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Iron Man Annual #14: Review

Jan 1993
Len Kaminski, Tom Morgan

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Story Name:

Unfamiliar Faces

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man Annual #14 Review by (October 29, 2018)
Comments: a) Main story falls between issues #297 and 298. The Masters of Silence first appeared in IRON MAN #281-283, Meredith McCall's only previous appearance was in IRON MAN #28 in 1970. Only appearance of the Face Thief/Kao-Goto Suru. b) Story intended as a lead-in to War Machine's first solo series. c) The Masters of Silence, with Meredith McCall, next appear in the Ghost Rider story in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #137-142 with a brief return in #147 for their final appearance (as of 2018). Issue includes a cover gallery for issues #283-294. Next Annual: 1994

Review: Iron Man/Tony Stark may hate magic, as he explains in the first story but I love it! Because it seems to give each artist the opportunity to devise another fight scene the like of which we've rarely seen—and that's the biggest highlight of the story. Len Kaminski also went above and beyond the call of duty by bringing back a totally forgotten character (Meredith McCall) and giving her some characterization. All in all a nice story, at a time when they weren't that easy to find.

The second story sees my old pal Scott Benson adding a new dimension to old hero Rhodey, having him frustrated by the endless rotation of “guys in spandex whompin' on each other” (as Scott said in another place) and wondering what he can do about it. He moves out into his own title to pursue that line of thought.

The Masters of Silence origin story is also pretty cool with its full page pictures with dialogue and narration shunted to the bottom. Attractive and kept to a reasonable length.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Annual #14 Synopsis by T Vernon
Wealthy industrialist Creighton McCall purchases a silver Japanese mask but accidentally breaks it, releasing the imprisoned spirit Kao-Goto Suru a/k/a the Face Thief. The creature kills McCall and his son-in-law Richard Stevenson. The Face Thief dons McCall's face and is transformed into his likeness to take his place....

In Tokyo, the Masters of Silence are awoken to the return of the ancient evil and travel to California to meet with Tony Stark, explaining the nature of the Face Thief and their need for Tony to help find him. Tony trusts them and agrees to help; an intense search of recent business transactions points to Creighton McCall as the monster's new identity—someone Tony well knows. He and McCall's daughter Meredith were in love as teens but the two fathers, rival business leaders, broke them up with only a brief meeting years later. To verify Tony's suspicion, he (by means of an LMD) attends the funeral of Meredith's husband Richard Stevenson; Meredith is upset at her father's callous attitude toward her widowhood and she goes to Tony for consolation but she is soon dragged off by her father, whom sensors show is not human....

Later, Tony (the LMD) drives up to the McCall estate and is refused entry by a guard—so the Iron Man remote bursts out of the car and takes on an army of guards. This provides the distraction needed for the Masters to enter the mansion where Meredith confronts the monster, tearing off her father's face forcing Kao-Goto Suru to resume his real form. Kaze of the Masters enters and engages the monster in combat; Meredith flees into the arms of Iron Man and the other two Masters. The heroes tell her to get to safety while they fight the bad guy; instead, consumed with anger and a need for vengeance, she dons the protective gear of a fallen guard, takes up a gun and follows. In the office, Kao-Goto Suru mortally wounds Kaze but Iron Man blasts it, revealing a ghastly form with multiple eyes and tentacles. The three heroes are entangled in the monster's tentacles but Meredith arrives and opens fire on Kao-Goto Suru and it releases the two Masters. Iron Man seals himself and his ghastly opponent inside a magnetic bottle, then unleashes all of his weaponry at once, which forces Kao-Goto Suru to return to its own dimension, vowing revenge. Shellhead, Meredith and the other two Masters escape the burning building and gather around the dying Kaze. Kaminari explains that a Master cannot die until he/she passes on their Warrior Soul to one willing to walk the path of vengeance. Meredith volunteers; Iron Man tries to talk her out of it but she refuses to listen and the spirit of vengeance enters her and the three Masters depart, Meredith asking Iron Man to say goodbye to Tony for her. Tony muses over the experience, realizing he never knew Meredith at all—she was an unfamiliar face in the end....

Story 2:- “While the Band Plays On”

Writer: Scott Benson. Pencils: Kris Renkewitz. Inks: Brad Vancata. Colors: Kris Renkewitz.

Synopsis: Late one night, a band of eco-terrorists take over the Optech building in Silicon Valley because of the plutonium-powered spy satellite that is about to be launched. An alarm at Avengers West Coast HQ alerts Rhodey and Clint so soon War Machine and Hawkeye are on the scene. The heroes crash in, Hawkeye rescues the hostages and War Machine carries the terrorists' bomb into the sky where it explodes harmlessly. Rhodey confronts the terrorist leader who tells the Avengers that the satellite is powered by plutonium; if the thing is launched and there is another Challenger-type explosion the fallout would be a disaster. “At least we were trying to do something about it...all you've done is maintain the status quo.”

Back at the HQ, Rhodey is in a bad mood; for some time he has been questioning the value of what they are doing. Hawkeye is proud of cleaning up the world a little bit at a time—but Rhodey isn't: he sees nothing changing as a result of their interventions (“The band plays on...”) and wants to do something more....

Characters: War Machine, Hawkeye

Story 3:- “Heritage of Vengeance!”

Writer: Len Kaminski. Pencils: Jon Czop. Inks: Frank Percy, Tim Dzon. Colors: Troy Sayers.

Synopsis: Meredith McCall, newly inducted into the mysterious Masters of Silence, is told of the group's origin and destiny: there is a world of evil spirits called the shinma and the Face Thief a/k/a Kao-Goto Suru is one that had broken through into our dimension. The villain stole the face of noble warlord Tezuka and led his men on a doomed rebellion against the Emperor. Only three samurai survived and they prayed for the power to take vengeance; they were possessed by the warrior souls of Lightning, Wind, and Thunder and committed to the path of vengeance. Since then, many generations of Masters have pursued the mission of avenging the innocent.

Characters: Masters of Silence

Story #2

While the Band Plays On

Writer: Scott Benson. Penciler: Kris Renkewitz. Inker: Brad Vancata. Colorist: Kris Renkewitz. Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

By None

Story #3

Heritage of Vengeance!

Writer: Len Kaminski.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

By None

Story #4

(No Title Given)

Penciler: ?. Inker: ?. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

By None

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Tom Morgan
Fred Fredericks
Ariane Lenshoek
Tom Morgan (Cover Penciler)
Tom Morgan (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Jim Novak.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Face Thief, Masters of Silence, Meredith McCall.

> Iron Man Annual: Book info and issue index

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