Iron Man volume 3 #35
DC Comics (December, 2000)
“Power” part 3: “The Land”
WRITERS: Joe Quesada (now also credited as Editor In Chief) & Frank Tieri
PENCILER: Alitha Martinez
INKER: Bob Hunter
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Brian Smith
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
Seeing a connection the events of “Maximum Security”, specifically Ego the living planet now being a living spore consuming the planet (long story), Reed Richards probes Iron Man’s “injected” memories from Max Power and learn where the spore originated from, the crazy lady and her husband that totally weren’t meant to be a bad parody of a certain farm family from the Distinguished Competition, no siree why would you even think it. Iron Man and the Fantastic Four journey to Littletown, Nebraska. (See? Nebraska, not Kansas. Totally not the same thing. We’re original!) After exploring a bit they find that the town has been totally absorbed and replaced by the Ego spore except for the old couple, “Ma” holding Iron Man back long enough to keep the anti-spore or whatever you want to call it to escape. Littletown is gone but Ego remains as our heroes learn they’re being followed by the Silver Surfer.
What they got right: Short version: this crossover involved aliens using Earth as a penal colony and they didn’t make a Hard Time On Planet Earth crossover. Max Power’s punishment was because he dared practice the black art of…science. It’s an interesting origin and it shows he’s only a villain by accident. For one thing he thinks Los Angeles is the name of the planet, not the city he’s dropped into. The idea of the FF fighting a living town is pretty good and by itself the story isn’t bad.
What they got wrong: It isn’t good timing for the storyline if the final chapter of the arc has to be shoved into the Ego subplot of a crossover event I don’t even have everything for. Iron Man is barely in this story as he hangs out with Reed while Sue, Ben, and Johnny do most of the fighting, only coming in to try to deal with Ego and the bad Kent parodies. The quality of the art varies from panel to panel. You’d have to ask a fan of the Fantastic Four depictions but Ben feels off to me somehow.
Recommendation: I think the crossover ultimately messed up the storyline but the story in this issue isn’t terrible. I guess catch it if you’re following the event but we were almost better off ending Max Power’s story last issue.