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Iron Man Annual #4: Review

Aug 1977
?, George Tuska

Story Name:

The Doomsday Connection!

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Iron Man Annual #4 Review by (July 1, 2014)
Review: When I was a dumb kid, I made up a story which showed a three-way battle for power between the Mummy (Kharis), the Phantom of the Opera, and Godzilla, who for this exercise had been shrunk to human size. How could anyone devise such an oddball scenario? Simple, those were the three Aurora model kits I had to use as fragile action figures. If I had had anything else, that would have gone into the weird mix as well. So why am I bringing this up on an Iron Man website? Well, every time I see the Champions, Marvel’s strangest team, I think of that stupid story. Why? Because the members of the team seem to have been chosen based on which action figures the writer found at the bottom of a drawer. Check it out: a Greek God, a sexy spy, a demon-possessed biker, and two ex-X-Men (including Angel whose mutant power was “wings”). And I did buy their comic faithfully in the 70s! Really, I did, even though I was old enough to know better (complete set still in the basement)! It looks like the company wanted to boost the visibility of the poorly-selling Champions book so they tossed them into a more popular hero’s comic (a frequent Marvel strategy); didn’t work, CHAMPIONS was cancelled at issue #17. This issue is kind of a generic superhero tale, the heroes meet, they fight for a few panels, then team up against the real baddie. The plot is padded to fill a book with the three wild goose chases (wild geese chase?) and then rushed at the very end. No one does anything special and you would think that Tony Stark would look into that machine that boosted his powers. This is the kind of thing that would be cool if you were a 70s teenager but is just a pleasant diversion for a more seasoned fan.

Comments: Darkstar was a Soviet mutant who could draw on the mystic energies of the Darkforce; she was introduced in THE CHAMPIONS #7, joining the team in issue #11. Her subplot continues in issue #16 and she appears in IRON MAN #109. M.O.D.O.K. returns in MARVEL TEAM-UP #104. The A.I.M. agents are the blue faction, introduced in MS MARVEL #7-10; they also appeared in CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #7. Next annual 1982.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Annual #4 Synopsis by T Vernon
Iron Man crashes into a seemingly deserted science lab in Nevada, in search of M.O.D.O.K. who has been reported alive after his apparent death at the hands of the Yellow Claw in IRON MAN #75. Shellhead is greeted by several robotic guards which he smashes to pieces. But the base’s purpose was to siphon energy and direct it into a cradle—but the cradle is empty and M.O.D.O.K. is gone. Needing allies, he decides to turn to the nearest ex-Avengers, Black Widow and Hercules who are with a new team called the Champions. Heading to their L.A. HQ, Iron Man arrives low on power and, desperate for a recharge, he smashes though their defensive shields. Ghost Rider, rushing to investigate, startles Shellhead, who, not recognizing him as a hero, blasts him with a repulsor ray. The rest of the team hurries to GR’s defense and a brief fight breaks out. Black Widow shouts some sense into everyone and Iron Man gets to the point of his visit. He shows them a picture of M.O.D.O.K. and list three sites in the area where A.I.M. activity has been reported. They split up into three groups to investigate these leads….
Black Widow, Hercules, and Angel head to the Petrified Forest, where they are attacked by A.I.M. agents concealed in the trees; the heroes fight valiantly but are captured in the end….
Ghost Rider, Iceman, and Darkstar head to an underwater base beneath San Francisco Bay where A.I.M is mutating sea life to create monsters. The villains flood the base and the heroes are defeated by the sea monsters….
Searching the Mojave Desert, Iron Man reaches a Franciscan mission where he is greeted by a friar. As he enters, though, the doors are sealed and the padre reveals himself as Stryke, a warrior given steel-hard skin by A.I.M. Shellhead does what he can but his foe is too powerful for him. Suddenly the hero realizes he has been duped; he takes off, leaving Stryke to glory in his “victory,” and contacts the Champions. Black Widow’s team had allowed themselves to be captured as a means of reaching M.O.D.O.K., and Ghost Rider’s group burns its way out of the underwater base, though Darkstar has been seriously injured. They all rendezvous at the Nevada lab, where M.O.D.O.K., who had rendered himself invisible on Shellhead’s first visit, has simply been delaying them while he powered up his Doomsday Chair. The heroes battle an army of modified humans called the “Once-Men” while the mastermind takes off into the sky. M.O.D.O.K. then emits a mental blast that causes the building to collapse, trapping the heroes. Iron Man manages to link his armor to the cradle and receives a superhuman amount of energy. Stronger than he has ever been before, the Golden Avenger vaporizes the mountain and heads after the fleeing villain. He tries to take control of M.O.D.O.K.’s damaged flying chair but the monstrous baddie resists and his chair explodes. The Champions rush the injured Darkstar to the hospital and Iron Man heads off to get some rest.

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Elektra

> Iron Man Annual: Book info and issue index


Story #2

Death Lair!

Writer: Roger Stern. Penciler: Jeff Aclin. Inker: Don Newton. Colorist: Nel Yomtov. Letterer: Howard Bender.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

This is a story of Master of Kung Fu character Midnight meeting an old Iron Man baddie Half-Face.



Loading cover...


George Tuska
Don Perlin
Phil Rachelson
Ed Hannigan (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: A.I.M., Angel, Darkstar, Half-Face, Midnight, Yellow Claw.