Iron Man Special #1: Review

Jul 2014
Sean Ryan, Rahmat Handoko

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Story Name:

No end in sight Part 2 of 3: Faking it

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man Special #1 Review by (August 3, 2014)
Monark Starstalker starred for 1 issue in 1976 in Marvel Premiere #32. He was a bounty hunter whose nervous system had been fried and now used a robot pet falcon Ulysses as his senses. He was in an alternate future, but came into the main present in Nova (2007) #29-30 via the Fault. This was the adventure involving Nova and Ego the Living Planet he mentions to Sam Alexander. At the end of #30 he learned he was actually a Nanite Construct owned by a company, running a program that only made him *think* he was a bounty hunter. He later got involved in Wolverine: The Best There Is #7-12, still working for the company. He seems to have forgotten he's a Construct here, and thinks he's really a lone bounty hunter again. (Is this Immortus at work again?)

Neut was 1 of Kang's minions in the Crossing saga in 1995. While never actually being shown as a member of Kang's Anachronauts, he could have been, and he certainly travelled in time. And he's certainly not been seen since then. Tony Stark dies at the end of that story, to be replaced by another version. But the 2 versions got merged by Heroes Reborn. And even though Tony's brain was drained during Dark Reign, his memories were reloaded from a backup which was certainly made much later than all that. So Neut is in there somewhere, but Tony can be forgiven for not having total recall. But there is also the problem that Avengers Forever retconned Kang as Immortus, and some of his followers as really Space Phantoms. And I claimed in my comments there and in the Crossing that making some of the Crossing characters SPs forced them all (except the Avengers) to be SPs. In particular I claimed that for Neut in Av#391. (But then Immortus is capable of making the SPs believe they *are* the characters they play - so maybe Neut still *thinks* he's Neut.)

SWORD (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) is a sort-of space-going SHIELD invented in Astonishing X-Men (2004). It's HQ the Peak was destroyed during Secret Invasion and then rebuilt. It was destroyed again in Uncanny Avengers #7, but has presumably been rebuilt again. After Avengers vs X-Men the 'bad' X-Men Cyclops, Emma Frost and Magik in Uncanny X-Men (2013) founded a school for mutants in the old Weapon X HQ to compete with that run by Wolverine & co in Prof X's Westchester mansion. Havok led the Starjammers 'space pirates' during the Emperor Vulcan/Kingbreaker/War of Kings era. I don't know if the arms dealer Starstalker is working for actually appeared in those issues. Death's Head featured in Iron Man's space adventures in #6-16, sometimes fighting against him, sometimes with him, depending which way the wind and money blew.

This story continues from Uncanny X-Men Special #1 and will conclude in Nova Special #1. Sean Ryan is writing all 3 issues - his 1st major scripting job for Marvel, although he's been an editor here for 10 years and has written some stuff for other companies. This appears to be penciller Rahmat Handoko's 1st comics job - you wouldn't have guessed it from the smooth storytelling - maybe it's a pseudonym. I don't know how the 4 inkers fit in, but the scene with Emma Frost seems stiff like the panels are animation cells. The frequently-used idea of trying out new or fairly-new creators on 1-shots continues with inker Roberto Poggi, colourist Ruth Redmond and cover artist Gary Choo. They were also used on the UXM Special, and Choo at least will be on the Nova Special too.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Special #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This story continues from UNCANNY X-MEN SPECIAL #1.

Benjamin Deeds and Mindee (nee Irma, 1 of the Stepford Cuckoos) are waiting for Iron Man. They're wearing SWORD uniforms, sitting in a SWORD spacecraft inside the SWORD HQ, the Peak satellite. They're hoping to persuade him that they're SWORD troopers on SWORD business - instead of trainee X-Men trying to find Cyclops. In Uncanny X-Men Special #1 Scott Summers was kidnapped by the alien bounty-hunting robot Death's Head. Iron Man has had recent dealings with Death's Head. So he invited himself to the party.

Mindee could telepathically find out how to fly the craft, but once they got out of range of the Peak she'd lose access to the knowledge. So they'd better wait for IM to fly it - he probably designed the thing anyway.

