Monday, May 13, 2013

1981 - Doomquest/Knightmare - Iron Man #149-150

Iron Man #149-150
Aug-Sep 1981
Writers - David Michelinie/Bob Layton
Artists - John Romita Jr./Bob Layton

Iron Man #149-150 is a great two-part story celebrating Iron Man's 150th issue. Michelinie and Layton would revist this storyline in a sequel published in 1989 in Iron Man #249-250.

Tony discovers that an executive in his company has sold technology to Latveria, a country on Stark International's black list. Iron Man intercepts the technology before it gets into Doom's hands, but all that does in infurate Doom who then dispatches his minions to steal the technology back. They succeed and Tony decides to pay a "diplomatic" visit to Latveria and confronts Doctor Doom as Iron Man.

Their discussion leads to a physical confrontation: "You should not have done that, Errand boy. I was going to make your death a swift one!" But before anything can be resolved, one of Doom's minons with a grudge, Hauptmann, sends them both back in time.

Iron Man and Doctor Doom find themselves in the era of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.They are taken before King Arthur who is overwhelmed by their sudden arrival and needs some to time to figure out what to do next as he fears this might be a plot of Morgana Le Fey.

Doom refuses to wait and seeks out Morgana. He allies himself with Morgana in exchange for mystical knowledge which he hopes to use to one day free his mother's soul from Hell. Doom leads a horde of Morgana's zombies against Arthur's knights. Doom and Iron Man engage each other, but Iron Man takes the battle directly to Morgana, who withdraws from this plane of existence. Doom, without Morgana's zombie horde, agrees to a cease fire. Doom and Iron Man work together, kit-bashing their armors to create a warp field that returns them both to their own time.

John Romita Jr's art is so smooth under Layton's inks; his work looks so much more finished and clean than his current work.

The splash page for #150 is amazing, with Romita Jr. chanelling Steve Ditko.

Interestingly, the whole plot point that brought them together, the sale of illegal arms, was never actually resolved! The story ended with a temporary truce and Doom stating that "we will meet again." Of course, they don't meet again until 8 years later 1989.

Micheline and Layton's take on Doom is dead-on and really captures his presence and arrogance.

You can hunt down these issues or you can look for the Iron Man: Doomquest Premiere Edition which was published in 2008, also reprinting sequel "Recurring Knightmare. 

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