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Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle

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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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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.

30 review for Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle

  1. 4 out of 5

    A.L.

    It's important to remember the original audience of old comic books. When the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline originally ran in 1978 the average comic book reader was closer to 10-12 years old; much younger than the 25-30 year olds who make up the bulk of comic book readers now. With that in mind this collection is quite an achievement, and even more important to think about critically. It is in this storyline that the Tony Stark character was given the deep human elements that will make him timele It's important to remember the original audience of old comic books. When the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline originally ran in 1978 the average comic book reader was closer to 10-12 years old; much younger than the 25-30 year olds who make up the bulk of comic book readers now. With that in mind this collection is quite an achievement, and even more important to think about critically. It is in this storyline that the Tony Stark character was given the deep human elements that will make him timeless. He was shown at his most humble and at his noblest. The opening lines to the final issue of this story arc say it all: "By definition, a hero is a man who battles against overwhelming odds for a cause, an ideal, or for the lives of innocents. The cause and ideal may vary with the morning headlines -- while the innocents in today's world of muddy morality, may ultimately prove to be guilty. Which leaves but one constant in the definition: that a hero is, above all, a man... ...A man subject to pressures and responsibilities far beyond those of his peers. Such is a burden that must take its toll, eventually, from even the most valiant warrior. And it is then that the test of a true hero begins." It's worth noting that the "test of a true hero" was not the villain "Whiplash," "Melter," or any of the other generic costumed creeps that fill these pages (the only negative thing I'll say about this book), but that it was something anyone can encounter, especially the 25-30 year olds reading comics today: Alcohol. Addiction. Selfishness. Or as writer David Michelinie says in the foreword "obsession." (Knowing that Tony Stark battles "obsession" how does that affect your reading of the "Civil War" story arc?) Another element that makes this collection worth reading is the early art of John Romita, JR. (JRJR) I see JRJR has a highly stylized artist today. Anyone who's familiar with his work can spot it ten miles away. You can just tell when something is drawn by JRJR. This collection offers a look at his beginnings as an artist, before his style was so immediately recognizable, and there's great value in that. A comparison of this collection with his recent work on Spider-Man clearly shows the elements of his style that he's kept, developed, or discarded. Though I'm not a graphic artist, I'm fascinated by the obvious artistic journey JRJR has been on, and I imagine art students and future comic artists would benefit from observing it too. One last note about this collection: there are golden nuggets of the larger Marvel universe thrown in here and there throughout the story. Whether its the Avengers' butler, Jarvis, talking to himself about his mother's bread pudding recipe, or the usually articulate and ultra-agile Beast juggling poorly on the back of a couch and saying things like "kinda spooky", the little elements of the Marvel universe made me smile every time. Recommended for Marvel fans, folks new to Iron Man (there would be no movie if there had not first been stories like this one) and anyone who's ever obsessed over something, even comic books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    I had heard quite a lot about this story line. Mostly good, some bad. I will say that even though it was a slow burn, I felt that watching Tony's life slowly dissolve around him, causing him to run away and hide through the use of alcohol was really well done. In the earlier issues, the subject was kind of brushed under the rug besides a few serious comments here or there. It wasn't until we reached the half way point where it was clearly shown Tony abusing alcohol and sinking further into addic I had heard quite a lot about this story line. Mostly good, some bad. I will say that even though it was a slow burn, I felt that watching Tony's life slowly dissolve around him, causing him to run away and hide through the use of alcohol was really well done. In the earlier issues, the subject was kind of brushed under the rug besides a few serious comments here or there. It wasn't until we reached the half way point where it was clearly shown Tony abusing alcohol and sinking further into addiction. That journey from 'oh, I'll just have an extra drink or two' to 'I have a serious problem' was very real and sort of understandable with everything else that was going on in Tony's life. My favourite issue was the last one however, I don't think that it would have been quite as good if we hadn't seen Tony's struggle. The final pages where we see Tony resist the temptation to drink again was powerful and a wonderful pay off to the journey we've just been through.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈

