Marvel Action Hour: Iron Man #4
Marvel Comics (February, 1995)“The Grim Reaper” WRITER: Barry Dutter PENCILER: Yancy Labat INKER: John Nyberg COLORIST: Sam Parsons LETTERER: Dave Sharpe EDITOR: Tom Daning
I am going way off format for this review because the episode being adapted, “The Grim Reaper Wears A Teflon Coat”, is the best example of everything that was wrong with season 1 of Iron Man. If I reviewed things I hate in Video Reviews this would be up there with The Ice Pirates and that “Tooth And Claw” episode of the new Doctor Who, which I may have to do anyway because the heck with “Love & Monsters”, that’s only lame near the end and I am totally off track, aren’t I? Okay, back on course.
The basic plot is that Tony creates a new fighter plane that’s supposed to be impressive but after the Turbo Kat in SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron that thing better have a robot mode to impress me. (Actually, imagine the Turbo Kat with a robot mode. That would be awesome!) In the comic Mandarin uses the Chameleon to slip a device on the plane called “optical paralysis”, which uses a special light to paralyze people in time or something. It’s never explained but the method in the episode, involving some weird explanation of warping space/time that makes so little sense the Doctor Who writers would think it was crap, probably shouldn’t have tried to explain it. So already Dutter has earned twice what he was paid for this free adaptation. Tony figures out what happened and makes a filter for his helmet so that when he confronts the Mandarin it doesn’t work.
In the episode the heroes recover the plane and I’m totally serious the last minute has Mandarin steal the plane, laughing like a 3 year old about it, until Iron Man destroys the plane…which Tony never wanted to build because it was so advanced. In either version we’re never told why it’s supposed to be so advanced (an energy shield is the closest thing to impressive in the comic version…but in a world where people can create energy shields it’s not that impressive) but Iron Man saving then destroying the plane feels like it was thrown in at the last minute. Here it’s destroyed during the battle and Iron Man and friends never really retrieve it. That works better. Everything about this issue works better than an episode my compadre Rowdy C should be reviewing it on TV Trash. I’d even help him because I hate this episode. It’s poorly written even by the standards of a show where Tony uses classical music to recharge his armor over hard rock in a story that is so obviously written by an old man who hates modern (90s) rock music that might as well have been the title. “The Writer Hates Rock” by Old Fogey.
This is why I broke format. While the comic isn’t perfect (90s art, they keep forgetting the Mandarin has green skin on the show for some odd reason) the fact that it’s competent make it light years above the episode and something I’d recommend. I’m serious, if you ever get the full show DVD, watch Season 2 first, or ignore season 1 altogether. You’ll be much happier.