X-O Manowar/Iron Man in Heavy Metal
Valiant/Marvel (September, 1996)“The Reality Alchemists” WRITER; Fabian Nicieza ARTIST: Andy Smith COLORS: Twilight Graphics LETTERER: Virtual Calligraphy ASSISTANT EDITOR: Omar Banmally CONSULTING ASSISTANT EDITOR: Nancy Poletti CONSULTING EDITOR: Mark Gruenwald EDITOR: Lynaire Thompson EDITOR IN CHIEF: Bob Layton
This is based on the video game that was coming out from Acclaim, who had just obtained Valiant and had the Marvel license. So they combined Iron Man and X-O Manowar. The X-O here is the original, Aric, while Iron Man was still Teen Tony at this time. I think this is the only story I have with Teen Tony and if I wasn’t aware of what was going on in the Marvel universe at the time and just wanted a video game adaptation I would have been really confused. about this. So how does the story hold up?
Baron Zemo and Crescendo have discovered each other as both universes have found shards of what he believes to be the Cosmic Cube and she refers to as the Rock Of Reality. (Not being up on my Valiant lore I don’t know the history of this “Rock Of Reality”, if it’s part of the Valiant universe like the Cosmic Cube is for the Marvel universe or something created for the game.) Their attempts to find the shards in their respective universes through their prospective henchmen leads to Aric getting involved and shattering one piece, creating a disturbance in the multiverse and an alternate reality Jim Rhodes Iron Man showing up in his universe. Meanwhile, Zemo’s goons steal a special drill from a Stark research lab, bringing Iron Man into the fray. He tracks another shard and joins with an alternate reality X-O (Rand Banion) but Zemo panics and activates the Rock Cube before it’s ready. Zemo and Crescendo begin fighting over the Rock Cube and the multiverse is wiped out.
Well, except this is a two-part story and would make for a terrible game ending. I do actually have the game but I never got past the early levels.
What they got right: Something that disappointed me about the DC/Marvel crossovers of the 90s is that we never got to see Steel and Iron Man work together. Here we see a difference between the two. Aric attacks “his” Iron Man and appears to kill him while Tony immediately joins forces with “his” X-O (despite being a Marvel universe team-up). We also see Aric is quite clever.
What they got wrong: Unless your a fan of both the Marvel and Valiant universes, it’s going to be hard knowing what’s going on. As I said above, I don’t know what the Rock Of Reality is. I’ve also never heard of Crescendo or Augur. I know the spider-aliens because I know a bit of X-O’s origin but that’s only because I’m a fan of armored heroes. Also this was just before Acclaim relaunched the Valiant universe with a new X-O at the controls. Baron Zemo and Arnim Zola I’m a little more familiar with but any Valiant fan who isn’t may be a bit lost. Mostly why the two villain groups refer to the same object by different names or why Tony Stark is now a teenager.
Recommendation: I can’t say much for the video game, but the comic is off to a good start. Tomorrow we’ll look at the conclusion to the crossover, where it’s the same title just with the heroes’ names switched.