    This is still a great story. Granted, like quite a few Marvel trades from this time, the true storyline is much more in the background than one would expect picking it up. The first two issues with Namor have very little to do with Tony's drinking problem. After that, it's mostly a slow growing addiction set in the background of his issues with SHIELD and his relationship with Bethany Cabe. She was a lot more supportive than I remember her being the first time. One thing I've always loved about T This is still a great story. Granted, like quite a few Marvel trades from this time, the true storyline is much more in the background than one would expect picking it up. The first two issues with Namor have very little to do with Tony's drinking problem. After that, it's mostly a slow growing addiction set in the background of his issues with SHIELD and his relationship with Bethany Cabe. She was a lot more supportive than I remember her being the first time. One thing I've always loved about Tony Stark: he's a redemption story. This is a man that isn't proud of the awful things he's done in the past. He's spent his entire life trying to atone for his mistakes and trying to keep others from following in his footsteps. This is a man that gives other people second chances and that's the most amazing aspect of this character for me. This story emphasized that Tony's issues were his issues; not Iron Man's. He was to blame for the way his relationships took a turn for the worst. I can't help but compare the handling of this story about addiction to the less than impressive "Snowbirds Don't Fly" storyline in DC comics. This is a much better representation than DC's handling because this doesn't belittle the sufferer and it's from their POV - not an outsider with a hell of a lot of contempt for the sufferer. So, this remains a great classic Marvel story and that's well deserved, in my opinion. Again, if you just want the focus on Tony's drinking problem, this trade is a bit wonky.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    The three greatest story arcs in the history of comics: 1) Green Arrow's perky sidekick Speedy succumbing to the evils of heroin and getting strung out, baby. 2) The Flash reduced to homelessness, sleepin' in the snow. Boo hoo, boo hoo. 3) Iron Man hitting the bottle and becoming a useless alcoholic. Comics are your best entertainment!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Bit of a hard one to review... I really need to stop trying to read stuff from the 70s, its a totally different era, with writing styles that are foreign, to me at least. So Demon in a bottle is celebrated as one of the best iron man stories, as it has Tony Stark battling his alcohol addiction; sounds good right? It would have been if the story wasn't a few pages at the end, and that's it! Basically its a week in the life of Tony Stark, as he's battling with villains, dealing with corporate espi Bit of a hard one to review... I really need to stop trying to read stuff from the 70s, its a totally different era, with writing styles that are foreign, to me at least. So Demon in a bottle is celebrated as one of the best iron man stories, as it has Tony Stark battling his alcohol addiction; sounds good right? It would have been if the story wasn't a few pages at the end, and that's it! Basically its a week in the life of Tony Stark, as he's battling with villains, dealing with corporate espionage etc... One thing I will give this comic, is that the Alcohol is always present, it starts with Tony having one two many martinis, and then it builds up from there; but in the end, his addiction is only acknowledged, and dealt with in the last issue, this trade collects. It overall makes this book disappointing, because the way people talk about it, and the cover, you kind of expect "Demon in a Bottle", to be the whole thing; and while the build up of the addiction is cool, its not really enough to be satisfied! In the end, this is fine I guess, but don't expect the timeless masterpiece(for that time), to hit you dramatically now in 2017!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gianfranco Mancini

