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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Power of Iron Man, published by Marvel Comics, prices vary


One of the most (if not THE most) attractive aspects of Marvel Comics, beginning with the inception of their superhero revival in 1961 with the Fantastic Four, has been the vulnerability of their characters. In AND out of their costumes, they had problems, both self-made and inflicted upon them. No stranger to that trend was Tony Stark, a.k.a Iron Man. One of the best examples of this billionairephilanthropist’s non-charmed life is collected in a trade paperback originally published in 1984 called The Power of Iron Man.

Written by David Michilinie, Tony Stark is taken through his paces by a mysterious assailant behind the scenes, as he faces several different villains, as well as multiple manipulations of his armor, once with fatal results. Add to this Stark’s personal struggle with alcoholism, a subject not tackled seriously in comics to that point, and you have one of Michilinie’s greatest accomplishments in the comics industry.

If that weren’t enough, readers are treated to the amazing art combo of John Romita Jr.’s pencils and Bob Layton’s art finishes and inks. Both now longstanding figures in comics, their work was amazingly action-oriented, expressive and detailed even 20+ years ago. In fact, even though I’ve always been a fan of Romita, Jr., it’s my contention that, while his work has improved in many aspects over the years, it has lost a certain dynamic fluidity since his early days drawing characters such as Iron Man and Spider-man. In other words, you can see something in The Power of Iron Man that you just can’t see anymore.

One of the best things about this collection, however, is that it hails from the days when creators didn’t feel compelled to place superheroes in “real life” settings. Imagine that; imaginary concepts in an imaginary world. Who’da thunk it?

The Power of Iron Man is recommended for all fans of superhero action and adventure. Find it at comics shops, and online retailers and auctions.

Mark Allen