Sunday, May 04, 2008

Iron Man hit theatres across the globe at the beginning of this month!
It's already garnering impressive critical response rating it among the very best of the superhero movie adaptations. The astute casting of Robert Downey Jr as the cool exec with a heart of steel makes it almost seem obvious in hindsight, but it wasn't even ten years ago that this film seemed a mission impossible!

Before the explosion of success heralded by 2000's X-Men; much speculation surrounding popular Marvel properties; like Iron Man and Fantastic Four; pegged the characters as financially unviable due to the demands of fantastic effects.
Developments in CG effects played only a small part in the eventual development of these amazing new film projects. Changing attitudes in a post-Matrix cinema era saw the hype surrounding dream technologies of computer imaging take a step back, only to be married with the resurging trend of practical effects. It would no doubt be the willingness of Downey and a team of stuntment to endure the physical hardships of a practical suit that would facilitate this multi-million dollar birth of a franchise.

This month the Sunday C2C is all about the ups and downs of Iron Man!
No doubt we'll be adding to the back catalogue through May, but in the mean time, take a look back as we subcategorize our flashbacks. This time around it's a frontal introduction to the superhero adventures of the Iron Man as he does battle with his many adversaries!

Iron Man #159 (June 1982)
"When Strikes Diablo" McKenzie/Smith

Diablo's one of those villains that I would personally regard as a classic, despite falling into obscurity over the past few years. I don't doubt we'll see a Diablo revival some time in the future, but in the mean time, this one's an instant classic!

Maybe it should've had a greater sense of grandeur, but when an amnesiac employee of Stark Industries awakens to his true self, it results in alchemic mayhem! The villain that's bedevilled the sorcery of Dr. Strange, and the science of the Fantastic Four, finds himself in a playground of both when he takes on the invincible Iron Man!
When a monster conjured from the concrete grounds slams ol' shellhead through several underground floors, Diablo discovers Iron Man's secret armory -- and uses his alchemy to turn IM's armor against him!

Iron Man Annual #11 (1990)
"The Awesome Origin of Mrs. Arbogast" Barre/Ditko

When Carrie Barre came to the rescue of her editor husband, she had the challenge of rising to the occasion of writing a comics script. In need of a contemporary but utterly defeatable villain, it was Whirlwind who fit the bill for this secret origin of Tony Stark's girlfriday!

While other applicants for the secretarial position flee in terror; the diligent Mrs. Arbogast does her best to defend Tony Stark's precious files! While posing as his armored bodyguard, Iron Man, the hero struggles to avoid causing undue casualty, leaving Mrs. Arbogast to provide a crucial assist when the hindered hero falls on the back foot.
This might not be a story to phone home over, but you won't want to miss the conclusion to this outpouring of Whirlwind's black bile of vengeance!

Iron Man #302 (March 1994)
"Oil and Gold" Kaminski/Hopgood

... Speaking of black bile -- in a very few unlikely meeting, Tony Stark finds himself the object of Venom's zealous desires!

Infamous for regarding himself a 'lethal protector'; Eddie Brock leads a march on Stark Tower with the intent of unleashing his brutal justice on the wheelchair bound industrialist, whom he believes has made a fortune from fleecing the hard-earned dollars of joe public.

The symbiote-fuelled anti-hero takes great pleasure in stalking the crippled Stark through the many secure levels of his penthouse apartment, as if starring in a stalker horror film. The tables turn, however, when Stark is able to summon the golden assault of his remote controlled armor. This clash of technology and alien creature poses the question -- is it really the suit that makes the man?

Ion Man #312 (January 1995)
"Hands of the Mandarin" Kaminski/Morgan

Ultimately pushed into the background in favour of featuring the technologically grounded Iron Monger; the Mandarin is Iron Man's classical arch-nemesis - and to see him, you'll have to hit the books!

Already being touted for a potential sequel, the Mandarin is a villain from a decidedly different world to the techno-savvy Iron Man! Mandarin despises technology and uses alien rings with mystic connotations to combat the powers of the armored American.

This battle sees what was long considered the final confrontation between the two heroes. While Iron Man's team, Force Works, battles the minions of the Mandarin, Tony Stark comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis for the first time with the visor of his helmet lifted. This was to be the last thing seen by the tyrannical madman, but all is not as it seems...

Iron Man #2 (December 1996)
"Hulk Smash!" Lobdell/Lee/Portacio

Though not technically a villain; the Hulk has a particularly storied rivalry with Iron Man, moreso than the many other heroes the green goliath has clashed with. So much so, Downey Jr has been confirmed to put-in a cameo in June's Incredible Hulk, which promises a future showdown between the Iron Man star and Ed Norton's CG alter-ego.

When Earth's mightiest heroes were whisked into a parallel universe, they find themselves starting over, reborn. Tony Stark, a decadent industrliast, unwittingly plays a part in facilitating the recreation of a rampaging beast known only as Hulk! Unbenknownst to Stark, the jade giant is actually his diminutive friend, Bruce Banner; the man who helped designed the gamma power core that was sabotaged to create the Hulk. In just one of the many clashes between the characters, we see that even in another world they are destined to fight!

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