    Just not much as good as I used to remember, but this minisaga is still an Iron Man milestone, introducing themes like alcoholism, addiction and obsession to a comic book character son of both Cold War (just look at the Michelinie/Infantino origin story "remake"/fill-in inside this volume with the big bad evil commies... Oh good grief) and Spy fiction, and making him for the first time far more interesting. Michelinie and Layton make a real good job here, they are still the most iconic and classi Just not much as good as I used to remember, but this minisaga is still an Iron Man milestone, introducing themes like alcoholism, addiction and obsession to a comic book character son of both Cold War (just look at the Michelinie/Infantino origin story "remake"/fill-in inside this volume with the big bad evil commies... Oh good grief) and Spy fiction, and making him for the first time far more interesting. Michelinie and Layton make a real good job here, they are still the most iconic and classic team on Iron Man, and Romita Jr in his beginnings was a far better artist than he is now. Just remember that this late 70s comic book was targeted to young readers and still far from the superhero revisionism that exploded like 10 years later with Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, but the brutal assassination scene of Carnelia ambassador was a real shocking one for its time. And Tony's bromance friendship with Steve Rogers starts here so, if you are a fan of them, this is a must read for you. Face front, true believers!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ela Kaimo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Demon in a Bottle is a piece of comic canon that depicts a significant event in Tony Stark's life: his battle with alcoholism. Alcoholism, really? There was barely any of it in here. Instead, it is issue after issue of Tony dealing with other problems (Namor the Sub-Mariner, Justin Hammer tampering with the Iron Man suit to cause the death of an international delegate, SHIELD having a controlling interest in Stark International) after which he'll get cozy with the said demon in a bottle. In fact Demon in a Bottle is a piece of comic canon that depicts a significant event in Tony Stark's life: his battle with alcoholism. Alcoholism, really? There was barely any of it in here. Instead, it is issue after issue of Tony dealing with other problems (Namor the Sub-Mariner, Justin Hammer tampering with the Iron Man suit to cause the death of an international delegate, SHIELD having a controlling interest in Stark International) after which he'll get cozy with the said demon in a bottle. In fact, his alcoholism doesn't carry much weight in the plot until near the end of the arc, where it was acknowledged, struggled with, and then resolved within a few pages. I also have issue with the descriptive dialogue the characters say, something along the lines of "My heightened refractory coating is a match for your cold beam!" Then again, perhaps comics were really written that way in the 70's. Not to mention all the cheesy second-rate villains he has to face. I mean, Man-Killer? Seriously? Still, I can't say this didn't help shape Tony Stark's character. His battle with alcoholism, no matter how briefly it was dealt with, created a lasting impact on the way Iron Man was written.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It's kind of amazing that I hadn't read this yet. I've read a good bit of Iron Man canon, and a lot of Iron Man in the 12413531251325 recent books he's been in, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to "Demon in a Bottle." Now that I've finally read it, I'm so glad I did. It's a bit heavy-handed, sure, and full of the flaws that all socially-conscious comic books of the 1970s had, but it's a solid story with surprisingly subtle characterization and a truly kickass female lead (where has Be It's kind of amazing that I hadn't read this yet. I've read a good bit of Iron Man canon, and a lot of Iron Man in the 12413531251325 recent books he's been in, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to "Demon in a Bottle." Now that I've finally read it, I'm so glad I did. It's a bit heavy-handed, sure, and full of the flaws that all socially-conscious comic books of the 1970s had, but it's a solid story with surprisingly subtle characterization and a truly kickass female lead (where has Bethany Cabe gone in the comics?). I'd recommend this to anyone, with any level of Iron Man knowledge, particularly movie fans looking for a place to jump into the comics.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Derrick

    Iron Man 120-128 As good as its reputation. JRJr's art is some of the best I have seen from him, before he developed his cartoony look (which I love but doesn't work for every title he draws). Storywise, there's a lot going on here. Tony's struggling with the possible hostile takeover of Stark Industries by SHIELD, as well as troubles with his armor. And though the story doesn't specifically mention it, I felt like he's also dealing with the strain of lying to some of his best friends (Rhodey and Iron Man 120-128 As good as its reputation. JRJr's art is some of the best I have seen from him, before he developed his cartoony look (which I love but doesn't work for every title he draws). Storywise, there's a lot going on here. Tony's struggling with the possible hostile takeover of Stark Industries by SHIELD, as well as troubles with his armor. And though the story doesn't specifically mention it, I felt like he's also dealing with the strain of lying to some of his best friends (Rhodey and Bethany) about his dual identity. There's a murder and also a near-death at the hands of Namor. Finally, some goofy villains seems to be teaming up, making his life much more hellish than they normally would. So the b-plot is that Tony seems to be drinking a lot more than normal, and it causes trouble. (see some great scenes with Jarvis on this subject) The alcoholism aspect of Tony Stark's character will play a bigger role in later tales - here the serious breakdown and recovery only takes one issue. I thought about removing a star for that, but it's such a good book across the board that I decided not to do.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Devin Bruce

    A classic in the Marvel canon, but I'd never read it until a month ago. The most surprising thing to me was that John Romita Jr. did the pencils for almost the whole story until after I'd finished the first issue. After reading him on books like Daredevil and the more recent World War Hulk, I can't see what I've come to identify as JRJR's style in here ANYWHERE. It's amazing to see the change, although I have a feeling that quite a bit of the visual style comes from Bob Layton's inks: if pencils A classic in the Marvel canon, but I'd never read it until a month ago. The most surprising thing to me was that John Romita Jr. did the pencils for almost the whole story until after I'd finished the first issue. After reading him on books like Daredevil and the more recent World War Hulk, I can't see what I've come to identify as JRJR's style in here ANYWHERE. It's amazing to see the change, although I have a feeling that quite a bit of the visual style comes from Bob Layton's inks: if pencils by John Romita Jr. and Carmine Infantino look almost identical, then the inker definitely has a very strong style. This is one of the rare books that I liked the art and story much more than the dialogue or plot: Layton, JRJR, and Infantino are all great artists and I like their take on Iron Man (and his crew). I can see why the story was so important 30 years ago, and I'm glad I read it, but it's not as compelling as it once was.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    ’70s-era Iron Man, in which, you know, it’s hard out there for a man with a pimp haircut and ’stache like Tony’s. He’s got to deal with the Sub-Mariner, who looks like Mr. Spock in a Speedo but has way fewer social skills. And there are a bunch of lameass villains with lameass superpowers he has to dispatch. Plus, he has to address the problem of his alcoholism in a single issue that reads much like an Afterschool Special. Can you feel the excitement from here? No, that’s just me still cringing a ’70s-era Iron Man, in which, you know, it’s hard out there for a man with a pimp haircut and ’stache like Tony’s. He’s got to deal with the Sub-Mariner, who looks like Mr. Spock in a Speedo but has way fewer social skills. And there are a bunch of lameass villains with lameass superpowers he has to dispatch. Plus, he has to address the problem of his alcoholism in a single issue that reads much like an Afterschool Special. Can you feel the excitement from here? No, that’s just me still cringing about Tony’s hair. Egad!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Anne

