’t be part of our two-issues-a-week schedule.  Also, while Annual #6 does a great job of illustrating why Rhodey is very good at superheroing, it was not written by Denny O’Neil and that means it doesn’t have much of anything to do with the story we are reading right now.  I definitely recommend that you read it if you can because it is a good stand-alone Rhodey story, but it won’t be a book club thing.  (I liveblogged this when I read it, if my talking to myself is something that interests you.  My reading comics on Tumblr is boring because I don’t post pictures though.)  

Anyway, Rhodey saved the Eternals from a fellow named Kro who was murdering them for sport AAAAAAND now we’re back in with #178!  Rhodey is out to solve a mystery today and for that reason, I’m not going to spoil the whodunit by sharing the antagonist’s backstory.    

As usual, send questions/concerns to the ask and your responses to that button!

September 28, 2012   1 note

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of October 1, 2012:

The All New Iron Man #176
“Turf”
November, 1983

The All New Iron Man #177
“Have Armor Will Travel” 
November, 1983 

Denny O’Neil, Luke McDonnell and Steve Mitchell continue their presentation.  If you have noticed the covers are playing musical chairs with the titles and are wondering what the “real” title is, the book’s publishing information is simply Iron Man.  

The story so far…
Obadiah Stane launched a multi-pronged attack against Tony Stark by identifying and targeting his weaknesses.  Driven to the bottom of the barrel by Stane’s attacks, Tony resumes drinking.  Tony’s BFF James “Rhodey” Rhodes takes over as Iron Man when it becomes apparent that Tony can no longer handle the suit.

Meanwhile, Stane succeeds in taking over Stark International, leading to the mass exodus of employees who were loyal to Tony.  As Iron Man, Rhodey attempts to keep Tony’s inventions and spare suits out of Stane’s clutches — or SHIELD’s — as well as fight villains new and old and take care of Tony.  Unfortunately, Tony ran off while staying with Rhodey’s mom and now has no idea where he is.  

Rhodey is assisted by Stark engineer and all-around electronics smarty pants Morley Erwin.  As our story picks up today, after issues of trying to get in touch with them, Rhodey and Morley finally come face-to-face with Stane…

#177 guest stars the Heroes for Hire, Power Man and Iron Fist AKA Luke Cage and Danny Rand.  Power Man is a wrongly convicted ex-con who exchanged parole in return for submitting to some experimentation.  Said experiment left him with unbreakable skin, invulnerability and super-strength.  Danny Rand is a rich boy who learned mystical kung-fu in a hidden city.  Together, they fight crime!  And bank on everything that was popular in the 70’s.  These days, Luke Cage is one of the iconic modern Avengers and Danny …has a new outfit?

Flying Tiger is a mercenary who first appeared when hired to kill Spider-Woman.  This is his first non-SW appearance, and third overall.  Not a lot of history to cover.

If you have a question, please drop me an ask.  Otherwise, submit your reader responses!

September 21, 2012   2 notes

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of September 24, 2012:

The All New Iron Man #174
“Armor Chase”
September, 1983

The All New Iron Man #175
“This Treasure of Red and Gold…” 
October, 1983 

These issues were brought to you by Denny O’Neil, Luke McDonnell and Steve Mitchell!

In #174, SHIELD enters the fray.  Tony’s history with SHIELD dates to the founding of the organization, when he …helped found it.  Tony was pretty much their weapons man, so when Tony stopped developing weapons, SHIELD stopped seeing eye to eye with him.  Historically, SHIELD has wanted to control Tony’s empire or at least turn him back their way.  They’ve never been successful, but the fact that someone else has is worse.    A few attempts on his life aside, SHIELD largely trusts Tony.  They don’t trust Stane.

