Thunderbolts: Remote Control This R-Man appearance blows, from Iron Man #38

"Remote Control" (2001/02/02)
"Remote Control Part 1" Iron Man 37 (February 2001)
"Remote Control Part 2" Iron Man 38 (March 2001)
"Starks & Stones" Iron Man 39 (April 2001)
"Wonderland!" Iron Man 40 (May 2001)

Reader Rating: Below Average; Thunderbolts Interest: Low

Summary: Somebody is trying to wreck Tony Stark's life...could it possibly be his childhood rival, now a billionaire inventor with a new mind-altering invention? The guy's name is Tiberius Stone, and Tony has to fight him on three fronts: Physically, against his hired muscle (including the Radioactive Man); in the press, against an anti-Stark smear campaign; and in his own memories, where Stone's invention eventually traps him.

Continuity: After missing in action for ten years, Chen Lu shows up as Stone's bodyguard -- presumably having joined him during Stone's years overseas. Radioactive Man wears a ridiculous new costume (with these cute little John Lennon glasses). He exhibits great strength, emits radioactive gas capable of melting Iron Man's armor, generates a "force field" that can absorb IM's repulsor rays and, harkening back to his earliest appearance, somehow explodes without killing himself. Iron Man thinks that someone has "souped up" Chen Lu's abilities, and R-Man himself mentions that he has added "some new powers to my repertoire", but that could all be hype -- these are all variations of stuff he's done before. At story's end, Chen Lu remains in Stone's employ.

Comments: This is an effort to read. Author Frank Tieri tries to disguise his feeble little mystery behind poorly constructed red herrings and a flashback framing sequence that kept me flipping pages in confusion, trying to figure out when things were happening. There are flashbacks within the flashbacks, detailing another painful chapter from Stark's childhood, leading to yet another betrayal from someone he thought was his friend. The time frame is weirdly compacted, and the adventure wraps up in a trite and unsatisfying "my will is stronger than yours" finale. It does not appear that Tieri has bothered researching The Radioactive Man's history at all, failing even to register that Chen Lu is Chinese. There is art, mostly by Alitha Martinez, but it contributes little towards understanding what's going on.

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This page was revised on March 26, 2005

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