Sunday, May 18, 2008

For this month's C2C I decided to divide up our catalogue featurettes to accomodate different qualities that make up Iron Man. After all, he's a multi-facetted character. Don't believe me? Pick up a couple of different titles featuring the character right now and you'll find anything from the flying adventures of a superhero, to the mysoginistic beddings of a playboy, to the stressful politics of an espionage director.

We've already spotlighted the flying superhero and the golden Avenger, but what of the secret life of Stark? As a character deeply involved with political tensions, corporate espionage, and international intrigue; many of Iron Man's struggles seperate from his life with the Avengers! The private battles Stark endures include everything from alcoholism, crippling injuries, Russians, Chinese, space aliens, and more!
Perhaps Tony Stark's greatest feud remains his private war with the anti-technology terrorist, the Mandarin! The following are just a handful of Stark's veiled conflicts.

Iron Man #271 (August 1991)
"Dragon Flame" Byrne/Ryan

If by now you've seen the movie, then you've already met James Rhodes, the man destined to become War Machine! You probably saw that coming, but did you know Rhodey has stood in as Iron Man for several tenures throughout he and Stark's partnership?

That's right! When the Mandarin returns from apparent death he brings with him the menace whose back scrapes the sun in an effort to test the legitimacy of his foe. Suspicious that the armored hero might not be who he seems, Mandarin, and his own master, watch as Rhodey does battle with Fin Fang Foom!

Fin Fang Foom is just one of the classic Iron Man villains unlikely to make it to the big screen, so the only place you'll soak up the sights of the alien dragon are in the comics!

Iron Man #316 (May 1995)
"Triangle" Kaminski/Morgan

Right behind the Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom are two villains from an age when relations between the United States and Communist Russia where cold, to say the least. For some soldiers in the Soviet red army the war never ended.

With the Black Widow by his side; Iron Man launches an attack to stop the Titanium Man, who's been sabotaging and attacking recently developed parks maintained by Stark Industries!

The Titanium Man's unrelenting assault is only provoked further when his former soldier in arms, Crimson Dynamo, arrives to pacify the cold war venom of the armored villain. It is an intervention that costs the Dynamo dearly, but opens the door to a new chapter in the secret life of Stark. A humble moment as he waves the flag of the Russian hero who gave everything to stop his countryman!

Iron Man #3 (March 2005)
"Extremis" Ellis/Granov

The former US Secretary of Defense is forced into defensive action when the survivor of a radical terrorist family from the American South obtains experimental technology designed to reprogram DNA to create a living weapon. With the threat to national security, Iron Man faces the angry youngman in the field of combat, but soon finds he's bitten off more than even he can chew!

Anyone looking to make the transition from film to comic will want to get a closer look at Extremis - the story that leads to the modern rebirth of an armored icon! With political, social, and economical undertones, the story not only pits Tony Stark against a powerful new foe capable of his destruction, but also leads to the moment when Stark himself undergoes the Extremis procedure, and finally becomes a living Iron Man more machine than man!

New Avengers: Illuminati #1 (February 2007)

As a successful industrialist, former Secretary of Defense, and Director of SHIELD, Tony Stark knows a thing or two about secrecy. The word takes on a new meaning, however, when the greatest minds and powers of the superhero community unite to form a secretive cabal designed to monitor and manipulate the most serious of threats to the human race, and issues internal to the powered community.

With Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, Namor, and Prof. Charles Xavier; Tony Stark undertakes efforts to guard infinitely powerful cosmic weapons, prevent existential experimentation, and stop the rampaging aggressions of the Hulk -- but of all the interventions of the Illuminati, the most infamous is sure to become their warning to the Skrull. Watch as Stark attempts to save the planet, only to condemn it to assured destruction at the hands of a secret Skrull invasion!

Nova #3 (August 2007)
"Home Truths" Abnett/Lanning/Chen

After championing the Superhero Registration Act; Tony Stark was elevated to the official senior role of Director of SHIELD. His position gives him jurisdiction over America's heroes, but what of the powers outside America's invisible boarders?...

The alarm is raised when the last surviving Centaurian of the Nova Corps returns to planet Earth after battling the Annihilation Wave that threatened to exterminate life in the universe! Once a member of the youth group, the New Warriors; Richard Ryder returns world weary and ill prepared for the fickle rule over super powers.

Unwilling to turn his back on injustice, Nova uses his cosmic power, earning attention for his illegal vigilantism. A public showdown ensues in the most violent way, ensuring a beurocratic biff between Iron Man's SHIELD and the autonomous Thunderbolts!

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