The agent Fury calls upon to head the operation is Jasper Sitwell.  Jasper hugely enthusiastic about SHIELD and even more by-the-book.  He can be a bit annoying, but endearingly so, and is one of Tony’s closest friends.  When Pepper and Happy left the book in the Tales of Suspense days, Jasper was the character who replaced Happy as Tony’s confidante.  I think everyone’s pretty much forgotten about that time Jasper tried to kill him because Iron Man stole his girlfriend…  

#175: IRON MAN vs. SHIELD!!  And also—Atlaneans!  

Also, this is the first issue were we get glossy multi-page ads for “gentleman’s rings,” available exclusively to military personnel!  How many military men in need of rings do they think are reading Iron Man to justify this high degree of paper quality?

Sock your questions to Shell-Head, and comments and concerns (and whatever else you might have) to the Reader Response submit button!

September 14, 2012

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of September 17, 2012:

The Invincible Iron Man #172
“Firebrand’s Revenge!”
July, 1983

The All New Iron Man #173
“Judas is a Woman” 
August, 1983 

The issues were written by Denny O’Neil, penciled by Luke McDonnell and inked by Steve Mitchell.  A floppy will run you about $3 or $4 US and sadly these issues have never been collected.  I think Marvel did their fans a disservice when they put out an Iron Monger TPB that collected only the last 7 or so issues from this storyline.  

If you are a Tony/Steve shipper, or know anyone who is a Tony/Steve shipper, the imagery on the cover is probably familiar!  This is the issue where Steve comes to talk to Tony and reveals some of his own backstory in an attempt to get through to him.  

This issue is also going to introduce you to some more characters with a history in Iron Man.

The first is Yvette Avril, operations manager for the Paris branch of Stark International.  We’ll see her again.

The second is Firebrand, aka Gary Gilbert.  There are 4 Firebrands; this is the first.  If you are reading Matt Fraction’s run on Iron Man, the female Firebrand he introduced is #4.  Gary is sort of an activist, looking to topple regimes of social inequality.  For someone who goes about this primarily through means of arson, he’s often pretty sympathetic.  (Okay, not really today, but sometimes…)  He has a very personal relationship with Iron Man — when his father was trapped in a building about to explode, Iron Man actually prevented Firebrand from going back for him.  It was a particularly unheroic moment in Tony’s career, especially when you consider the suit meant that Tony probably could have gone in and saved him.  He simply wasn’t willing to try, nor would he allow anyone else to.  After killing Gary’s dad, Iron Man then went on to date Gary’s sister.  Forget if Tony ever told Roxy, ‘Hey, remember that time your dad blew up?  Yeah, that was me.’ 

In #173, Tony meets Rhodey’s mom!!  Rhodey is the most amazing friend ever, you guys.

Questions?  Drop me an Ask.
For reader responses, funny or serious, pictures or text, hit the submit button! 

September 7, 2012   1 note

Iron Man Book Club Assignment for the Week of September 10, 2012:

The Invincible Iron Man #170
“And Who Shall Clothe Himself in Iron?”
May, 1983

The Invincible Iron Man #171
“Ball and Chain” 
June, 1983 

The creative team remains the same, as does the pricing and availability of the issues.

As far as our first issue this week, I think everyone is going to have all the information they need, assuming they have been reading along with us since we started.  To recap, in case anyone has been joining us over these past few weeks, Obadiah Stane launched a multi-pronged attack against Tony, exploiting all of his weaknesses.  Tony rapidly spiraled downwards, and soon succumbed to his alcoholism.  With Tony unable to carry on as Iron Man against a foe called Magma, Rhodey was forced to commandeer the suit.  

Issue #171 pits Rhodey against Thunderball of the Wrecking Crew.  The Wrecking Crew are largely members of Thor’s rogues gallery.  Powered by Asgardian magic, the Wrecking Crew are a group of construction equipment-based thieves.  In recent years, they have also faced off against the Runaways and New Avengers.

This issue marks the first appearance of Clytemnestra Erwin.

Tony’s galpal Heather Glenn is largely a Daredevil character.  Like him, she is an alcoholic.

Please direct your questions to Shell-head via socking them to him, and your responses to the issue, in what ever form they choose to take, to the appropriate submission button.