Iron Man volume 3 #34
Marvel Comics (November, 2000)
“Power” part 2: “Villains”
WRITERS: Joe Quesada & Frank Tieri
PENCILER: Paul Ryan
INKERS: Hunter, Ryan, Stull, & Mei (You really need FOUR inkers?)
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
It’s not the Thing’s power that Rumiko has but Absorbing Man, meaning Max Power is also replicating villain powers. In her induced haze she attacks Iron Man, angry because she thinks he’s trying to keep them apart. Their battle allows the other superdrugged to escape before her power fades. Which means Iron Man now has to race to catch all the flying powered people before their drugs wear off. Then he confronts Max Power, who even helps him rescue a track about to be hit by a train but they still end up battling. Max uses his own drugs except for telepathy, which Iron Man gives him an overload of, and the psychic blast does something to Tony, leading into the next crossover event, Maximum Security. (What else is involved I’ll get to in a moment.)
What they got right: Nice surprise with Rumiko’s power. We’ll see that Max isn’t necessarily evil (although he was behind the bank heist to draw out more superpower material for his drug) but he still did wrong and needs to pay for it. We’ll see why coming up. The art is also improved. Ryan does a good job although I still don’t know why he needed four inkers for a normal-sized comic.
What they got wrong: There’s another lead-in to Maximum Security, in which an old couple sees something crash out of the sky. It’s an obvious Superman reference and the woman even thinks it’s a space baby with superpowers she can raise. The cringing parody comes from the fact that “Ma” is an obnoxious jerk and it’s implied they’re also siblings because they’re a couple of hicks. That last one was a step too far in my opinion but I didn’t find any part of the parody funny at all.
Recommendation: A good second issue but I wonder how the next one is going to pull off being part of two storylines at the same time, one of them a crossover. We’re close to the Quesada age (as editor-in-chief, not just as co-writer) so I’m guessing we’ve reached the beginning of the trade padding age of periodical comic books on Marvel’s side. At least we seem to be getting a good story this round. Give it a look