I found the issue that inspired all those blue Iron Man action figures I'm obsessed with, Invincible Iron Man #152, from November of 1981. Among my action figure collection are many subsets of varying style, size & manufacture of particular characters, and within a few of those are a few which share particular decoration. There are examples that are mere army building, such as Sinestro Corps members, and some just multiples of an outfit styling or color, New 52 Supermen or black or Silver Age Batmen for example. My fascination with blue Iron Men falls in the latter category, but is made more special by his less frequent appearance on the pegs. They aren't rare by any means, just not as available as the millions of red & gold Iron Men shipped to the U.S. when Robert Downey Jr. starred in the hugely successful movie franchise. Marvel announced Tony's new armor in '81 with a stamp on the cover by artists Eliot Brown & Bob Layton, which is kinda neat- a comic rendering of the Armored Avenger in his new stealth armor over a colored photograph of a city.
This is a Cold War comic, so the KGB is involved, nestled in scenic East Germany, where Tony Stark takes his new armor for a test reconnaissance run at the Heaven's Hand compound. Not as heavily outfitted for an offensive as in his Mark V, Tony is forced to retreat, returning later under the cover of Rhodey's radar-bending stealth craft, the VTOL. After penetrating the stronghold from the mountain's underwater nuclear base, our hero disguises himself as a KGB agent, and he finds his kidnapped lover, Bethany Cabe. Discovering her "late" husband's death was merely a ruse the KGB planted to draw Bethany out, she could not longer be with Tony. The KGB had intended to gain psychological leverage on the once West German Ambassador, who had info on N.A.T.O. sleeper agents, but the Missus was wise and planned an escape beforehand! Tony was shocked that she had not anticipated him in the mix, but still need him to rise above his feelings and save the day as Iron Man! Tony really bares it all when Bethany confides her knowledge of his alter ego, and plays dress-up under her watchful eye. Hilarious!
Anyway, Tony succeeds in seeing everyone off in the VTOL with Rhodey, but gets zapped by the Living Laser at the end like the fool in love he is! I lucked out finding issue #153 at the same time, so I could see the continuing drama unfold. I had a great time reading this issue, and enjoyed a glimpse at John Romita Jr.'s earlier drawing, for more conventional in it's Marvel "house style" aesthetic than his later work on Amazing Spider-Man in the 2000s, Thor Vol.2 , Heroic Age: Avengers, and the recent Marvel NOW! Capt. America title, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading this year. Finding this issue was of personal interest for me regarding the art, the character's tie to my action figure interests, and fond memories of reading comics in the 70s & 80's. Read more about this issue at MarvelWikia.Com!
Some of my blue Iron Men: 7 5/8" Iron Man 3 Iron Monger BAF, 4" Stealth Operations Iron Man, 6" Stealth Strike Iron Man, 4" Fusion Armor Iron Man, and 7" Marvel Select Stealth Iron Man...
More Later- Make It FUN!