Bronze Age Beginnings

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Invincible Iron Man #45

Cover date: March 1972

Writer: Gary Friedrich

Artist: George Tuska

Inker: Vince Colletta

The story opens half way through a fight between Iron Man and The Night Phantom, an indestructible android controlled by the ‘mysterious’ Mr. Kline. The same Mr. Kline who, erm, met his demise in last month’s Daredevil. I’ll get to that in a bit....

Also present is some gal named Marianne, who is apparently in love with our hero (and as it turns out, he with her) and has E.S.P.

After Tony Stark/Iron Man recovers from his usual heart seizure, he takes down The Night Phantom easily enough, just in time to cut away to some board room antics at Stark Industries with the other board members plotting to oust Stark. This meeting is being watched by Mr. Kline, which prompts a footnote;

“*Actually, nothing figures in Mr. Kline’s master schemes any longer since he perished in the climax of Daredevil #84. ..Stan.”

Holy interrupted sub-plot Batman! I guess, as reader Rick Kopesky puts it in the letter column, “This Mr. Kline mystery is overdone, and does not have me, for one, the least bit curious as to his secret identity.” And Marvel apparently listened, which explains that bizarre issue of Daredevil. Pity editorial forgot to inform Gary Friedrich, though.

After a brief scene of Young Iron Men in Love, and some guy named Kevin who’s got the hots for Marianne (and is jealous of his best friend and employer, Tony) we head back to Stark Industries, whereupon another boardroom meeting is crashed by The Guardsman. It turns out The Guardsman is Kevin (O’Brian), wearing a suit or armour designed by Stark.

Phew! We’re still not into Chapter Two.

Anyway, a bunch of student protesters turn up at Stark Industries to stick it to the man, and the boardroom members sic The Guardsman onto them...not a good idea, as he inadvertently injures three of them with a Repulsor Ray blast, inciting a riot as Iron Man appears. The Guardsman slinks away, and Iron Man flees the scene to avoid injuring anyone else and to keep the peace. He confronts Kevin in The Guardsman armour and disables him, before returning to the protest outside, just in time for the police to show up.

Continued next issue...

There was a lot going on here, which would probably have flowed easier without the Mr. Kline shenanigans. The soap-opera with Marianne also seemed out of place, but was well drawn by George Tuska, with some not unsympathetic Colletta inks. I’m certainly interested enough in where Tony’s proposal to the psychic Marianne goes.

Buy Iron Man #45 at My Comic Shop

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