    Thanks to Hollywood, everybody knows Tony Stark's a jerk with a heart of gold, which is why Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect person to play him (life imitating art, and all, from what evidence we have). The choice here to give him a drinking problem really pissed off a lot of readers when the story first ran, because it "ruined" the character. For those of us coming to the comics now, it's a perfect choice, really. Because Iron Man is NOT a likable guy, and if you want your readers to stick arou Thanks to Hollywood, everybody knows Tony Stark's a jerk with a heart of gold, which is why Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect person to play him (life imitating art, and all, from what evidence we have). The choice here to give him a drinking problem really pissed off a lot of readers when the story first ran, because it "ruined" the character. For those of us coming to the comics now, it's a perfect choice, really. Because Iron Man is NOT a likable guy, and if you want your readers to stick around, you have to give them reasons. So, basically, Stark likes the booze a bit too much, and it starts interfering with both his business and superhero responsibilities. This is unfortunate, because a rival businessman is out to take down Stark Industries, and has no qualms about what means he uses to accomplish his ends. Tony freaks out, drinks a lot, and finally gets his shit together, with the help of his friends. The fact that he doesn't have a lot of friends makes this even more poignant. The only problem I have here is that Michelinie missed a terrific opportunity to stage an intervention with the Avengers. Maybe he thought it would be too corny? I think he could have pulled it off. Stark probably would've rather died than have to admit to the team he had a problem, but I think it could have worked, and led to some interesting character development / changes down the line. Maybe this happens later in the strip, though. I don't know. Most amusing bit? Cap teaching Tony self-defense in one afternoon. I'm still never going to be super-gonzo about Iron Man as a superhero, but I do appreciate the character a bit more now.

  13. 4 out of 5

    AJ Labib

    In a world "super heroes", this story brings out a very human, very vulnerable Tony Stark, and yet again, he becomes the Iron Man. Couldn't ask anything else from it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jaq Greenspon

    Really like this but wish the more modern fictive techniques could have been used to illustrate that Tony’s drinking was responsible for his downfall rather than it be a side effect. But this is certainly a new millennium take in what was revolutionary at the time.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robjr73

    This is an incredible book and easily the best Iron Man collection I’ve ever read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Hmm. It's hard to review this one, really. I can say that I felt sufficiently entertained as I read through this one... and that the one and a half issues that ACTUALLY deal with the "demon in the bottle" (sure there is foreshadowing, but to describe this collection as a whole as dealing with alcoholism is just plain false) were emotionally gripping and character-enriching. But that's about all I can say. This book was recommended to me as an exemplary starting point for reading Iron Man comics. Hmm. It's hard to review this one, really. I can say that I felt sufficiently entertained as I read through this one... and that the one and a half issues that ACTUALLY deal with the "demon in the bottle" (sure there is foreshadowing, but to describe this collection as a whole as dealing with alcoholism is just plain false) were emotionally gripping and character-enriching. But that's about all I can say. This book was recommended to me as an exemplary starting point for reading Iron Man comics. And I'm still confused as to why. A lot of the writing was pretty cheesy, and some of the conflict just seemed to be borne out of a need for suspense. However, the real underlying plot that deals with Justin Hammer and... the nightmare-inducing event, I'll say... were well thought out and well done. I just wish this storyline could be revamped with modern writers and modern artists. In fact, I was refreshed to see that Iron Man's first issue got that sort of treatment within this very book! Now let's just see Demon in a Bottle cleaned up a bit and I'm sure it will be a tale for the ages. Step one: change the title.....

