Iron Man: Bad Blood #1
Marvel Comics (September, 2000)
“A Gathering Dark”
PLOT: David Michelinie & Bob Layton
WRITER: David Michelinie
ARTIST: Bob Layton
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
A quiet day out on his boat is ruined for Tony when they’re attacked by the same guys Spymaster sent to beat Tony to near-death in Paris. Now he wants to kidnap Stark but Tony gets the ship’s crew to safety and save the day as Iron Man, one of the goons escaping. However, Tony acts a bit strangely today. Iron Man brings down the escaping goons but doesn’t think about helping a research vessel caught in the crossfire. He snaps at Pepper and considers making low-level armor for people to escape supervillain attacks. When the escaped goon goes after him again and Tony has to defeat him without his armor Rhodey has to keep his friend from killing the man. And when Tony learns Happy moved some funds around without telling him (to help a sight center get a new fan) Tony fires him. But why is Justin Hammer taking credit?
What they got right: Nice foreshadowing with the floating cat. Tony is acting out of character but that’s part of the plot. Apparently Michelinie and Layton had another Iron Man tale in them and as two of the most important creators in the title’s history of course Marvel let them have one, even if I have to figure out how this fits into timeline.
What they got wrong: I’m not sure what happened to Layton’s art. He’s both penciler and inker, but some panels have odd poses and a bit too much facial shadowing or something that makes it look off. One of those timeline issues comes up in the armor they’re using, which I think is the pre-sentient armor that was killing him because it still uses the briefcase. I’m guessing they weren’t brought up to date on what was going on with Tony’s armor and were going by the early Busiek run. This would also explains going back to the Spymaster goons this far out, although it would be nice to see something resembling resolution there.
Recommendation: I haven’t read this one since I got it and I only remember a few details. It’s too early to give an overall recommendation but given Michelinie and Layton’s history with this title this may end up being something worth checking out.