Monday, May 03, 2010

"In Shining Iron," part one!

Best known for his creations the Warlord and Jon Sable, Freelance, or for his surprisingly saucy costuming for Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes; Mike Grell also had a good little run on Iron Man around 2002 or thereabouts. Today, we'll hit a three parter from Mr. Grell, written, penciled and inked! "In Shining Iron" from Iron Man #59/404 to #61/406. (The numbering at the time had the new series number first, then the number it would've been if continued from the old series, something Marvel still does every so often.)

This month, instead of dicking around with yet another new Iron Man armor, Tony's building a time machine. Presumably, not just because he's jealous Dr. Doom and Reed Richards already have one. (Did Reed ever build one himself, or is the initial design all Doom's? Well, that's Doom's own fault for leaving it out.) He may be working on it now because in a recent issue, Pepper was pregnant, then lost the baby; and her and Happy's marriage is suffering because of it. (She refuses to tell Happy she was pregnant, and Happy's drinking because he knows something's wrong and she won't tell him.)

Before getting to any tests, Tony gets a call from a Dr. Mallory of the British Museum, with an unusual question: did Iron Man's helmet end up buried in a stone circle in Wales? A helmet that looks like that of his then-current armor, but carbon-dated at about a thousand years old? Mallory was currently on a plane, flying out to bring it to Stark, but after ending the call, Tony's simply thrilled since that means the time machine works. Instead of waiting for her, he suits up and prepares to test it, setting the time and place to the coordinates in Wales that Mallory mentioned. Which seems unwise...Pepper is curious as to Tony's sudden interest in time travel, and it's hinted that he could either be trying to save Pepper's baby and her marriage, or save her for himself. (Pepper also reminds Tony what happened the last time he was in medieval England, with Dr. Doom in the classic Iron Man #150.)

A quick trip through the Time Tunnel-like device, and Tony arrives in the year 1002. And is hit by a knight with a lance within seconds of arrival. The armor protects him easily, and even though his weapons aren't functioning, Tony still unseats and knocks out the knight in short order. He also helps himself to a horse and a sword, reasoning everyone may be as friendly as Sir Backstab there.

Proving his point, as Tony rides towards a castle, he comes across a mounted column under attack by raiders. Tony leaps into battle against the raiders, probably because there's a pretty brunette to save. Even with no swordfighting skill, he's still pretty effective, since even without power, the armor protects him. Until, facing a huge bruiser that resembles classic Thor villain Skurge the Executioner, a strange mist appears and knocks Tony out.

When Tony regains consciousness, he's in bed, dressed in period clothes and his armor removed, and being attended by the brunette, who introduces herself as Aislinn. When asked why she was being attacked, she explains that she's the "seventh daughter of a seventh daughter...a sorceress...a witch." Geez, he didn't ask your life story, lady.

Aislinn asks Tony about his armor, and he downplays it; noticing that she has a lot of questions, but didn't say boo about his artificial heart--which isn't shown here, but I think he had a big mechanical thing sticking out of his chest a la movie Tony Stark. Aislinn calls in her guards, led by the bald bruiser, who hauls Tony off to the dungeon with a sword at his throat. In short order, Tony is hung up on the wall, in a pose that reminds me of Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.

Meanwhile, in 2002, Pepper is worried since she's lost contact with Tony; and Dr. Mallory explains she might now why, having just found the release to open the buried helmet...

So ends the sad tale of Tony Stark, dying a millennium before his own birth, and well before any of that Civil Wars nonsense...oh, wait, to be continued!

1 comment:

Sea-of-Green said...

Wow, thanks for posting this, Googum. I had NO IDEA Grell had done Iron Man!