Thursday, March 09, 2017

Very nearly, the perfect comic.


We checked out the classic 100th issue over a decade ago (!) and part of the second sequel about five and a half years back, but hadn't yet scanned any of this tattered beauty: from 1981, Iron Man #150, "Knightmare" Plot and story by David Michelinie, pencils by John Romita Jr, plot and inks by Bob Layton.

Time travel back to King Arthur's time wasn't exactly a new idea (in fact, I had just watched the Legends of Tomorrow episode where they visit Camelot!) but it's executed well here. Thrown back in time by a time machine explosion, Dr. Doom and Iron Man are mid-fight when they realize when they are, and are shortly brought before King Arthur himself. But Doom isn't interested in Arthur, but in Morgana le Fey: Doom had been fighting the forces of hell every year, in the hopes of freeing his mother's soul, and wanted Morgana's training to help him finally do so. Morgana is willing to, if Doom will do her a favor: lead her army of the undead against King Arthur.


Mid-battle, Iron Man realizes Doom doesn't have the power to raise the dead (that we know of...) and seemingly turns tail; to get to Morgana. Unable to counter IM's technology, Morgana flees, and her army collapses, leaving a furious Doom without her training. Still, stuck in the past, Doom knows his only chance of getting back to 1981 lies in working with Iron Man, and the two are forced to declare a truce. Together, they are able to use parts from their armors to build a makeshift time machine, and return to neutral ground, with their truce to last 24 hours, and they go their own ways...

This isn't Maus or Watchmen, but for me it's page for page one of the best single issues you can get. There's action, comedy (that feels unforced, especially compared to the sequel #250, which we'll look at someday) and even some pathos: you almost feel for Doom when he knows he's not getting help for his mom. And for an over-sized issue the art holds together all the way through. (#250 falls apart a bit towards the end.) It's a classic that's been reprinted more than once, so dig up a copy yourself.

I've been going through some boxes, since I've been wanting to read the old Hercules mini-series, which was also from Bob Layton. I don't know if I can defend that one as a "classic," but those are definitely comics I love to death. Sooner or later...

2 comments:

SallyP said...

Ooh, I have this one, and it IS a goodie!

Dale Bagwell said...

Also that panel shows up again , albeit much darker and grittier in Civil War: Confession