Category Archives: avengers

Just In Time for Civil War: An Iron Man Retrospective

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Photo from

Taking a break from my normal “Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen,” here is some cool Iron Man stuff. The folks over at Burger Fiction have put together a very comprehensive video of Iron Man’s appearances in TV and film since his inception back in 1963. With Civil War only a couple weeks away, this is a cool visual of how far the Iron Avenger has come over the last 50 years.

Check out all the armor suited action!

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Project: Iron Man – Iron Man #28 The Controller Lives!


IM 28 Cover

This is a one-and-done issue and when I read issues like this I always ask myself if going through each issue is really the best plan for this project. The goal was to go through my collection and read them through and reconnect with the sentimental memories that are attached to them. Issues like #1 and #173 are easy because they are not only milestones in my collecting history, but are fond memories that I have with my Mom and Dad, but issues like this don’t rouse the same emotional response. I didn’t want this to just become me retelling Iron Man stories. That idea’s been done, and done very well, by Tom Katers and I don’t want to do a poor copy of that.* I considered taking a new tact with this project, of reading through each comic and then only writing about the ones that struck a chord, but that didn’t feel like it was in the spirit of what I set out to do. It felt like cheating. Then it occurred to me that this issue follows television show formula and that, even though I may not have strong memories of it, there’s still something to explore. Something to comment on beyond just rehashing the story in the pages. If this issue of Iron Man were on TV it would make for a good CW show.

IM 28 pg1

Here on our first page we have a girl running in the dark. There’s thunder and lightning, suddenly a foreboding shadow and… the monster is revealed! It is The Controller and he has found her! This opening scene wouldn’t out of place in an episode of Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It even ends the page with the credits.

The more I read stories with The Controller the more it is clear to me that he is a good foil for Iron Man , especially at this point in Iron Man’s evolution.

  • Just like Tony, Basil Sandhurst is infirm without his armor.
  • In the opposite of Tony who uses his own brain power to make powerful armor, The Controller uses other people’s literal brain power to make his armor powerful.
  • He’s a very physically powerful villain, they make a big deal about that this issue, so he’s not someone that Tony can just overpower. Tony has to out think him.

As he makes more appearances he changes to fit with the times and by the time we get to Matt Fraction’s run in 2005 The Controller has an army of drone zombies… but we’re not quite there yet.

The Controller is trying to stop our young lady, who we will call Meredith McCall, from warning Tony Stark about something and pulls out and tosses a tree stump just to get to her and make her one if his mind slaves.

IM 28 Tossing tree stump

Where comic books have one-and-done issues that return to the status quo at the end of twenty-two pages and TV shows have their stand-alone episodes that do the same thing. This is one of those. Have we met Meredith McCall before? No, she is a special guest start if we are using TV vocabulary. Will anything be changed when we get to the end of this issue? No, but I’m getting ahead of myself. That tree stump does what all things thrown into the air must do – it comes down…

IM 28 Tree stump landing

…right in front of the car that is carrying Tony Stark and Jasper Sitwell.

Can we take a moment to talk about how strong someone has to be to pull a tree stump out of the ground? Rain and wet earth notwithstanding,  tree stumps are notoriously difficult to get out of the ground. It’s easy for city-slickers like myself to forget that there’s a reason why stump pulling has a shocking large return of results on Google search. Trees don’t want to be moved and anchor themselves down pretty good. The fact that The Controller can rip one out of the ground so casually really speaks to the strength he has.

Back to our story…

Tony and Jasper are on the rocks ever since the run in with The Minotaur and Jasper’s discovery that the love of his life, Whitney Frost a.k.a. Madame Masque, is in love with Tony. Tony mentions that he is just visiting an old friend and doesn’t need his S.H.I.E.L.D. escort, but Jasper is more cautious saying that a mysterious call from a young lady from Tony’s past seems suspicious.  The tree stump pretty much confirms that Jasper is right as does the scream from the woods. Jasper runs into the woods to help while Tony dons his armor from the secret compartment in his car. Side Note: I wish real cars had all the secret compartments like they do in comics and movies. I don’t know what I’d do with them, but I want them!

