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Invincible Iron Man (1968 series) #250

December 1989
David Michelinie, Bob Layton

Story Name:

Recurring Knightmare

Reviews & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

By T on October 10, 2017

Comments: Special double-sized issue; part two of two parts. Followed in 2008 by IRON MAN: LEGACY OF DOOM to complete a trilogy. Title is a pun on “recurring nightmare.” This future is officially designated Earth-8912. “Star Wars” was the nickname given to President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a space-based weapons system begun in 1983 and later abandoned as the scientific basis turned out to be unfeasible. Iron Man also mentions Luke Skywalker and Alderaan, the doomed planet from STAR WARS, whereas Doom invokes the Tin Man from THE WIZARD OF OZ. The mall features some gag store names, such as Fredericks of Luna Six and Neutrons R Us, but the survival of Radio Shack turned out to be the funniest one.

Review: Terrific issue is justly a classic, with a confused Tony and an arrogant Doom doing their usual thing in a futurized version of Camelot. The kid King Arthur was a surprising touch but the real star is Merlin, with his modern attitudes and dry wit; he is just adorable. Doom's sententious pronouncements and Merlin's ripostes are a great touch. And the action scenes, Tony versus Andros—twice yet, each with its own spectacular visuals—are thrilling. I'm babbling but it's a lot harder to review a great story than a mediocre one, so maybe I'll just stop here.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A weird artifact (see last issue) hurls Iron Man and Doctor Doom to the year 2093 where they are met by Merlin the wizard who confesses to summoning them to face a crisis in that era. They are introduced to King Arthur, who turns out to be a little boy, reborn in that time though a bit later than planned. The problem is outlined: a set of obsolete space-based weapons platforms are decaying in their orbits, threatening the Earth so Merlin has brought Shellhead and Doom to deal with the problem. Doom refuses, jetting off on a mission of his own (starting with stealing a fellow's anti-gravity belt in midair and leaving him to plummet before being rescued by his pals), which begins with seizing control of a research lab....

Iron Man picks up the necessary equipment at Radio Shack (though it's all a bit outdated in this era) and flies into space. As he approaches the first platform, it fires a neutron beam, killing people on Earth. Iron Man defeats the robot guards but finds himself facing the current Iron Man—Andros Stark, his own great-grandson. They battle and it goes poorly for Tony since his opponent's armor is one hundred years more advanced than his. After trying everything he can think of, Tony is still shot out of the sky by Andros and he plummets to Earth. A futuristic safety device installed in his armor allows him to decelerate and land safely inside an artificial bubble....

Andros Stark heads to the castle of his partner in crime and meets—Doctor Doom, not a descendant but the same one, now horribly aged and dependent on machines to stay alive. We learn they are planning to convert Earth into an easier place for them to rule, kidnapping scientists and technicians to repopulate the world after their neutron beams eliminate the rest. The two baddies do not trust one another but each needs the other for now....

Meanwhile, Doctor Doom has constructed a time machine, planning to take himself and some advanced weaponry back to his own time—but the device does not work. He returns to the city to confront Merlin who reveals that only his magic can send Doom back to his own time, and only with Iron Man too. Since Shellhead will not leave until the threat to Earth is resolved, Doom is forced to aid him in that mission. Their first stop is to find the Lady of the Lake—and they discover it has been paved over. Merlin magicks it back to the surface and the Lady gives them the enchanted sword Excalibur. A touch of the sword restores Tony's damaged armor and empowers him for battle (angering Doom who thought himself to be the only one worthy to wield the sword). Iron Man takes the sword into space to destroy the weapons platforms. The power of Excalibur enables him to defeat Andros Stark and wreck the neutron beam device. Meanwhile, Doom flies off to confront the real mastermind behind the threat: himself. The Dooms face each other and the young one is disgusted with the pathetic hulk he will become one day; he destroys his elder version and vows to never become that....

Epilogue: Merlin thanks the two visitors from the past and prepares to send them home. As they fade out, Doom casually mentions that he studied some history there—and now knows that Iron Man is Tony Stark. When they find themselves back in their own time they discover they have no memories of their jaunt into the future. They bid one another an uneasy farewell....

Elektra

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David Michelinie
Bob Layton
Bob Layton
Paul Becton
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)
Howard Mackie

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom
Iron Man
Iron Man

Plus: King Arthur, Merlin the Magician.