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adam Bender

    I've been wanting to read the comic where Tony Stark has a drinking problem for quite some time. Ok, that sounds kind of weird, but it's true. This is the volume that includes the classic "Demon in a Bottle" comic. What I didn't realize is that it's mainly the one issue (the last in this collection) that deals with it. The first 7 issues show Tony having occasional drinks but he doesn't really hit rock bottom until the issue before the eponymous #128. The storyline up to that point focuses on Jus I've been wanting to read the comic where Tony Stark has a drinking problem for quite some time. Ok, that sounds kind of weird, but it's true. This is the volume that includes the classic "Demon in a Bottle" comic. What I didn't realize is that it's mainly the one issue (the last in this collection) that deals with it. The first 7 issues show Tony having occasional drinks but he doesn't really hit rock bottom until the issue before the eponymous #128. The storyline up to that point focuses on Justin Hammer messing with Iron Man's suit. It's a fun but not totally absorbing superhero adventure, and I felt a bit bored at times. So, if you're just reading this for the drinking problem stuff, you might be better off buying digital single issues of #127 and #128. That said, that last issue is pretty great. It's pretty interesting to see a comic take on an issue like drinking and do it in a way that feels organic to the plot. Even more commendable is that the guy with the problem here is Iron Man himself! I've seen a lot of comics address addiction issues through sidekicks and friends of sidekicks, so it's great to see Marvel had the guts to use one of their biggest stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric Mikols

    This was a fun comic. Not great, but fun. I liked the 80's vibe of the whole affair, and Tony Stark is a fun character. I read this with the desire to read an important Iron Man story, which was Demon in a Bottle. Having heard so much about it, I expected a long battle between Stark and alcoholism. This book however, is seven issues of Iron Man dealing with Justin Hammer and some super villains, getting stressed, having a drink once or twice, and then going full alcoholic in one issue. I'm of tw This was a fun comic. Not great, but fun. I liked the 80's vibe of the whole affair, and Tony Stark is a fun character. I read this with the desire to read an important Iron Man story, which was Demon in a Bottle. Having heard so much about it, I expected a long battle between Stark and alcoholism. This book however, is seven issues of Iron Man dealing with Justin Hammer and some super villains, getting stressed, having a drink once or twice, and then going full alcoholic in one issue. I'm of two minds of this. On one hand, it's great to see that such a big story could be covered in a single issue back in the day. The writers really new how to compress a story. On the other hand, it seems like a big enough issue to deal with over the course of a longer format. It's not until the last issue of this volume that Tony becomes an alcoholic, ruins his life, decideds to battle the bottle, overcomes, and is back in the game. It's about 15 pages of real struggle. Still, it's a good story, and the non-DIAB issues are fun enough to warrent a read-through.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vikas

    Nice collection of comics in a Story Arc, which mixes Avengers and other heroes from Marvel universe. Iron Man fights some mercenaries working for someone. Who turns out to be Justin Hammer. Stark Industry's rival which he doesn't know about. This Graphic Novel covered Iron Man's origin story via Vietnam war. Story Ends with justifying the title "Devil in Bottle" as Tony drowns himself in Drinks causing his world to come undone. Nice read. I have always loved comics, and I hope that I will always Nice collection of comics in a Story Arc, which mixes Avengers and other heroes from Marvel universe. Iron Man fights some mercenaries working for someone. Who turns out to be Justin Hammer. Stark Industry's rival which he doesn't know about. This Graphic Novel covered Iron Man's origin story via Vietnam war. Story Ends with justifying the title "Devil in Bottle" as Tony drowns himself in Drinks causing his world to come undone. Nice read. I have always loved comics, and I hope that I will always love them. Even though I grew up reading local Indian comics like Raj Comics or Diamond Comics or even Manoj Comics, now's the time to catch up on the international and classic comics and Graphic novels. I am on my quest to read as many comics as I can. I Love comics to bit, may comics never leave my side. I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angie Reisetter

