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Iron Man Annual #9: Review

Dec 1987
David Michelinie, M. D. Bright

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Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man Annual #9 Review by (March 20, 2017)
Comments: Story falls between IRON MAN #222 and 223. Sunturion previously appeared in IRON MAN #143-144 and apparently perished in the end. He will return in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #25. Roxxon's next attempt at creating a microwave powered agent of their own came in DAREDEVIL #224. Big mystery: why does Tony look like John Oates (of Hall and...) here? Issue includes a description and map of the Stark enterprises campus. Next annual: 1989.

Review: Pretty good tale featuring a new hero with flaws; in Stratosfire's case, a great deal of naivete that makes it easy for her to be talked into being the corporate super-hitman against Roxxon's competitors. It is with the death of her friend Babs (the Obligatory Sacrificial Lamb) that she turns her powers toward vengeance—and in the end, realizing she has been the bad guy in all of this she gets a poignant death scene. And the return of Sunturion as a shaman hero of sorts, there to inspire Tony to do what is right. My only question: why were Strat's power cables flying loose behind her? Wouldn't that be a weakness to exploit? You would think the design people at Roxxon would have affixed them to her arms and back.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Annual #9 Synopsis by T Vernon
A wayward oil tanker crashes into one of the support columns of San Francisco's Bay Bridge, the entire structure and the people on it are in danger. Iron Man swoops down and finds himself having to choose between shoring up the bridge so that people can get off safely and catching those already falling. Suddenly the falling people vanish and reappear safely. It is Stratosfire, a female superhero with teleportation powers (among others). Together Iron Man and Stratosfire work to save the bridge and the tanker. Afterward, Stratosfire is mobbed by reporters so Iron Man, a little miffed, returns to work, where, as Tony Stark, he snarls at everyone. Later, he confesses to Rhodey that Stratosfire did make him a little jealous—and that she reminded him of Sunturion, the man turned into microwave energy by Roxxon Corp. He wants to check this out further....

At Roxxon, Stratosfire, or Sandy Vincent, tells her best friend Babs Bendix how exciting and fun it is being a full-fledged superhero. Babs is worried, though, she sees how Sandy is changing. Sandy is called to the office by her boss Jonas Hale, who has been listening in, and given a new assignment as Stratosfire. She is to destroy a small refinery in Costa Gavras owned by a competitor. This doesn't seem right to Sandy but the boss persuades her that it is all for the best....

While Stratosfire is down in Latin America nuking the refinery, Tony meets with Babs Bendix who explains all of her reservations, worries, and fears about her pal Sandy and the new job she has at Roxxon...

The next day, Stratosfire accepts a Good Citizen Award and also presents a check for charity from Roxxon. While there, she learns that her friend Babs is dead, found floating in the Bay. Enraged, she returns to Roxxon and corners the executives in their office and blows the place apart—part one of her revenge. The execs debate using the Zed Control to stop her, but decide to let Iron Man take care of her for them....

Stratosfire shows up at an anti-nuclear power demonstration, intending to destroy the plant. Iron Man arrives to stop her but his armor can't overcome her microwave power and she causes his armor to overload, knocking him from the sky. Stratosfire destroys the reactor then announces she will next be at the San Diego shipyards....

The next day at the San Diego shipyards sees the christening ceremony for a new aircraft carrier. Stratosfire arrives, intending to destroy the ship but Iron Man is on the scene—and he is quickly overpowered with the lady heating up his helmet to boil his brains. Suddenly, a microwave blast hits her from behind; she turns to see Arthur Dearborn a/k/a Sunturion, the first possessor of that power. Stratosfire panics and flees. Dearborn and Tony retreat to Stark Enterprises where the former explains how he was dissipated in issue #144 and reintegrated by Roxxon as their ace in the hole. Dearborn also deduces that Stratosfire's next target will be Roxxon's space shuttle launch the next day....

Sure enough, Stratosfire is there the next day; Hale triggers the Zed Control—a self-destruct mechanism installed in Sandy's body but it turns out she knew it was there and is blocking the signal. So she also dodges both Iron Man and Sunturion to threaten the shuttle. Shellhead reminds her that while Roxxon may be evil, their space personnel is innocent as are their families. This causes Stratosfire to pause long enough for Sunturion to reach into her body and activate the Zed Control manually. Stratosfire is destroyed and exposure to the blast seems to cancel out Dearborn's Sunturion abilities as well. He and Tony are left to ponder whether Sandy Vincent's madness was all that mad....

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

M. D. Bright
Bob Layton
Bob Sharen
M. D. Bright (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)

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