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Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle [Hardcover]

David Michelinie , Bob Layton , John Romita , Carmine Infantino


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Book Description

March 19 2008
Iron Man faces his most untouchable foe in criminal industrialist Justin Hammer and his literal army of super-villains! But can the Armored Avenger overcome an even more implacable personal demon, invulnerable to technology or wealth? Guest-starring Ant-Man and the Sub-Mariner! Collects Iron Man #120-128.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (March 19 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785130950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785130956
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 18 x 26.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #365,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars man v. machine April 21 2007
By Cinephile - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
By the time these issues were originally published, Iron Man had been around for nearly 15 years, but for all his popularity-- sharing a book with Captain America in the 1960s, moving to his own title, and playing a major role in the Marvel title The Avengers-- he'd never quite made a mark as a character the way other heroes of the Marvel-verse had. Simply put, he felt more like a concept-- take a James Bond-like playboy named Tony Stark and merge him with the idea of the Knight in Shining Armor-- than a fully-fleshed out idea. It's a neat concept, but one that a long string of very talented writers and artists failed to develop. Even literally giving Iron Man a new heart-- to replace the shrapnel-damaged ticker that had spurred the invention of his life-giving armor in the first place-- failed to pump new blood into the character. He seemed destined to remain a second-tier figure, fun and visually striking, but lacking the pathos of such landmark heroes as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

In 1978, that all changed. Writer/co-plotter David Michelinie and Artist/co-plotter Bob Layton have stated in numerous interviews that they see themselves as craftsmen at the service of the characters, and that they want readers to become absorbed in the storylines, rather than thinking about the creators behind the scenes. Fine, but their own landmark work on this title belies that modesty. Simply put, what was needed was not a new heart, or new armor, or a big-time supervillain, but two artists alert to the possibilities buried within the title, and especially the title character. For all intents and purposes, they re-invented Tony Stark/Iron Man, and gave Marvel a whole new hero to play with.

M&L's solution to the riddle that had bedeviled even Stan Lee was remarkably simple: what if we really took this guy seriously, and tried to tell some realistic stories about him? What if we made him a real character-- funny, fleshed-out, full of strengths and ego and very deep flaws-- and tested his grace under pressure? What if we surrounded him with a top-notch supporting cast? What if we gave him a real girlfriend, instead of the Harlequin robots that had populated the book in the past? What if we really explored what it meant to be a Cold Warrior, to think about the ethics and unforseen consequences of your actions and inventions? In other words, what if we emphasized the "man" in the title, rather than the "iron"?

What resulted was a run of 40 issues (#116-156, although Layton left after #153) that offered a gripping and very human arc, respecting the genre conventions of the superhero tale (the costumes, the action sequences, the patented marvel hero crossovers) while also asking them to grow up. This wasn't new to Marvel, but it was new to Iron Man, and M&L's run on the title heralded a renaissance at a company that had been in a downward creative spiral for the previous half-decade: in the wake of M&L would come Frank Miller's Daredevil, John Byrne and Chris Claremont's X-Men (and Byrne's even-better five-year run on the Fantastic Four), Walt Simonson's mythic look at Thor, and the classic Hobgoblin arc in Spider-Man (it's not a coincidence that these books followed editorial and business-side shake-ups that would lead to better conditions for writers and artists, and draw some of the best talent to the company. After all, treating people like human beings shouldn't only apply to fictional characters).

I emphasize that whole 40-issue arc because some people have complained that the storylines here are wrapped up too quickly and neatly. That's a fair complaint, but I think it's more an effect of the TPB form (which has to end *somewhere*, and gives a sometime-false impression of closure) than the stories themselves-- the issues and ideas raised here continue to be developed after the stories collected in the book. In fact, M&L do such a good job re-inventing the character that they haunt every creative team that followed them on the book, as new writers and artists either choose to emphasize the extremes of Stark's flaws (Denny O'Neill's often fascinating but misguided restaging of Stark's alcoholism in the early 80s is but one example, althoug it's so grippingly done that, for all its problems, it probably deserves its own TPB, too) or ignore M&L's innovations altogether choosing to revert Stark to his crass playboy persona of the 60s (the recent Civil War series is at least an attempt to do something unique with what M&L wrought). In the end, not even M&L could live up to their own legacy-- their much-anticipated return to the title in the mid-80s (partially collected as an "armor wars" TPB) started strong, but was eventually overwhelmed by its action sequences, which didn't flow in and out of their characters as gracefully as their first run had.