    I just read my first comic book. I signed up this week to take a short online course on comic books, so I'm going to read a few. I think this could enrich the classes I teach, and it's an interesting piece of our pop culture history and current events. I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Yes, the dialog is weird because everyone is narrating their own actions, and everything is over-dramatized and a little on the whimsically ridiculous side. But I did find it very entertaining. I just read my first comic book. I signed up this week to take a short online course on comic books, so I'm going to read a few. I think this could enrich the classes I teach, and it's an interesting piece of our pop culture history and current events. I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Yes, the dialog is weird because everyone is narrating their own actions, and everything is over-dramatized and a little on the whimsically ridiculous side. But I did find it very entertaining. This was recommended to me as a good place to start, and I'll do Watchmen next. All in all a pretty good experience for this comic newbie.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris Schaben

    Absolutely one of the greatest Marvel story arcs I have ever read! After too much stress, pain, and misunderstandings, Tony Stark reaches his breaking point. He begins using his Iron Man armor and alcohol to hide his grievances and pain from all he is losing. The arc results in some of the most powerful, dramatic, and beautiful panels I have ever seen in any comic book. If you like comic books, or if you would like some great issues to start your collection, I HIGHLY recommend getting this book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Omar Chilla

    8.5 good. Brings back the old deoman in a bottle. Tremendous story and 1 of the greatest story lines I've read. Isnt good enough for my top 10 but easily a honourable mention. It's a good read and a great addition to your comic shelf.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle

    Some interesting and ambitious Tony Stark characterization but forgettable writing, story, and only competent artwork make this pretty dull.

  24. 4 out of 5

    W.T.

    As a kid, Iron Man was the tops for me when it came to Marvel characters . . . Scratch that. When it came to comic characters. My pop used to sing the theme song to the the 1966 cartoon (listen to it here: https://youtu.be/9EBar7BK8Mk) It stayed with me (as did the Thor cartoon theme, putting him up there on my faves list, also), but as an adult it was Tony Stark’s humanity and struggles (perfectly portrayed on screen by RDJ. I mean, could a better man have been casted? Rhetorical question.) that As a kid, Iron Man was the tops for me when it came to Marvel characters . . . Scratch that. When it came to comic characters. My pop used to sing the theme song to the the 1966 cartoon (listen to it here: https://youtu.be/9EBar7BK8Mk) It stayed with me (as did the Thor cartoon theme, putting him up there on my faves list, also), but as an adult it was Tony Stark’s humanity and struggles (perfectly portrayed on screen by RDJ. I mean, could a better man have been casted? Rhetorical question.) that made him so relatable for me. David Michelinie, in his introduction “Heart of Iron, Feet of Clay,” writes: “Behind every super hero is a human being. No, not the man or woman in the flashy spandex outfit, fighting larger-than-life dangers; I’m talking about the man or woman, most likely dressed in underwear and a ratty bathrobe, who sits at a keyboard pounding out that hero’s adventures. A person whose most formidable foes are rarely larger-than-life, but are rather spawned from life itself. A person who faces daily conflict with out the aid of superpowers or sidekicks, but only the courage and wisdom they’re able to cull from the effort of staying sane in a complex and often unfeeling world. A person whose struggles, intentionally or otherwise, almost always find a way into the stories they tell.” Mr. Michelinie and the artist Bob Layton (who might be my fave classic Iron Man artist) do that in this collection. They show us that it’s not the armor of Ol’ Shell Head that makes him a hero, it’s his ability to face and defeat his demons. Here’s Mr. M again: “As Bob and I always envisioned him, Tony Stark, when stripped of everything nonessential, is a man of innate nobility. No matter what happens to him on the outside, no matter how his intentions or focus might become twisted, he will eventually do what he believes is right, no matter what the personal cost. And when he landed at the bottom of that bottle, and found the unbeatable demon that was his own weakness, he faced it, he fought it, and he drove it back into the darkest corner of his soul. And if there’s a better definition of ‘hero,’ I don’t know it.” Neither do I. Lastly, in issue 128, the final issue in this collection, Mr. M. writes, “By definition, a hero is a man who battles against overwhelming odds for a cause, and ideal, or for the lives of innocents, the cause and ideal may vary with the morning headlines – – while the innocents, in today’s world of muddy morality, may ultimately proved to be the guilty. Which leaves but one constant in the definition: that a hero is, above all, a man … A man subject to pressures and responsibilities far beyond those of his peers. Such is a burden that must take its toll, eventually, From even the most valiant warrior. And it is then that the test of a true hero begins.” #TeamStark #IronManForever #Loveyou3000

