Tag Archives: Iron Man

IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 7 – THE MANDARIN, BLACK LAMA AND SUNFIRE

For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 68IRON MAN Vol 1 #68 (June 1974)

Title: Night of the Rising Sun

Villains: The Mandarin, Sunfire and Unicorn

Synopsis: We pick up months after our previous installment. Tony Stark has been spending most of his time in the Far East managing the reorganization of the Stark Regional offices there now that his company no longer handles weapons manufacturing. All of that is just the excuse to justify frequently loaning out his “bodyguard” Iron Man to Roxie Gilbert’s combined humanitarian mission and hunt for Eddie March’s M.I.A. brother Marty.

mandarin pictureAs this issue opens, Iron Man is using his repulsor rays to blast a path through the jungle for Roxie, U.N. escorts and North Vietnamese escorts plus the joint armed forces and aid workers. The communist army officer is especially hostile, making it clear he’s not fond of having Americans like Roxie Gilbert and Iron Man on hand. He also vows to retake Saigon some day.

NOTE: This story is set after the last American troops withdrew but before Saigon had fallen and been renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Marvel’s editors must have been scrambling to keep their comic book stories in synch with real-world events. Continue reading

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IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 6 – DOCTOR SPECTRUM, THOR AND THE FREAK

For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 65IRON MAN Vol 1 #65 (December 1973)

Title: The Cutting Edge of Death

Villain: Doctor Spectrum 

Synopsis: This issue picks up right where the last one left off: Near the wreckage of Roxie Gilbert’s health food store, caused by the destructive battle between Iron Man and Dr. Spectrum. The huge, energy-charged scimitar that the villain created via his power ring Power Prism is trying to slice through our hero’s armor to kill him.

Meanwhile, the exhausted Iron Man is barely able to use his repulsor rays to hold off the enormous energy-sword. Dr. Spectrum gets distracted by another argument with the alien intelligence inside his Power Prism AND by a blow to the face by Roxie Gilbert, who is briefly abandoning her pacifist principles to save Iron Man, who has saved HER multiple times in the recent past.

Dr. Spectrum easily smacks aside Roxie, who runs to a fellow bystander, the former boxer Eddie March. Roxie tells him Iron Man needs more help than normal human beings can provide and wants to call in the Avengers. Instead, Eddie says he has a quicker idea but we are not yet shown what that idea IS. Continue reading

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IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 5 – WHIPLASH AND DOCTOR SPECTRUM

For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 62IRON MAN Vol 1 #62 (September 1973)

Title: Whiplash Returns

Villain: Whiplash

Synopsis: We open a few weeks after the end of our previous installment. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts-Hogan have been at the Cincinnati Regional Headquarters of Stark International as part of Tony’s ongoing reorganization of Stark Industries’ projects and mission statement now that he has refused to do any more munition work. 

Pepper, still working as Stark’s Executive Assistant, is trying to cope with her husband Harold “Happy” Hogan’s decision that he is through with their marriage since she refuses to leave her career and become a housewife.

Elsewhere in Cincinnati we see Iron Man’s old foe Whiplash, returning after his first clash with Iron Man back in Tales of Suspense #97-99 (January 1968-March 1968). Whiplash is in his secret laboratory in costume, using his high-tech metal whip which can even pierce Iron Man’s armor.

rdj as tony againWhiplash is practicing by whipping to pieces steel statues of Iron Man while indulging in a Villain Rant about how he and our armored superhero got separated by chance after their previous battle on the cruise-ship sized seaborne HQ of the Maggia. (Marvel Comics’ fictional version of the Mafia.)

The villain also reflects on the improvements he has since made to his costume’s tech, making it capable of absorbing the energy from Iron Man’s repulsor rays and unleash it back on our hero with the next lash of his whip. Continue reading

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IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 4 – FIREBRAND, THE MASKED MARAUDER AND STEEL

For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 59IRON MAN Vol 1 #59 (June 1973)

Title: A Madness in Motown

Villain: Firebrand

Synopsis: This issue opens up with Tony Stark in his office at Stark International’s Long Island headquarters. He’s on a phone call from the psychiatrist treating Marianne Rodgers at Milford Sanitarium in Connecticut.

NOTE: Marianne is Tony’s ex-fiance whose psychic powers have recently begun driving her crazy with grotesque images.

The doctor informs Stark about how serious Marianne’s condition is, and that she has even taken to ranting about him, her former fiance. After getting off the phone, Tony ponders the situation and blames himself for Marianne’s condition. He even takes to trashing his office. Continue reading

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IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 3 – THE MANDARIN AND UNICORN

For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 57IRON MAN Vol 1 #57 (April 1973)

Title: The Mandarin Strikes Back

Villain: The Mandarin

NOTE: This is the REAL Mandarin, Iron Man’s archenemy since 1964, NOT the comic-relief figure used in movies like Iron Man 3 and in the recent Shang-Chi movie. The Mandarin is sort of a hybrid of Doctor Doom, Fu Manchu and Chiang Kai-shek. As his nom de guerre would suggest, he wanted to return China to its glory days under the old imperial dynasties. He opposed the Communist Chinese and had carved out a little territory of his own on the mainland, as opposed to the island of Formosa used by the Taiwan government.

