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Julia Bowman Ms. Bell English IV 3 September, 2013 The Invincible Iron Man Comic books have been around for a very long time and played an interesting role in our history as Americans. Iron Man, one of the many heroes these comics focus on also played a small role in lifting American spirits and encouraging prosperity. Jim Starlin provided the plot, illustrations, and character concepts for one of these issues, #55, and had a part in the development of some aspects of Iron Man himself. THE HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS When you first think of comic books you think of super heroes, villains, and damsels in distress. Comics themselves are vastly more than just a good guy, a bad guy, Superman gets Lois Lane, the end. Pre-1955, comics included intense gore, inventive mayhem, and sociopathic behavior, GTA has nothing on EC Comics (McHugh). The violent video games of today look like childrens games next to these comics, people were so outraged by the books they held book burnings, some of the collectors of the books were girl scouts sent house to house in search of such gruesome tales. There were also court hearings on the issue that did not go very smoothly for EC Comics. In the end, EC only managed to save one comic title, MAD, from being shut down. They did however continue their tirade through MAD by using it as a mechanism for getting back at the culture that had squashed everything he loved (McHugh).

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THE HISTORY OF IRON MAN Iron man first appeared in 1963, created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby, and was loosely based off of the successful playboy Howard Hughes. When Iron Man was first released the threat of communism was very prominent, he sent the message to readers that great things could be achieved through thrift, risk and hard work (Flazam). Iron man began as a boy named Anthony Edward Tony Stark; he was a child genius and a prodigy of sorts. When Tony was 7, he was sent to a boarding school and by 15 he was enrolled in MIT and graduated at 19 with a double major in physics and engineering. He lost his parents in a car accident when he was 21 years old. One of the first things he did after inheriting Stark Industries, a weapons corporation, was to buy the manufacturer of the car that his parents died in and fix the seemingly faulty brake system. Stark had a terrible business mind and left most of his responsibilities to Pepper Potts who had been recently promoted from secretary to executive assistant. Stark was injured by one of his land mines while at a munitions plant testing new technologies in Afghanistan during war; he was captured by a Mandarin lackey, a warlord by the name of Wong Chu. The shrapnel lodged near Tonys heart by the land mine threatened to kill him until Tony and another captive, a physicist, created an arc reactor to stop the shrapnel from moving any closer to his heart, temporarily sustaining his life. Being threatened with death, the captives were forced to create a dooms day device, Stark, instead, built an iron suit which he used to escape Wong Chu and avenge the death of his fellow captive.

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The Invincible Iron Man takes on many story arcs, from escaping terrorists to faking his own death to battling alcoholism; Tony Stark never seems to have down time. Stark receives support from many of the people close to him including his fianc at the time, Joanna Nivena, who encourages him to continue as the Iron Knight. As Starks heart condition weighs on him he avoids intimate relationships due to the fact that he could die at any time, although this problem is resolved when his condition becomes public and he receives an artificial heart transplant. JIM STARLIN Often when readers think of Marvel comics they think of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, but Jim Starlin is also a major contributor to the Marvel comic scene. He was influenced by Lee, Kirby, and Ditko but also very influential for many of the newer artists today. While working on Iron Man, Starlin introduced his own characters, Thanos and Drax the Destroyer as well as the Titans on planet Saturn. Starlin is known as the grim reaper in the comic industry for his part in many comics with the central motif being death (Brother). THE SUMMARY OF ISSUE #55 The comic begins with Drax the Destroyer imprisoned and sending a telepathic warning to Tony Stark to watch out for the Blood Brothers sent to kidnap Stark. He asks Drax who he is and what he wants with him and Drax the Destroyer explains that he was created on Saturn, his home planet by the disembodied entity known as Kronos in order to defeat Thanos, the son of Saturns ruler, Mentor. Thanos betrayed his father, and gathered an army of interstellar malcontents (Lee) in order to defeat his father and take over Saturn. Because Drax was unable to defeat Thanos when he first battled him, due to injuries, he sought Iron Mans aid in destroying Thanos. Although Stark was captured by the Brothers and taken to Saturn where Drax was being

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imprisoned, Stark manages an attempt to defeat the Brothers again but fails. Thanos shows himself to Iron Man and reveals his intentions to conquer Saturn and later Earth. Isaac, the super computer of Saturn, locked in on Draxs location and sent a blue flame to reflect off of Iron Mans chest piece and release the Destroyer of his bonds. Drax flies into action and he and Iron Man defeat the Blood Brothers together. They find Thanos and attack him only to learn that the Thanos they were battling was a robot and the real Thanos had escaped. Drax realizes that Thanos was trying to delay them and blow them up with a bomb hidden in the prison and he and the Golden Avenger flee the building, only to watch it explode. Drax the Destroyer asks Iron Man how he can repay him to which he replies, on my world, a victory won and an evil thwarted is a double payment! (Lee) REVIEW OF THE ISSUE This comic was dramatically written with words that the script writer wanted emphasis on in bold and sometimes italics. The illustrations that accompanied the script were detailed and aided in providing a picture for the reader to better understand what the writer was conveying. Often the illustrator incorporated onomatopoeia such as zat, pow, or ba-doom to make the story more dramatic. The script writer also used imagery to describe some background music such as when the Blood Brothers took Iron Man to join Drax in prison, in a hovercraft, the writer explained, and there is light music in its rise to orbit, as well as, then full orchestration in its achievement of near escape velocity (Lee).

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Works Cited

McHugh, Josh. "The Cold War-Era Assault on Comic Book Culture, Revisited." 25 02 2008: n. page. Web. 3 Sep. 2013. <http://www.wired.com/culture/culturereviews/magazine/1603/pl_print>.

Flazam, . "Comic Vine." . N.p., 02 9 2013. Web. 3 Sep 2013. <http://www.comicvine.com/ironman/4005-1455/>.

Lee, Stan. The Invincible Iron Man. Comic Book. Marvel Comic Groups: 20. Print.

Brother, . "Jim Starlin." n. page. Web. 5 Sep. 2013. <http://www.comicvine.com/jimstarlin/4040-7922/>.