Thursday, January 03, 2013

80-Page Thursdays: Marvel Super-Heroes #13!

Our first 80-pager of the year is a recent pickup: Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (Spring 1993), the all Iron Man issue! Featuring stories from Jim Owsley (aka Christopher Priest) and Kurt Busiek; with art by Greg LaRoque and James Fry III, inks by Vince Colletta, Armando Gil, Bruce Patterson, and Jim Sanders III.

I want to say this issue was burning off three unused fill-in issues, but can't be positive. For those of you who may not recall, back in the day comics publishers had to get an issue to the printers come hell or high water; and the editors often commissioned a "fill-in" story or two that they could slot in if the regular creative crew didn't get their issue in on time. I don't know if any publishers use fill-ins like that anymore, since the way comics are solicited now, retailers would rightfully throw a fit if the promised name-brand creative team was nowhere to be seen...

Owsley brings us a two-parter with "The Sting" and "Checkmate!" Tony Stark is double-crossed by a test pilot and abandoned on an island, part of a plan by Justin Hammer. But Hammer has taken Tony's bait--or has he? And Tony's plan further falls apart with the complications of native islanders, an earthquake, and sharks...not a bad little story, although weaker on the art front.
Busiek's story is set in the red-and-silver armor era, but features a villain from about a hundred issues before that: Mordecai Midas. Not a big name; but there's also a subplot with Tony forced to accept help from a bright young vacationer ('accepting help' being a lesson that Tony seemingly never learns...) and realizing as a very public figure, his private demons like alcoholism are very well-known.

So, the whole issue is fluff, but not terrible fluff; and I like both writers, which helps a lot. Far from the worst way to kill 80 pages...

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