Down on Earth in the new X-school in the old Weapon X site, other members of the school are waiting to join the hunt for their headmaster. Once Mindee lets them know the spacecraft is on the way, Magik will magic herself and Goldballs (Fabio Medina), Tempus (Eva Bell) and Triage (Chris Muse) on board. Emma Frost will stay behind (because Tony Stark would recognise her) with the other 2 Stepford Cuckoos (Celeste and Phoebe) (because she wouldn't trust womaniser Tony with 3 young triplets [who are also her clone-daughters]).

When Shellhead arrives chameleon Ben morphs to look like Tony. (I think his power is somewhat involuntary - but it has the side effect of making Stark trust him, so it's good.) Both youngsters seem to be infatuated with the charismatic playboy.

Tony takes the helm, and heads out to where he thinks Death's Head might be. Mindee telepathically contacts Magik, who beams her team aboard. Illyana Rasputin stays hidden (because Stark would recognise her too) while the other 3 don SWORD uniforms and enter the pilot cabin. Tony marvels at how young SWORD agents seem these days.

Then Stark tells them they're heading for the planet Calculex, 1 of Death's Head's 2 known hangouts. (Recorder 451 destroyed the other 1 - Hope's Pustule - in #14.) When they get there the Golden Avenger leads them into Death's Head's haunt - a 'gentlemen's' club called Flamers.

Almost immediately Iron Man is accosted by a diminutive blue alien named Neut who claims the Avengers ruined his life. He used to be an Anachronaut, a time-travelling warrior. But ever since he tangled with the Avengers he's been left here to rot. But in the meantime he's made some friends (a bunch of bigger aliens with big guns), and now's his chance for payback.

Cut to a cell where Cyclops is captive with a helmet restraining his dangerous eyes. In the room with him is Monark Starstalker, a cosmic adventurer who's fallen on hard times. He hired himself out to a galactic arms dealer who wanted revenge on Cyclops' brother Havok for a deal he and the Starjammers broke up. Monark didn't want to take on the X-Men himself (and if he'd known Havok was now with the (Uncanny) Avengers that wouldn't have helped) so he sold his pet robot bird Ulysses and hired Death's Head to do the kidnapping. (He expected to make enough money to buy the bird back.) But Death's Head kidnapped the wrong brother, Starstalker won't get paid, and the arms dealer will probably kill him.

But Scott says surely Starstalker has someone he could call on for help...

Back at the club a fight has broken out, but the X-kids don't want Iron Man to know they have powers. Mindee can use her mind powers without making it too obvious, until Benjamin has to knock her out of the way of a blast. Triage's healing skills aren't useful until the fight is over, and Tempus has to time-freeze an alien to stop him from shooting the other kid. Goldballs' power of firing golden balls would be too conspicuous.

I'm not sure why they're concerned about that, because Shellhead has already taken his part of the action to another room chasing Neut. He now takes the fight outside on the roof, but gives the little guy an AA-type lecture about taking responsibility for his own situation. Before shooting him with a repulsor.

Meanwhile Goldballs is being chased by 1 gunman, and abandons the earlier tactic and fires balls back at him. While he's looking over his shoulder he runs (literally) into Death's Head. Luckily the robot takes his side and swats the gun-toting alien.

Fabio mentally shouts for Mindee, who brings IM and the others. Death's Head has gone, but Medina explains DH told him where Cyclops is - Goldballs paid him in gold balls. Tony Stark is confused by their conversation, and his confusion is increased when Mindee calls in Magik who whisks all the kids away.

The last scene is on Earth where Monark Starstalker has come to find Nova for help. But it's not the Nova he knows, it's Sam Alexander.

This story will end in NOVA SPECIAL #1.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Rahmat Handoko
John Livesay
Ruth Redmond
Gary Choo (Cover Penciler)
Gary Choo (Cover Inker)
Gary Choo (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Nick Lowe.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Scott Summers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Sam Alexander)
White Queen
White Queen

(Emma Frost)

Plus: Benjamin Deeds, Death's Head, Goldballs (Egg), Magik, Monark Starstalker, Neut, Stepford Cuckoos, Tempus (Of X-Men), Triage.

> Iron Man Special: Book info and issue index

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