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Demon in a Bottle is one of the best runs in comics of any age, perhaps even giving the Dark Phoenix Saga a run for its money (especially since that story's gravitas was completely undone when Marvel decided to bring Jean Grey back from the dead). During the story we see Tony's alcoholism moving from a background problem to front and center over the course of nine issues. Michellinie and Layton give the plot time to unfold naturally, moving from sub-plot to main point of the story. He does this Demon in a Bottle is one of the best runs in comics of any age, perhaps even giving the Dark Phoenix Saga a run for its money (especially since that story's gravitas was completely undone when Marvel decided to bring Jean Grey back from the dead). During the story we see Tony's alcoholism moving from a background problem to front and center over the course of nine issues. Michellinie and Layton give the plot time to unfold naturally, moving from sub-plot to main point of the story. He does this while also having action and heroics as the main point of the book. These are two things that current comics writers would do well to re-learn. Subplots in today's books are almost unknown and many writers tend to focus on interpersonal relationships between characters while treating the heroic action as an after thought. The result are decompressed stories paced for the trade lacking in excitement or any hooks to keep readers interested in future possible stories. Art chores are handled by John Romita's, Jr. on pencils with finishes by co-plotter Bob Layton. Layton is one of those artists that have been forgotten by a lot of people over the years but his inks absolutely save JRJR's art (which, judging from the finished product, might've been closer to breakdowns than finished pencils). While Romita, Jr. did end up developing a decent art style it took him years to do so and, in my own opinion, spent the majority of his career trading on his father's name and whatever skills he did develop have in recent years given way to obvious boredom with what he's doing, as can be seen on the woeful Superman Year One. Layton's inks transform Romita's pencils into art worthy of an Iron Man story. If there is one drawback to Demon in a Bottle it's the fact that it was so influential that future writers decided to make Tony's relapse to alcoholism a bit too frequent (yes, that includes you, Denny O'Neil). Additionally, this has been done without any (as far as I have seen) struggles where Tony actually overcomes the temptation to drink. Where is the character development in that? Perhaps it's another testament to Michellinie and Layton's work that so many other writers, including ones that are supposed to be heavy hitters, can't come up with their own original takes on Tony, or even advance his character development in recovery.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashe Catlin

    The first time I read this I really enjoyed it, reading it again I'm not sure why I liked it. There are some parts that are good but overall it just feels like a bloated mess, Tony isn't really an alcoholic throughout the whole thing. Which I thought was the whole point of the story, he just has a few drinks at the beginning then about 3/4 digs a little deeper in the bottle. Even when he does that it doesn't really focus on the alcoholism, which would of been nice to explore. Instead what I got The first time I read this I really enjoyed it, reading it again I'm not sure why I liked it. There are some parts that are good but overall it just feels like a bloated mess, Tony isn't really an alcoholic throughout the whole thing. Which I thought was the whole point of the story, he just has a few drinks at the beginning then about 3/4 digs a little deeper in the bottle. Even when he does that it doesn't really focus on the alcoholism, which would of been nice to explore. Instead what I got was him having a fight with Namor, which was good and I can't believe I'm actually saying this but it was the best story in the whole thing. It's barely connected with the rest, with just 2 little panels. There are a lot of coincidences throughout this that just happen randomly like (view spoiler)[how does Hammer know Tony's underwater or does he know that he's got his hand on a fat man. (hide spoiler)] Speaking of fat men, they also decide to retell Iron Man's origin but this time a little fat man is the master mind. Why did it need to be retold? It doesn't add anything new or explore any new themes is just the same except for the fat man. So yeah captured builds a suits, escapes interesting right? There is a stupid part that did make me laugh, for some reason (view spoiler)[he decides to wrestle the little fat man. He could of just blow up stuff but instead he uses magnets. (hide spoiler)] "dickie! come quck! Thar's a man in red armor crashed in ahr back yard!" So above is a little quote, which I think surprises the rest of this nicely. Because it's just stupid bits of fluff, (view spoiler)[an example of that is Iron Man's boot stops working so he crashes then after looking at his boot goes nope it's ok any flies off. I'm sorry what? Your telling me that a guy who can build an Iron Man suit is that dumb. (hide spoiler)] What else does this offer, a Mary Jane clone and some cool villains who are treated like incompetent idiots.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I read this story as individual back issues as a kid (when I started reading Rhodey was Iron Man) and it really impacted me then and was just as good now as an adult although I noticed different things. Comics were aimed a different audience back then, at kids rather than adults as they seem to be now, and the authors did a great job of working the difficult topic of alcoholism into a comic book story of the time. There were more elements of this story reflected in the newer Iron Man movies than I read this story as individual back issues as a kid (when I started reading Rhodey was Iron Man) and it really impacted me then and was just as good now as an adult although I noticed different things. Comics were aimed a different audience back then, at kids rather than adults as they seem to be now, and the authors did a great job of working the difficult topic of alcoholism into a comic book story of the time. There were more elements of this story reflected in the newer Iron Man movies than I realized, even though the movies don't really deal with his alcoholism like the comics did. This story does a good job of setting up Stark's big fall later in the series and utilizes the Iron Man supporting cast at the time such as Bethany Chase, Rhodey, Mrs. Arbogast, and Jarvis well. The art is great classic comic style, I will always associated Bob Layton's covers with the character, and JRJR's early work here is great but strikingly different than his later signature style. This book was also the first hint of the work Justin Hammer was doing to prop up Iron Man's rfogues gallery and undermine Stark's work, elements of which lead to the Armor Wars storyline. I would rate this book 4.5 stars if Goodreads allowed half stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christian Hamilton

