Iron Man Annual #7
Marvel (1984)“When Giants Walk the Earth!” WRITER: Bob Harras PENCILER: Luke McDonnell INKERS: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey COLORIST: Bob Sharen LETTERER: Rick Parker EDITOR: Mark Gruenwald
Iron Man (Rhodey) has joined the west coast branch of the Avenger, led by Hawkeye and joined by Wonder Man, Mockingbird, and Tigra. However, Rhodey’s self-doubt and another fight with Tony weighs on him. It gets worse when Erik Josten, the villain formerly known as Power Man, seeks the help of Doctor Malus, who restores Josten’s power while enhancing it with Pym’s growth serum, creating the new supervillain Goliath! Angry at the world, Goliath takes out Iron Man and a good part of LA, and then defeats Wonder Man and Hawkeye as well in the second battle. The three heroes decide teamwork is their best bet and as Goliath goes after the Hollywood sign in a further show of power the Avengers pool their talents to finally bring him down.
What they got right: I like the parallel here. To quote Rhodey over the unconscious Josten “you were terrified of being a has-been and I’m afraid of being a never-was”. Goliath is good foe for the Avengers.
What they got wrong: I know that Wonder Man (whose powers Josten’s was based on) and Hawkeye (who used to go by Goliath during his own size-changing period) have their own beefs with Goliath, but why were the ladies excluded? Also, Annuals make the best jumping on or stand-alone stories, to get new readers to “try out” a character before dedicating themselves to the book. But we never see Rhodey without his helmet. I didn’t even know he was black until years later. (I had one of those “Secret Wars” figures with the image-changing shields, but even thought the back claimed it was Rhodey the image was Tony and here Tony had a full beard.)
Other notes: Having seen Iron Man cameo ever so briefly on Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends I came across this comic and immediately Iron Man became my favorite Marvel hero, thus starting my interest in high-tech (or sometimes magical) armored superheroes, which I still maintain. This was also one of my first comics (but not one of the first three I got together) so I’ve read this a lot. Also, Goliath would go on to become a superHERO named Atlas, thanks to his time with the original Thunderbolts.
Recommendation: So admitting to a potential nostalgia bias this is one of my favorite Iron Man stories and one of my favorite comics. It’s definitely one to look up for Rhodey fans.