IRON MAN #115-116 (1978): 1st Micheline/Layton/Romita Jr.

After helping The Avengers clean up after last issue’s battle with Arsenal, Tony goes home. But not before bossing Beast around a bit.

When he gets home and turns back into Tony Stark, he’s attacked by the Ani-Men, under the direction of Madame Masque.

Tony has been banging Masque for the past several issues, but once again she’s betrayed him. He’s really, really stupid when it comes to her. She’s betraying him because her father, Nefaria, is dying.

He fights as Tony Stark for ten pages across two issues.

But eventually, of course, he changes to Iron Man.


In the course of the battle, he is forced to reveal his identity as Iron Man because The Ani-Men are intent on killing Tony Stark. He pulls his armor out of his attache case and puts it on. In his armor, he easily defeats the Ani-Man.

Meanwhile, Spymaster has also been hired to kill Tony and he put a bomb in Stark’s apartment. Spymaster is yet another employee of Titanium Man, who employed Arsenal last issue and Unicorn before that. The bomb goes off and kills the Ani-Men.  So, his secret I.D. stays safe.

Masque has reprogrammed one of his Tony Stark LMDs to serve her, so Iron Man gets to fight himself as he pursues her.

He finds her with Count Nefaria preserved in a tube. Masque attacks Iron Man with a giant machine–portrayed most excellently on the cover.

But during the fight, the machine tears down the concrete bunker of the laboratory, so Count Nefaria dies–by accident.

Nefaria’s death shakes up Madame Masque, who leaves to “sort out her feelings” about Tony Stark–she thinks he killed Nefaria on purpose.

I really don’t get that relationship, and it makes it very hard for me to accept this story.

But what isn’t difficult to accept is the artist team of John Romita, Jr. and Bob Layton, who started with #116.


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