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Iron Man Annual #1999: Review

Aug 1999
Joe Casey, Terry Shoemaker

Story Name:

Power Tools

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man Annual #1999 Review by (February 11, 2020)
Comments: Story takes place between the two stories in IRON MAN (1998 series) #21. Story co-plotted by Kurt Busiek and Joe Casey. Inkers: Bud LaRosa (p. 1-36); Terry Shoemaker (p. 37-39). Only appearance of Agent Jenna Carlisle. Nefarius appeared as the first Moonstone in CAPTAIN AMERICA #169-170; he took the name Nefarius in CAP #379. Charlie Gray was killed by Count Nefaria in IRON MAN (1998) #16; Rafe Michel’s grave was robbed in #18; Aries (Grover Raymond) was killed along with Rafe Michel in CAPTAIN AMERICA #177-178. Death Squad and Vittorio Silvani were introduced in IRON MAN (1998) #1, Whiplash returned in issue #8, Nitro in #15. Dr. Jason Rivera was introduced in AVENGERS (1998) #6 and would be a recurring character in WOLVERINE (2013 series). The Crazy Eight were introduced in WONDER MAN #11 and made a few more appearances after that. Therak was in AVENGERS WEST COAST #82-86 and the 1993 SPIDER-WOMAN limited series; this is his final appearance. And Count Nefaria will return in CAPTAIN AMERICA (1998 series) #28-31.

Review: Kurt Busiek pulls together a bunch of plot threads and subplots from his first year and a half on the main Iron Man title into a big bad adventure which works rather well. Nefaria has always been an inconsistent villain but giving him superpowers was a nice step toward making him formidable and also allowing the writers to frame the story around a list of possible victims to justify multiple changes of scene. Plus taking advantage of Nitro’s difficulty of being a team player is another clever move on the part of both Tony and the writers. And it’s refreshing to have Tony decide not to romance the attractive female character of the tale. All-around quite good.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Annual #1999 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
**** Note this synopsis was really written by T Vernon ****

In Denver, the Thunderbolts, led by Hawkeye, go into action, rescuing people from a blazing building. But they are being watched by Nefarius, the villain who was the original Moonstone and now he wants his powers back. But as he is ready to attack that heroine, his energy is drained by a mysterious force, leaving him a shriveled husk….

Iron Man flies over Seattle, bypassing traffic in his own way and, arriving at the office, changes into Tony Stark and begins his day. He meets with SHIELD Agent Jenna Carlisle who tells him about a series of crimes: the murder of Charlie Gray, the robbery of Rafe Michel’s grave, and now the killing of Nefarius and all three incidents bore traces of ionic energy. Tony contacts Dr. Jason Rivera at Project Pegasus, asking for a list of ionic-powered individuals which becomes a starting point for their scavenger hunt….

At Avengers Mansion, bolstered by a cup of tea from Jarvis, Iron Man calls Hawkeye to warn him that someone may be targeting Atlas of the Thunderbolts. Wonder Man, who is also ionic-powered, tells him of a group of civilian friends of his known as the Crazy 8. Shellhead goes to Hollywood where he meets with them to warn them of possible danger…but they are being watched by the villain and his men on a rooftop nearby….

Back in Manhattan, Tony and Agent Carlisle learn that Aries, another figure from the list, is dead and buried in Long Island. Iron Man goes to the cemetery and discovers that Aries’ grave has already been exhumed; he is then confronted by the enemies Whiplash, the Death Squad, and Nitro. This time Nitro has a defensive scrambler to prevent Shellhead from causing him to explode like last time. So, Iron Man destroys Nitro’s scrambler allowing him to trigger the villain, taking out some of the others. Carlisle arrives but Shellhead has to let the baddies go to save her from Whiplash and follows the Death Squad in their aircraft while musing about how he always seems to be attracted to thrill-seeking women like Carlisle. He pursues the Squad all the way to Sicily and attacks them in a castle courtyard, resulting in a violent firefight. An electrical booby trap sends all his systems offline and Vittorio Silvani mocks his helplessness; Iron Man’s arclight goes back online and he subdues the villain with that. The Big Bad then steps forward and it’s Count Nefaria who was presumed dead; he is draining others of their ionic energy to restore his former powers. Nefaria then hurls Iron Man a mile from the castle onto a small islet offshore and follows it up by dropping a huge ship on the helpless hero. Nefaria ignites the gasoline with his eyebeams blowing the hero through the sky then picks up a mountain to hurl at Shellhead; IM, realizing that Nefaria’s powers are limited, hits him with a repulsor blast causing the baddie to drop the massive pile of rock on himself. By the time he digs himself out, he is completely drained of his power and Agent Carlisle and her backup place him under arrest. Tony also realizes that Carlisle is an adrenaline junkie and he doesn’t need her in his life….

Later, Carlisle tells Tony that the Sicilian authorities have released Nefaria and granted him immunity. Tony says that will be no problem so long as Nefaria doesn’t have access to ionic energy….

Meanwhile back at the castle, Count Nefaria is draining Therak of his energy to repower himself and swears vengeance against Iron Man….

Terry Shoemaker
Bud LaRosa
Christie Scheele
Terry Shoemaker (Cover Penciler)
Terry Shoemaker (Cover Inker)
Liquid! (Cover Colorist)
Plot: . Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Bobbie Chase. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Karla Sofen)

Plus: Atlas, Charcoal, Crazy 8, Death Squad, Jolt, Moonstone (Lloyd Bloch), Nitro, Songbird, Therak.

> Iron Man Annual: Book info and issue index

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