Iron Man, using his boot jets, finds Meredith before Jasper can (and The Controller runs off not ready to confront his old foe) which makes an emasculated Jasper Sitwell feel all the more useless.

IM 28 Jasper feeling useless

Tony has guilt about it, but also has to maintain his cover of being both Stark and Iron Man, so Iron Man lets Jasper get Meredith back to the car while he “searches” for Tony. They drive to the sanitarium where Meredith works and we get the popular television trope – the flashback!


IM 28 Young Love for Tony


Forbidden love – the sweetest of all fruits. Even though Tony and Meredith are all hot for each other that one summer, after their fathers make an effort to separate them the relationship fades just like so many do. The reach the Pinewood Sanitarium and mention that Meredith was worried that Basil Sandhurst – The Controller – was planning his revenge on Stark. The director of the facility laughs it off claiming that Basil is an invalid, even showing Jasper and Tony a sleeping Basil Sandhurst.

IM 28 Basil is an invalid

Jasper, still feeling useless, decides that Tony probably is safe and leaves, Tony sticks around to see to Meredith. Unfortunately it was all a trick! The Controller reveals himself and that he has built a new Absorbatron! In TV we’d call this an act break or a reveal – something big to bring you back after the commercials.

IM 28 New Absorbatron

Now The Controller wants Tony’s help building a new device that will make him even more powerful…

Meanwhile in the woods, Jasper can’t shake his suspicions and investigates the area where they found Meredith. There he finds a slave disc and rushes back to Pinewood.

IM 28 Jasper finds a slave disc and wong chu homage


Under the careful watch of The Controller, Tony builds the helmet Sandhurst designed. It focuses the mental energy of those attached to slave discs into powerful rays of destructive force.

Jasper rushes in and distracts The Controller just long enough for Tony to get into his Iron Man armor and there is a battle:

IM 28 Battle

I really like this battle scene. Iron Man is not as physically powerful as The Controller, Iron Man even mentions that only Hulk or Thor could really slug it out with him, and just like in a good TV show we need to see the hero overcome what looks like a hopeless battle. And brains win out over brawn. Knowing that he couldn’t directly sabotage the helmet, Tony made it so that it could only handle so much power:

IM 28 The Controller burns himself out

With the bad guy defeated we get our wrap-up where the status quo gets put back to normal (rather quickly as well):

  • Villain is out-of-action and his new tech is destroyed.
  • All of his victims are free and safe.
  • Jasper and Tony are friendly again.
  • As for Meredith and Tony’s lost romance? The final nail is hammered into that coffin when it is revealed that she is married. Stark don’t do married chicks.

IM 28 Tony don't date married chicks

I don’t think we see Meredith McCall again and the next time we see The Controller he is so different that this story is irrelevant, but just like good genre TV it filled a month and was fun to read.

See you next time!


*Seriously though, his podcasts called Tom vs. Comics are fantastic! Especially if you’re a DC Silver Age fanboy. I’m not but I listened to all of Tom vs. The Flash and I attribute it to being the main reasons why I’m enjoying The Flash television show so much right now. Yes the show is good on it’s own, but Tom and his retelling of the classic stories makes it so much better. Check it out!

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Age of Ultron Logo


I’m so excited for this movie!

See you next time.

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March 4, 2015 · 10:49 am

A Brief History of the Iron Man Hulkbuster Armor


Photo from

Photo from

The new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers are pretty great! I can’t wait until May! And the stand out star so far has been the Hulk-Buster armor that Iron Man fights the Hulk in. Let’s check the tape:


Pretty cool, right? There’s something about two big things beating the crap out of each other that just says “blockbuster!” Is there anything else that can explain the success of the Bay-former movies? But I don’t want to get distracted.

