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Iron Man Annual #3: Review

Jan 1976
Steve Gerber, Jack Abel

Story Name:

More or Less...the Return of the Molecule Man!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Iron Man Annual #3 Review by (May 6, 2014)
Review: Fast-paced and fun issue with a lot of quirky humor courtesy of writer Steve Gerber (especially the sudden appearance of Molecule Snake-Man). The art by Sal B and Jack Abel carries us along for the ride. Very cool story and good use of guest star Man-Thing.

Comments: First annual called “annual” (the first two were titled IRON MAN SPECIAL); first annual to feature new material. Story takes place between Iron Man #87 and 88. Molecule Man was introduced in FANTASTIC FOUR #20; the villain who appeared in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1 was an artificial construct which believed it was the original MM’s son. This story features the original’s consciousness residing in the wand; he next appears in FF #187-188. Big Question: why didn’t they remove Yagzan’s skeleton during construction? Or, didn’t anyone in town notice the Emerald City? Next Annual: 1977.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Annual #3 Synopsis by T Vernon
Tony Stark is in the Florida Everglades on a project to rebuild Omegaville, an experimental energy-efficient city which was destroyed by the villain Yagzan in GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #1; the madman’s petrified skeleton kneels nearby. The Man-Thing looks on from the swamp. Elsewhere, three kids are playing superhero in the swamp; one has the wand of Molecule Man, given to him by the Thing after the villain’s defeat in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1. The wand is knocked into a bog and Cynthia goes to retrieve it; she is attacked by an alligator but Man-Thing emerges to save her. The panicked girl flees into the swamp where she disappears beneath the muck and mire….
Weeks later, after Cynthia has been presumed dead, the Omegaville project is under way. Suddenly, the sky over Citrusville is filled with giant stone globes which fire explosive spikes. Iron Man does battle with them but the weapons turn into smiley face balloons and burst. A suspicious mob confronts the hero but a geyser suddenly shoots up from the street. Iron Man lands safely but another man is fatally injured by the fall. As the crowd turns ugly, the Avenger departs. Tony Stark interviews the imprisoned Richard Rory, who knows all about the weird stuff in the area since Man-Thing appeared. Rory tells Tony about the Molecule Man—but he is dead. Tony contacts the Vision at Avengers Mansion, who patches him through to Reed Richards who confirms the villain’s demise. On the way back to town, Tony’s car crashes into Man-Thing, As Iron Man fights it, he discovers it is impervious to harm so he uses a cryogen-bomb to freeze the muck monster in its tracks and dumps it back where it came from. From the swamp rises Cynthia, possessed by the spirit of Molecule Man; s/he creates a weird amalgam of their bodies and returns to her home. She transforms her modest house into the Emerald City and turns her strict mother into a rag doll. But the little girl and the mad villain are fighting for control of the boy when Iron Man arrives. Molecule Man turns the ceiling to goo which envelops the hero and escapes.
Weeks later, Tony Stark and his team are back in town for the reopening ceremony for Omegaville. Molecule Man turns Yagzan’s skeleton into a rampaging giant monster. Elsewhere, Man-Thing senses fear and heads for the scene. Molecule Man arrives—with the villain having overpowered the little girl in his mind and blasts Iron Man, turning him to solid iron. Man-Thing arrives and grabs the maniacs hand and whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch. MM drops the wand and all of his manipulations suddenly reverse themselves. A snake chomps down on the fallen wand and is turned into Molecule Snake-Man; Iron Man snatches the wand away and suddenly finds himself battling Tony for control of his body. Man-Thing ends the stalemate by seizing the wand; as the Man-Thing has no mind to inhabit, the Molecule Man winks out of existence. Iron Man ends up wondering at the nature of the muck monster that saved his life.

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> Iron Man Annual: Book info and issue index

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Jack Abel
Jack Abel
Janice Cohen
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Irv Watanabe.
Editor: Marv Wolfman.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)

Plus: Man-Thing, Richard Rory.