IRON MAN #161: Enter Denny O’Neil and Luke McDonnell

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This is the first issue of theDenny O’Neil and Luke McDonnell run.  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.

This issue features a team-up with Moon Knight.  I have to say that, with rare exceptions, pre-2010 MK rarely works well unless he’s written by Doug Moench.  And he and Iron Man never actually meet in this issue (at least not in costume).  MK doesn’t do a whole lot—he works on the surface while Iron Man is underwater fighting AIM—but McDonnell can draw the heck out of Moon Knight so it’s a perfectly fine issue.  Not much happens, nothing happens that matters, but it’s like a good, non-Spidey issue of Marvel Team-Up.

Creators: Denny O’Neil and Luke McDonnell
Grade: C+
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

 

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