The Hulkbuster first appeared in 1994 during a series of stories written by Len Kaminski and penciled by Kev Hopgood where Iron Man was trying to clean up old Stane factories that were polluting the environment or working on hazardous projects. Each issue had a different guest star including Venom (he was being positioned as a hero at the time), Deathlok and Smart Hulk (when the Hulk had the strength of the hulk, the mind of Bruce Banner and the attitude of the grey Hulk… ask a comic geek, they’ll tell you what that all mean. It was the 90’s). The technical first appearance of the Hulkbuster is in Iron Man 304, but it’s just the final page as a teaser for the next month.

Photo from

Photo from

All the actual Hulkbuster action is in Iron Man 305 “Green Politics.”

Photo from

Photo from

The original Hulkbuster was actual a series of add on bits for the armor that Iron Man used at the time called, believe it or not, the Modular Armor which switched out systems and weapons on a mission specific basis. A lot of different bits and bobs were created and used, but the Hulkbuster stands out and the only truly memorable one.

Since then there have been many versions of the Hulkbuster in both art and action figure form. I was going to post some of those images here but it’s actually worth seeing how much has been created so HERE’S A LINK TO A GOOGLE IMAGES SEARCH.

Film wise, we all thought we were getting a Hulkbuster in Iron Man 3, but instead we got “Igor”:

Photo from

Photo from

It was a little disappointing.

Then we got this concept art from Age of Ultron:

Photo from

Photo from

And all Iron Man geek hearts were a-flutter!

Seeing the Hulkbuster in action is just whetting my appetite even more and you know I’ll be first in line when Avengers 2 comes out in May!

Well, first in line at a reasonable hour, I’m too old for midnight shows anymore.

Are you excited for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Hit the comments!

See you next time.

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Fun Video Friday! 8-Bit Avengers!

This is probably the most faithful adaptation of film-to-cartoon of all the 8-Bit Cinemas. Sit back and watch this action packed three-plus minutes – there’s even a Thanos cameo!


See you next time.

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Fun Video Friday – Tom Hiddleston, King of the Internet… and Owen Wilson as Loki impressions

Today’s Fun Video was picked because I’m helping to re-integrate a wayward geek back into the pop culture fold. As part of this I instructed him to visit Tumblr to learn about that site’s two favorite things: Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston.

So here is Tom Hiddleston doing Owne Wilson playing Loki in “The Avengers.”

You’re welcome.

See you next time!

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Taking a small break from Project: Iron Man today to encourage you to go see Marvel’s The Avengers!

It’s so good!

I could go into deep discussion about it, describe my favorite parts, spoil the crap out of things that shouldn’t be spoiled but they’re so cool that you can’t help but talk about them – but I won’t!

If you are an Avengers fan at all you will crap your pants at the awesomeness contained in this film!

My wife, not a comic book person at all, had a really great time!

Go! See it! There’s a reason it’s making all this money!

Here’s a trailer:

*Avengers Logo by GrandeMike

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3 Minutes with Curtis & Dean – The Avengers vs. The JLA

OK comics fans, it’s the battle royal! The subject of decades of debate! The reason for multiple super team ciphers at both DC and Marvel! The basis for at least one good mini-series!


We spent 3 minutes on it…
Comments on this are especially welcome because I KNOW we didn’t cover it all.
See you tomorrow!

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Avengers Trailer

This is it:

I was actually a little underwhelmed by it – but it DOES look like a good movie and VERY big in scope! I didn’t walk away with goosebumps, but I am REALLY excited!

See you tomorrow!

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Avengers: New, Mighty, The Initiative & Young

It’s easy to lump all the Avengers books into one pile, but much tougher to say that all of the Avenger books are the same. While they all seem to be dealing with the same subject, Norman Osborn and the Dark Reign, the stories are all over the place – street level, cosmic, conspiracy and ridiculous. I’m starting to hit the wall of Dark Reign fatigue and these are four examples why.

