O’Neil and McDonnell were a very different creative team from their predecessors, but they built on the amazing work done by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and John Romita, Jr.
It can be hard when a team takes over a celebrated run–and the Michelinie/Layton years are probably the best Iron Man years ever. But rather than break entirely and reboot, the team took Tony Stark down and, within a few issues, gave us our first black Iron Man: James Rhodes. The art was very different, too; rather than focus on gleam, shine, and clear lines, McDonnell’s Iron Man was darker, grittier, and less polished.
This is the book that established McDonnell’s reputation. From here, he would go on to Suicide Squad. But not until he’d given us some of the best Iron Man books ever.