Which is why it's great this first run is now collected and back in print. Is it perfect? No. Is it occasionally nostalgic? Sure (check out those disco-era fashions). But none of that eradicates M&L's achievement-- in a genre that sometimes emphasizes mindless mechanical action and macho cliche, they managed to create a brief, shining moment of humanism. And that, in the end, is what superheroes are all about.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the Definitive Iron Man Story? Oct. 2 2006
By Justin G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a long time Iron Man fan, I certainly appreciate the importance of the Demon in a Bottle storyline both to Iron Man as a character, and comics in general. However, I hesitate to call it the definitive Iron Man storyline.

To be sure, Demon in a Bottle has its high points, the obvious one being Tony Stark's struggle with alcoholism. While this kind of story wouldn't make much of an impact today, 25 years ago it was quite a big deal. It definitely added a new dimension to the character, and emphasized the "man" in Iron Man. I also thought the introduction of Justin Hammer as a corporate rival and SHIELD's attempt to take over Tony's company were very interesting developments. The artwork is another high point. While the pencils provided by John Romita Jr. hardly resemble his later, more popular work, they are still quite solid, and are supported by outstanding finishing and inking by Bob Layton, who I will readily acknowledge is the definitive Iron Man artist.

That said, the book is not without a few flaws. The major emphasis, at least for the first 75% of the book, is on the standard superhero fare rather than Tony's alcoholism. This would be fine if it were handled well, but the various battles are relatively mundane, and the dialogue is downright awful during those fight scenes. Justin Hammer's floating island and private army (who could pass for an early prototype of G.I. Joe's enemy COBRA) are a bit silly as well. Plus, Tony apparently resolving his alcohol problem in one issue seemed way too easy. Still, these are relatively minor gripes against what is an otherwise good storyline.

Overall I'd rate Demon in a Bottle at 4 stars. It gets 5 stars for the importance of the subject and the depth it gave my favorite Marvel character, and 3/3.5 stars for the actual execution. Is it one of the most important Iron Man stories? Absolutely. Is it the definitive Iron Man story? Probably not. My money is on either the classic Iron Man: Armor Wars saga, or the recent Iron Man Vol. 1: Extremis story, both of which do a better job at getting to the heart of what Iron Man is all about.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for nostalgia's sake Sept. 3 2007
By N. Durham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of the most important moments in Iron Man's history occurs in Demon in a Bottle, which makes it worth picking up for nostalgia's sake if nothing else. While villain Justin Hammer rears his ugly head, Tony "Iron Man" Stark takes on his toughest opponent: alcoholism. While David Michelinie (who's run on the title is the closest thing Iron Man ever had to a definitive writer) attempts to give a powerful/human story here, the issue gets resolved way too quickly for anyone to consider it believable. Not to mention that the book comes off as quite dated thanks to the atrocious dialogue and overall lame conflict and storyline. Despite that though, Demon in a Bottle marks a historic moment in the Iron Man mythos, and the artwork from Bob Layton and John Romita Jr. isn't bad either. All in all, Demon in a Bottle is worth picking up for nostalgia's sake alone for Iron Man fans, but all others should proceed with caution.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reprinting Iron Man Feb. 22 2007
By Bennet Pomerantz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the age when we lose track of older comics, Marvel has reprinted this classic Iron Man collection (issues 120-128)

The collection is called Demon in a Bottle, however it is really devoloped in one full issue in this collection. The situation of being Alcoholic shirted the Comic Code as Spiderman's Drug issues did, but it does seem rush in hinesight.

The reprint is done on a nice stock of paper, not that gloss cxrap that usually reprints use or the news print like paper stock that DC showcase and some Marvel Archieves uses. The color separation are also good. And one issue does recap ole Shell head's origin

I remember buying this years ago in the same format. David Michelnie's work is the reason to get this collection. I just wish DC and Marvel would stop reprinting stories from the 80 and 90'sd and start raiding the archieves and make affordable rare comics

However, buy this now and save the rush for those getting this when the new Iron man Film comes

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the story I thought it'd be Jan. 28 2014
By Frederick R. Christenhusz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I was a kid, I had read a bunch of Iron Man issues that had a huge story arc where Tony Stark is practically a bum in the gutter, due to his intense addiction to alcohol. The stories went on to show Rhodey taking over the Iron Man armor and flying around doing good deeds, all the while suffering from things like severe migraines because the armor was not calibrated to his brainwaves. It was an awesome story arc and it made me really love the series more than ever, even as a kid. So, when I saw the title of this book, I thought for sure it'd be about that time period.

It is not.

Apparently, there was a story arc that was literally referred to as "Demon in a Bottle." And, i guess it was it's own story arc that spanned a very short about of issues. I wasn't crazy about reading this, because this graphic novel takes forever to get to the alcoholic part, and then it concludes faster than you can blink.

In essence, I guess if you liked this particular story line, it's a great buy. Seriously. But, if you're like me and were expecting the much more fleshed out story arc that should've been in book form instead, then this isn't for you. I'm rating it 4 stars for what it is, not for what I wanted it to be.

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