The New Avengers #55

Brian Michael Bendis writes and Stuart Immonen pencils what was actually my favorite of the Avengers books reviewed here today. The cracks in The Hood’s army of super villains are starting to show and when Chemistro & Dr. Jonas Harrow reverse engineer the power blocker that the Avengers attempted to use several issues ago. They expect to use it as the great equalizer in the “super power” war and eliminate the need for The Hood. I like that plot line. Also we see just what it is like to invite the New Avengers over to your house to stay when your name isn’t Steve Rogers and how they mess up your place. I like that bit of character. I also like how there is a build up about Spider-Man revealing identity and the possible/inevitable complications that will rise because of it. There were lots of little things that really show off BMB’s sense of drama and character. The conversation about killing Osborn, how Spider-Man reacts to it, the fact that Bucky gets alerts about trouble in the city on his Blackberry are all really subtle and make the read really enjoyable for me.

As far as moving the story though, it feels pretty slow. We actually spend a good part of the issue in flashback. And there was a weird art thing that actually took me out of the story when the villains pull out the power blocker and use it. I don’t want to go into the effect it has on the heroes, because that’s dealt with next issue, but seeing Clint Barton vomit through his mask? I’m pretty sure the mask would stop that, or it’s the most porous mask ever invented.

All in all I still really like New Avengers, but I’m ready for more forward momentum.

The Mighty Avengers #27

Dan Slott how is it that you can do such amazing work on Avengers: The Initiative and then have such a slow start on The Mighty Avengers? I should start off by saying that I like this issue, but it really feels like Slott is writing for the trade and not for the month. The story comes in stilted chunks and flows dramatically to a sudden cliffhanger. The introduction of a new Inhuman villain was my favorite part, but then we go right back to Pym’s new headquarters and get a glimpse of Stature making a mad face at the Scarlet Witch, even though she has seen her before and not reacted the same way. Does she have reason to hate the Witch? Totally, Scarlet Witch killed her father, but why hasn’t she reacted like this before? Maybe she did and it just wasn’t memorable? I don’t remember.

Maybe it’s the Christos Gage script that is making the changes? I have no idea. I really like what Khoi Pham is doing with his pencils, and the art in general is really nice! They all look like powerful heroes. I keep waiting for this book to wow me and I think I’ll have to keep waiting.

Avengers: The Initiative #26

Up is down, left is right, and good is bad. Osborn is in charge of all the heroes in the United States and he’s replacing them all with villains! Our new hero roster, Gauntlet, Tigra, Justice, Ultra Girl, and the rest of the “New Warriors,” are going underground but still trying to go on the offensive.

This book is finally finding its footing in a post Civil War world and it’s making big strides in, what I think, is a good direction! Christos Gage scripted this book as well and is becoming a common fixture in books that make dramatic strides forward. This story was kinetic, well thought out and really sets up the whole status quo for this series. The art by Rafa Sandoval (pencils), Roget Bonet (inks), and Edgar Delgato (colors) matched the story style with visual perfection – and there’s an appearance by the U-Foes! where have they been?!?!

It’s an exciting time for this book and if the past issues scared you off then now is a good time to come back!

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3 of 5

Paul Cornell and Mark Brooks keep the hits coming! This teenage soap opera where the good Young Avengers meet the Bad(?) Young Avengers, test them and show how age and experience really help make good decisions.

Now that Captain Britain and MI13 is over this is a great place to get a monthly Paul Cornell fix. The twists and turns and reveals are way too good to spoil and the the story is being paced perfectly for its five issues. Between Princess Python and a last minute Norman Osborn issue #4 looks like ti’s going to be phenomenal!

Don’t wait for the trade on this, buy it NOW!!

Well, that’s it for now. See you tomorrow!

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