    The seminal Iron Man Story. Plotted, written, and illustrated by the greatest Iron Man duo, Michelinie and Layton (with Romita, Jr. thrown in for good measure), Demon in a Bottle is the classic Iron Man story that gave us his first bout with alcoholism and the destruction of all he created. It also features the first real appearance of the evil Justin Hammer, portrayed somewhat sadly by Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2, and a villain later expanded upon by Michelinie and Layton in their other Iron Man The seminal Iron Man Story. Plotted, written, and illustrated by the greatest Iron Man duo, Michelinie and Layton (with Romita, Jr. thrown in for good measure), Demon in a Bottle is the classic Iron Man story that gave us his first bout with alcoholism and the destruction of all he created. It also features the first real appearance of the evil Justin Hammer, portrayed somewhat sadly by Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2, and a villain later expanded upon by Michelinie and Layton in their other Iron Man stories. Demon in a Bottle ended perhaps too cleanly, but it can only be expected according to Marvel's standards at the time. What it did do was create Tony Stark's lasting conflict with alcohol, a conflict that would define him only several issues later with the very long and methodical storytelling approach by Dennis O'Neil that replaced Tony with Rhodey and brought about the Iron Monger. Iron Man has few "great" stories that can be put in a graphic novel format. Most read well in single issues, but it is Demon in a Bottle, Armor Wars, Mask in the Iron Man, Extremis, and others, that read exceptionally in a long-form format. Demon in a Bottle is the perfect one to start out with.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This series--I think there were six or seven of them--is forty years old. Comics like this are incredibly dated: the artwork, the writing, the stories. Most of this was standard issue Comic Code Marvel: Iron Man fighting bad guys. What made the series notable was how the writers dealt with the main character's alcoholism. Throughout the story arc, Tony "Iron Man" Stark become increasingly addicted to alcohol, until he is forced to face his 'demon in a bottle' and wrestle with his substance abuse This series--I think there were six or seven of them--is forty years old. Comics like this are incredibly dated: the artwork, the writing, the stories. Most of this was standard issue Comic Code Marvel: Iron Man fighting bad guys. What made the series notable was how the writers dealt with the main character's alcoholism. Throughout the story arc, Tony "Iron Man" Stark become increasingly addicted to alcohol, until he is forced to face his 'demon in a bottle' and wrestle with his substance abuse. Pretty stout stuff for a super hero comic, but it was handled well. I'd like to see some of this in the Marvel movies that I so love. It certainly added complexity and depth to the character. Good stuff. Old, but good. 176 pages or so.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    This is a hard one to rate. The ultimate storyline about alcoholism is really quite amazing, especially given the time and the intended audience. And the final issue—the one that actually grapples with his alcoholism directly—is definitely 5 stars (albeit with flaws). But the arc, as a whole, has way too many dumb villains, meaningless fights, and bad expository dialogue. If they spent 20 issues really developing Tony’s problem and his struggle, it would be fabulous. And that is probably what we This is a hard one to rate. The ultimate storyline about alcoholism is really quite amazing, especially given the time and the intended audience. And the final issue—the one that actually grapples with his alcoholism directly—is definitely 5 stars (albeit with flaws). But the arc, as a whole, has way too many dumb villains, meaningless fights, and bad expository dialogue. If they spent 20 issues really developing Tony’s problem and his struggle, it would be fabulous. And that is probably what we would expect from a modern graphic novel. I’m REALLY glad to have read this book. It feels like an important part of comics history (and a great source of 70s outfits/hair). But it also feels very dated.

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