The Invincible Iron Man – Commie Buster PART ONE!!!
Hey, it’s my 50th site entry!
Well, it’s been a while since the last site update. Some would say it’s because I ran out of material. I’d say they’re wrong as anyone who has ever followed the site knows, I ran out of material about 3 years ago. No, actually I’ve been trying to come up with something special for the 50th article anniversary. At first I was going to tackle why Peter Parker can’t seem to have a regular schoolteacher in Ultimate Spider-Man, but nah, that pales in comparison to today’s entry. Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you, in terms of Hollywood bankability, who comes to mind? Okay there’s Batman, the X-Men and Wolverine, the Hulk and…
… well, if you read the title of this article, you should have picked Iron Man too, unless you’re being a smart ass, in which case, knock it off!
What we have today is a special treat harkening back to Tony Stark and Iron Man’s very first foray into motion pictures! Sure it’s 1960s TV animation that mimics still life, but by golly, it’s got a great stereotypical Mandarin, Chinese and Russian Commie baddies, and more action than both Robert Downey Jr. and James Bond (whoever the current one may be) can handle! I ask you, what’s not to love? So without further ado, I present the Invincible Iron Man!!!
First, in regards to navigation, when you see Pepper Potts pointing her finger like she just don’t care, click on her to play a video clip!
Click on Ms. Potts to open the wondrous Iron Man intro in a new window!
Catchy, ain’t it?
Believe it or not, the Death of Tony Stark starts with pretty much what you see above. It’s Pepper Potts, Tony’s femme fatale secretary and girl of 100 hairdos, and Happy Hogan, the chauffeur, confronting Tony Stark about Iron Man. To the world Iron Man is Tony’s bodyguard, but Pepper and Happy (you’d think a man named Happy would smile more) believe Iron Man has some kind of evil hold on Tony, since he’s always a bit edgy when they discuss the armored avenger. See, no one knows Iron Man and Tony Stark are one and the same!
Pepper and Happy are so concerned in fact, that they immediately leave Tony’s office after confronting him. This, of course, gives the Mandarin a chance to strike.
For those of you unfamiliar with racial stereotypes of the 1960s, prepare to be acquainted…
Click on Ms. Potts to open the clip and watch in horror as the Mandarin strikes!
And no, the horror part isn’t the Mandarin’s plan being set in motion, but the bad Chinese accent and goofy costume!
You know, I bet the guy who talks Tony Stark also did the voice work for our pal Mandy too. Anyone agree with me?
The Mandarin’s vile plan seems to come to fruition as Tony’s house is leveled – but of course Mr. Stark is fine because he just happened to be wearing his Iron Man armor at the time. Of course, no one else knows that, and not having found a body everyone comes to only one possible conclusion – Tony Stark must be dead! Well, given that this story takes place before Tony joined Alcoholics Anonymous, I suppose everyone simply concluded his blood alcohol level was so high as to cause instant vaporization upon impact…
…Pepper and Happy are devastated… while everyone else seems oddly confused as to what the heck is going on.
Seriously, you’ve got folks looking left, right, forward and back – and a really stoned old man in the front. You’d think most everyone would be staring at the smoldering wreckage, or the red and gold clad avenger who came out of it, but hey, it’s the 60s. After 2 Kennedys and Dr. King, I guess folks could care less about a drunken arms manufacturer.
Pepper and Happy believe Iron Man had something to do with Mr. Stark’s death, and act on their suspicions by… doing absolutely nothing and going home.
Macmillan and Wife these two definitely aren’t.
Iron Man figures out that the Mandarin was involved via 1960s mumbo-jumbo trajectory calculations and heads to China to meet his deadly foe. The Mandarin is waiting, of course, since he knew Tony Stark’s bodyguard would undoubtedly seek vengeance. When Iron Man arrives, the Mandarin strikes with…
…flashing lights? Yep, flashing lights, with the theory that the hypnotic flashes would sap Iron Man’s strength.
I know this because both Mandy and Mr. Man told me so during this bit.
I could be wrong, but aren’t giant eye openings in the helmet like that a HUGE tactical flaw?
Having overcome the flashes, Mandy sends his next obstacle – the goon squad!
Here’s where Iron Man earns his Commie Smasher badge!
Am I a bad person for laughing out loud when Iron Man clocked the head goon?
What other nasty traps could Mandy have in store for our hero? Well, how about…
… a giant magnet!!!
Eventually our two antagonists get down to fighting…
Believe it or not, Iron Man’s first move was to tackle the Mandarin’s wall.
That, or the armored avenger just had the mother of all bowel movements!
Note, when fighting someone called IRON MAN, bare-handed karate usually doesn’t work out well.
Having defeated the Mandarin, er, somewhat, Iron Man flees only to be stopped by Mandy’s giant robot…
… and is promptly tied to a giant wheel…
… which gives the Mandarin a chance to relate his secret origin, as goofy villains are wont to do…
Seems Mandy was just a regular country bumpkin till he came across an alien space ship. Going inside he found the ship’s power source, 10 glowing rings. So, what’s the first thing you think of when you see glowing rings in a UFO? Why wear them of course! Not only wear them, but never, ever take them off!!
I wonder how they treated radiation poisoning and cancer in the 60s?
Having left Iron Man spinning on the Wheel of Fortune, Mandy heads over to Commie HQ to watch his special missile fire.
You know what’s really irksome, Mandy had Iron Man at his mercy a ton of times this episode and NOT ONCE does he care to remove his enemy’s helmet to see who it is he’s fighting! NOT ONCE!!! This guy can build missiles, giant robots, giant magnets and other complex stuff – but he fights a guy wearing IRON bare handed and doesn’t bother to look under the guy’s helmet!
Iron Man escapes the spinning wheel with more 60s mumbo-jumbo about spinning the wheel so fast the axle breaks. He then catches the test missile mid-flight and redirects it back to earth!
Next he tracks down the Mandarain. Ladies and gentlemen, the grand finale!!!
Iron Man shows his superb tactical prowess by uttering perhaps the greatest fight dialogue of all time:
“I can’t see, but I can still toss this rock!”
And the Mandarin makes the most dramatic escape in the history of television! Seriously, how many other folks can get away with such finesse as Mandy?
All that’s left is for Iron Man to fly home and Tony Stark to make a miraculous appearance, which he does, thoroughly stunning Pepper and Happy…
Pepper’s boss may be dead, but that doesn’t mean she can’t visit the salon!
There’s something disconcerting about this image. I don’t know if it’s the odd position of Happy’s right hand or the strategic placing of the sheet of paper by Ms. Potts… well, it looks like they’ve been surprised at least… Happy in particular as he seems to have been caught by his boss copping a feel from Ms. Potts…
And so ends the Death of Tony Stark! Riveting, eh? Believe it or not, almost every scene in this animation was lifted out of Tales of Suspense #50, the first appearance of the Mandarin, which is why they have that cross-hatched appearance. Bits of animation were added to, you know, justify calling the show a “cartoon”. Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy of the Essential Iron Man volume 1 and see for yourself. The entire cartoon follows the comic book almost exactly.
That’s it for PART ONE. Next time in PART TWO, Iron Man continues his commie smashing ways as he battles the Ruskies and the Crimson Dynamo and first encounters the Black Widow! Until then, take care!