This villain’s powers came from his ten power rings which he took from a crashed Makluan spaceship. Each ring has specific powers. He uses other elements of reverse-engineered Makluan technology in his schemes for world conquest.

mandarin picSynopsis: We pick up an unknown number of days or weeks after our previous installment. Tony Stark returns to Stark International’s Long Island headquarters only to learn that while he and the other Avengers were occupied with taking on Magneto (Avengers 110 & 111) the workers at Stark International re-organized under a whole new union. (It’s a comic book. Ignore the real-world problems with that happening so quickly and just go with it.)

That new union, headed by the mysterious and reclusive Gene Khan (really the Mandarin himself) has convinced the workers to go on strike until Tony Stark agrees to return his company to handling national defense contracts. Gene Khan has convinced labor that the real reason that Tony ended Stark’s Defense Department contracts was so he could share technology with Soviet Russia and Communist China. Continue reading

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IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 2 – THANOS, SUB-MARINER AND THE BLOOD BROTHERS

For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 54IRON MAN Vol 1 #54 (January 1973)

Title: Sub-Mariner: Target for Death

Villain: Moon Dragon (Her first appearance)

NOTE: This issue was co-written and co-illustrated by Bill Everett, who created the Sub-Mariner back in 1939 (BEFORE Aqua-Man), when Marvel Comics was known as Timely Comics.

Synopsis: We pick up an unknown amount of time after the previous issue. Tony Stark is now in Seattle, restructuring much of the Stark International corporate activities there to fit into his company’s new direction of no weapons manufacturing.

Our hero reflects to himself how the mysterious new supervillain the Black Lama escaped in our previous installment after his disciple Raga was defeated. (The Black Lama will emerge as a major adversary of Iron Man in the near future.)

Moon DragonElsewhere, deep below the waters of the Pacific Ocean, a vessel constructed through the superior technology of the Eternals of Titan travels like a submarine for the moment. This vessel launches a futuristic satellite into orbit, a satellite with cloaking tech and other capabilities.

On board that subaquatic vessel is Moon Dragon (Heather Douglas), currently using the idiotic nom de guerre “Madame MacEvil.” (LMAO) Besides the stupid name, Marvel’s writers had clearly not yet fully decided on her backstory or on what role she would play in the Thanos War being set up in this issue. Continue reading

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IRON MAN: 1970s CLASSICS 1 – THE BLACK LAMA AND RAGA, SON OF FIRE

robert downey jr iron manWeekends are the time for Balladeer’s Blog’s escapist forays into superheroes, who seem to be everywhere these days. This time around it will be a multi-week look at Iron Man and one of his most memorable story runs from the 1970s.

im 52IRON MAN Vol 1 #52 (November 1972)

Title: Raga, Son of Fire

Villains: The Black Lama and Raga, Son of Fire

NOTE: This is still the decades-long period of time when Tony Stark covered up his identity as Iron Man by pretending publicly that the armored superhero was really his high-tech bodyguard. That explanation allayed suspicion about why Iron Man so often showed up wherever Tony Stark was at the time. 

Synopsis: This issue starts off with Tony Stark in his Iron Man armor using his high-tech training room at Stark Industries Headquarters on Long Island. Our hero uses this hidden area as a testing ground for every upgrade he adds to his armor.

rdj as tony starkThis afternoon all of the destructive devices and traps are overcome by Iron Man’s latest improvements. The test session over with, Tony Stark catches a flight to California. With his engagement to long-time girlfriend Marianne Rodgers called off recently our hero is off on a vacation.

He starts partying with other members of the Jet Set in the on-board lounge during his flight westward. With Tony once again available – and with his secret heart transplant working perfectly – he returns to his old playboy ways. The women on board vie with each other for Stark’s attention, smitten with his looks, brains and immense wealth. Continue reading

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IRON MAN AND SUB-MARINER: ONE ISSUE ONLY

iron man picBecause December 21st is the shortest day of the year, Balladeer’s Blog always runs articles about short films, short presidential administrations (Yes, William Henry Harrison) and similar topics. This year I’m pandering to the insatiable superhero audience with this look at a Marvel Comics title that was INTENTIONALLY published as a one-shot item, making it the shortest series run imaginable.

sub-mariner picPrevious articles here have dealt with the way that, for part of the 1960s, Marvel was limiting how many titles it had hitting newsstands. That meant publishing some of their heroes in one monthly publication, with each character getting a story covering half the issue. Iron Man and Captain America shared Tales of Suspense, Sub-Mariner and the Hulk shared Tales to Astonish.

