Monday, May 30, 2011

But...his name isn't 'Moonman.'

Not too long ago, I got a new copy of another book I had as a kid, Iron Man #161, guest-starring Moon Knight. How does this issue hold up? Um...

The story opens with Iron Man testing his weapons underwater, at a Stark International lab. Tony wanted to make sure they were up to snuff just in case, since he was going to be taking a tour of Project Neptune, an experimental undersea power generating facility near NYC. Which is already being taken over by Advanced Idea Mechanics on the third page. Sadly, A.I.M. didn't bring MODOK on this one.

Tony takes a sub down to Neptune, with other potential investors Marc Spector (who refreshingly, confesses to not being in the same league financially) and old lady Sissy Host II, who claims to be richer than the others put together. A.I.M. holds the investors at gunpoint when they arrive, but Spector punches one out, giving Stark time to run off and change into Iron Man. He needn't have hurried, though, since A.I.M. takes the escape pods and leaves. They blow up the sub, leaving only one escape pod, and a batch of traps for Iron Man. (Or whoever, but one trap was a big electromagnet, which probably wouldn't have done much to say, Thor.)

A.I.M.'s last trap was a robot that rips open the airlock, and the habitat begins to flood. Iron Man takes out the robot, but the damage is done: in what seems like several design flaws at once, the airlock is part plastic and can't be welded shut, the electrical locking mechanism isn't engaging and Tony doesn't recognize it, and the designer was the only one that knew how it worked and he had been fired. Tony was holding the lock shut, but it wasn't watertight.

Mrs. Host has an asthma attack, and is offered the last escape pod. Which Spector promptly swipes for himself. Reaching the surface, Spector demands they take him back to Manhattan, where he makes his way to his cab, and turns into Moon Knight! (This wasn't the first Moon Knight story I'd ever read: he made the Avengers tryouts in Avengers #211) Although Spector tells himself Host probably wouldn't have survived the pressure change anyway, it's a ballsy, bastard-y move that is a step further than you could imagine Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent pulling.
Everyone crouch into frame...
Back under the sea, over radio the remaining hostages hear A.I.M.'s demands. Meanwhile, Moon Knight is on the trail of the airlock designer, who had lost his job when he became a junkie. (!) MK uses the Daredevil technique (i.e. go to the first bar you see, beat up everyone inside) to no avail, but gets a good tip from his usual informant Crawley. (He refers to Crawley as his last chance, but in his own book Crawley is pretty consistent with the goods, I'd go to him first!) Moon Knight arrives just in time to save the designer from a drug deal gone bad, and puts him through to the hostages. He may have been a junkie for some time, since "he'd put the airlock circuits in with the kitchen circuits so they'd be out of the way." I'm not a designer, or an electrician, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen no matter how much heroin you use.

When the airlock seals, Iron Man is saved (since he had been running out of oxygen in his armor) and he finds A.I.M.'s hideout in about thirty seconds (based on something someone overheard) and beats the hell out of them in less time. Look, A.I.M. guys are lab rats, not combat-hardened yahoo's, all right? Tony then hightails it back undersea, in time to change back and be rescued. The only casualty, appears to be Spector's reputation.

So, this is a fun little adventure, unless you take two seconds to think about it...which we did. Oops. Still, Iron Man and Moon Knight get a team-up without even meeting, which is always a fun touch; and it's always good to see the A.I.M. beekeepers. From Iron Man #161, "If the Moonman should Fail!" Script by Dennis O'Neil, pencils by Luke McDonnell, inks by Mike Esposito and Steve Mitchell.

1 comment:

Alice Bluegown said...

Weird - I once owned this comic, and absolutely the only thing I remember about it is the awful, awful title, which doesn't even make sense. Don't think I liked the story much either, even though I was huge Moon Knight fan at the time, and O'Neil's run on Iron Man was generally top-notch. Oh yeah, and I'm with you on the AIM uniforms - design classics, as Cassandra Nova would doubtless say!