Marvel Masterworks: Invincible Iron Man – Volume 3
Pros: Iron Man vs. Namor, interesting stories and new twist
Cons: Some story elements are too, too overplayed
Tony Stark is under harsh criticism by a congressman named Senator Byrd. He is determined to bring down Tony and take away his national defense contract. Stark not only must remain vigilant against this very aggressive patriot, but also against numerous enemies such as the Black Knight, Count Nefaria and others seeking revenge. -summary
Collecting Tales of Suspense issues 66 – 83 and Tales to Astonish issue 82. This collection of Iron Man stories that shared the title with Captain America continues the Golden Avenger’s exciting adventures. When looking back at these stories it is pretty understandable on what made Iron Man into one of Marvel’s more important properties around the time. Although his rogues gallery would be a negative issue later; they are quite interesting during this time period and his civilian life has many moments of being close to as interesting as well. This is another solid trade that really shouldn’t be skipped by those whom have a soft spot for the earlier stories of the 60’s.
It’s worth mentioning immediately that the action segments are pretty much on par with the last volume and even in some cases quite better. Iron Man engages in a very personal battle with the Russian armored warrior the Titanium Man and I really like how this confrontation was set up, with the Titanium Man simply not liking him, and believing Iron Man’s defeat would terribly hurt the will of the American people. Stan Lee manages to make the battle entertaining enough with a good dose of imagination, and captures the hostilities between Russia and the USA during the Cold War, plus adding that usual comic twist for adventure. It was a pretty good conflict.
Later on Iron Man’s title crosses over with the Sub-Mariner during Namor’s feud with Warlord Krang, which resulted in one of the best Marvel slugfests of all time. Many people forget that at one point Sub-Mariner was a very popular character whom had engaged in some ferocious battles with not only the Hulk but also Iron Man, and some will say this is the best encounter with the latter. They really do go at it in one for the ages. The Titanium Man returns for another clash, Mandarin attacks once again, and Senator Byrd really becomes a thorn in Stark’s side.
On a positive note a majority of the stories deliver something nice with engaging action and suspense, because one can only wonder how Stark is going to come out on top; unfortunately some of the stories are quite corny, and the love triangle between Happy Hogan, Pepper Potts, and Tony Stark had begun to run its course. Thankfully Lee manages to shake this up quite a bit, but this does get a little annoying in paperback form as opposed to monthly single issues.
Don Heck and Gene Colan’s pencils deliver the goods quite nicely. The multi-arc battle against Sub-Mariner feels very intense and even more personal than the battle with Titanium Man. It’s mainly because Namor has something to fight for, plus he had been fighting Iron Man and the Avengers for quite some time at this point. For the most part there really isn’t anything to complain about with the action panels; and the character designs are quite consistent. I really didn’t notice when the title crossed over into Tales to Astonish. The backgrounds, character designs, landscapes such as dark castles were nicely detailed and a joy to look through.
Overall this is a very solid volume that will definitely appeal to Iron Man and most Marvel fans. Despite the age this paperback reads quite well and I never had the feel to stop at any point. If one has been avoiding the early Iron Man titles for some reason, I highly recommend starting with the second volume and giving them a try.