Tales of Suspense underwent a title change to Captain America beginning with the 100th issue, while Iron Man was going to move to his own title. Tales to Astonish changed to The Incredible Hulk with its 102nd issue while Sub-Mariner moved to his own namesake monthly.

robert downey jr iron manThe trouble was, both Iron Man and Sub-Mariner had one more half-issue length story left and ready to be printed, but there were no more split comic book titles to accommodate them. So, Marvel Comics published one lone issue of a comic book titled Iron Man and Sub-Mariner

Here is my review of the two stories in that “special once-in-a-lifetime issue” – Continue reading

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MARVEL MANIA

mascot sword and gun pic

BALLADEER’S BLOG

At present pop culture is still Marvel’s world given how their superheroes continue to dominate movies and streaming services. Readers have been asking for a convenient one-stop blog post to use as an access point for Balladeer’s Blog’s assorted Marvel Comics articles, so here we go.

SHANG-CHI: HIS FIRST TWELVE ADVENTURES – Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu, is set to star in the upcoming movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This blog post covered his “senses-shattering origin” (R.I.P. Stan Lee) plus his first dozen stories, featuring his villainous father, his adopted brother Midnight (M’Nai), Black Jack Tarr and more. Click HERE

kang bid tomorrowKANG THE CONQUEROR, MANTIS AND THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA – Plenty of Easter Eggs point to Kang’s imminent debut in Marvel movies and/ or tv shows, plus his true love Ravonna Renslayer has already debuted. Kang’s alias as Rama Tut even showed up in X-Men: Apocalypse.

              Mantis, though a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the films, started out as an Avenger in the 1970s. For my detailed look at her first appearance on up through her starring role in the original Celestial Madonna Saga click HERE.  TO JUMP STRAIGHT TO THE KANG PART CLICK HERE. For Mantis’ role in the first THANOS WAR click HERE and HERE.

AGATHA HARKNESS AND THE SCARLET WITCH – Their first meeting HERE.

adam warlock poseADAM WARLOCK, THANOS, GAMORA AND THE MAGUS – And speaking of Thanos, and with Adam Warlock having been hinted at since the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, here’s another 1970s Young Adult Classic from Marvel. Adam took on his vile other self the Magus, his galaxy-spanning 1,000-world empire and Thanos in his first post-Thanos War appearance. Plus Gamora’s very first appearance. Click HERE.

KIT HARINGTON’S BLACK KNIGHT – This post covered Marvel’s various incarnations of the Black Knight, from the heroic figure who fought in the Crusades through the modern-day supervillain version who fought the Avengers to his nephew Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), who became a hero and redeemed the family honor. Click HERE.

killraven poseKILLRAVEN – The heroic rebel leader and his Freemen take on Earth’s alien invaders on a war-torn post-apocalyptic world crawling with extraterrestrial tyrants and assorted mutated menaces. Click HERE.

THE X-MEN – For the first twenty stories of the ORIGINAL 1963 X-Men, featuring their initial encounters with Magneto, Juggernaut, the Mimic and the Sentinels, click HERE. For the NEW (Wolverine, Storm & Phoenix) X-Men from 1975 click HERE.

BLADE THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – With his own tv series on the way, here’s his early tales, from 1973-1983. Click HERE. Continue reading

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IRON MAN VS THE BLACK KNIGHT

robert downey jr iron manHere at Balladeer’s Blog I like to listen to you readers. Many of you have enjoyed my takes on the earliest adventures of Marvel Comics characters like the Avengers, X-Men, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk. The MOST popular so far was my look at the first 20 Iron Man stories in the 1960s, so here is a bonus I.M. blog post picking up where that original one left off.

tales of suspense 59TALES OF SUSPENSE Vol 1 #59 (November 1964)

Title: The Black Knight

Villain: The Black Knight (Nathan Garrett)   

Comment: This issue of Tales of Suspense allows for a lot of side notes about the evolution of Marvel Comics’ particular iteration of the Black Knight figure AND the nature of the Marvel vs DC competition of the time. 

           The reason that Marvel Comics began pairing up some of its heroes in one particular comic book was because of a new agreement with their rivals at DC. Marvel had agreed to limit the number of titles they published per month for a time. Instead of having two separate comic books for Iron Man and Captain America, Tales of Suspense featured both heroes in individual adventures.

            Similarly, instead of having separate comic books for the Hulk, Giant-Man & the Wasp and the Sub-Mariner, they shared Tales to Astonish in different combinations for a time. Strange Tales was likewise shared by Dr Strange, Nick Fury and the Johnny Storm Human Torch.

All of this stayed within the title-limitation arrangement made with DC while still allowing many of Marvel’s most popular characters to remain on newsstands along with Spider-Man, Thor, the Avengers, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

iron man vs black knightSynopsis: The Black Knight (Nathan Garrett), usually a supervillain opponent of Giant-Man & the Wasp, was in prison following the recent clash between the Avengers and Baron Zemo’s original Masters of Evil, of which he was a member. The Knight’s winged horse Elendil at last located its master’s cell window, allowing him to retrieve some chemicals from its saddle-bag. With those chemicals the Black Knight dissolved the bars of his cell, mounted Elendil and flew off, wanting revenge. Continue reading

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