I intend to remedy that…right now.
Where to begin? Iron Man #220 is the second in a trilogy of stories, featuring SpyMaster and the Ghost as the antagonists. The creators are writer David Michelinie, penciler Mark D. "Doc" Bright, and inker/embellisher Bob Layton. Longtime Iron man fans will know the first and third names intimately; Michelinie and Layton are on their second run on Iron Man. Their first run introduced a fledgling artist by the name of John Romita, Jr., as well as collaborations with the likes of Carmine Infantino, "Our Pal" Sal Buscema, John Byrne, Jerry Bingham and others from issue #s 116-154. Their second run went from issue #s 215-250. With the exception of issue #s 218 and 224, the first sixteen issues were penciled by Mark Bright.
I don’t know why Mark was never assigned the X-Men. If you check out fantastic Four Annual #18 and Spider-Man vs. Wolverine: High Tide, you’ll see what I mean. In FF Annual #18, Mark recreates the scene where Wolverine pounces on Raksor the Skrull, and I must say, as a former Byrne Victim, he totally blows away Byrne’s version of the scene. In Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, Mark displays his penchant for fine comic book art, and he effortlessly shows his facility with the characters.
So…without further ado, let’s get to my review of Iron Man #220.
As I mentioned earlier, Iron Man #220 is the middle chapter of a three-issue story, featuring SpyMaster and introducing the Ghost to Iron Man’s rogues gallery. The issue begins with James "Rhodey" Rhodes entering Tony Stark’s suite and finding Iron Man in his silver and red armor sacking out on the couch. he attempts to rouse Tony, only to almost receive a faceful of repulsor. Tony explains the menace of the Ghost, and the unfortunate timing of his attack upon Stark Enterprises; he is attempting to acquire Accutech, specifically their beta generator. Roxxon, a rival corporation, also wishes to get their hands upon the prototype device, and so, they hired the Ghost to steal the device. The Ghost was driven off by Iron Man, but since he has the powers of intangibility and invisibility, he is not an easy foe to combat.
Roxxon contacts the Ghost and tells him that due to his personal attacks upon Tony Stark, the contract is null and void, but the Ghost insist upon finishing the job. The Roxxon executive then hires SpyMaster to remove the Ghost from the equation.
Tony is disassembling his newest armor to perform upgrades, and Rhodey orders lunch. His secretary at the time, Ms. Williams (Mrs. Arbogast returns to the cast a couple of issues later) asks if Tony’s lunch should be sent to his office. Rhodey inquires as to why, and she responds that she saw Tony go up in his private elevator.
Tony and Rhodey surmise that it’s the Ghost masquerading as Tony; Tony borrows Rhodey’s beretta, and tells Rhodey to suit up in the old red-and-gold armor. Rhodey begins a protest, but Tony is up and away to his penthouse. Rhodey is averse to wearing the armor; in issue#s 215-216, Rhodey almost burned to death in re-entry from space, fighting against a faction of AIM.
Tony Stark is sitting in his penthouse, where he is greeted by the visage of the Ghost, who hits Tony square in the chest with a blast of energy. When he goes to inspect the look upon Tony’s face, he is rewarded with an energy siphon, courtesy of SpyMaster. With the Ghost’s defenses nullified, SpyMaster is about to kill the Ghost, when the real Tony interrupts the murder. The Ghost uses the distraction to overload the energy siphon, and makes his getaway. Spymaster is about to put many holes in Tony, only to find that the Ghost has escaped. He uses a tracker built into the energy siphon to track the Ghost, despite his invisible/intangible state while fleeing.
Tony runs into SpyMaster once again lower in the Stark Enterprises building; they are then interrupted by Rhodey with the armor tote in tow. Spymaster blasts at Rhodey, who uses the case as a shield. Once SpyMaster is away, Tony asks why Rhodey’s not wearing the armor. Rhodey tells him that he can’t wear the suit right now, however, Tony should.
Iron Man quickly begins to take the issue in hand, and the two antagonists find themselves outclassed. In the confusion, the Ghost slaps an intangibility panel onto SpyMaster’s chest and pushes him through a wall. SpyMaster marvels at his technology, but inquires as to why the Ghost would save him? The Ghost replies, "Why, my dear fellow, I’m not saving you…I’m killing you!"
At that moment, the Ghost removes the intangibility circuit…while Spymaster is still part of the wall.
What an excellent issue! The Ghost trilogy is concluded in issue #221, but this issue stands out to me because of the unannounced death of a major antagonist, said death not being featured on the cover. I dare you to find a comic book in the present that doesn’t feature a character’s impending death on the cover. That’s what I loved about comics growing up, back when comics were done without a profit motive being foremost in the minds of the companies; you could just tell great stories. We seem to have come back to the good stories aspect of comics, but the profit motive is readily apparent in the number of crossovers, one-shots and other specials offered to comic book fans.
Anyway, that’s it for my review of Iron Man #220 – I’d like to hear your comments in regards to my reviews and observations.