IRON MAN #27 (1970): 1st Firebrand

Yeah, it may be Don Heck, but what a great splash page!

I’m not sure what happened, but out of a long string of mediocre comics comes a really good one about a civil rights worker who becomes radicalized by his country’s indifference and decides to start burning shit down.  Lots of Marvel books were riffing off the civil rights movement at the time, and this one is only different because it’s about a rich white man who made his fortune providing weapons for the military industrial complex.  Archie Goodwin doesn’t really get into that-instead, Tony Stark is portrayed as a noble philanthropist-but as a reader you can’t help knowing it, and it does give the book a little more weight than it would have had if it had been, say, a Black Panther story.

I could have done without the heavy-handed morality plug at the end, though.  It made an otherwise very interesting book feel a little less complex.

Creators: Archie Goodwin and Don Heck
First appearance: Firebrand
Grade: B

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