Probably not: “Unngh! Powerful snake-like tentacles - strangling me! C-can’t breathe…”
I would think it would be more like: “God, this is embarrassing. I hope nobody has a camera.”
If you’re a heavy hitter like Iron Man and you’re having trouble with a pack of losers like The Serpent Squad, you are seriously off your game.
In this issue Iron Man fights Anaconda, Death Adder, and Black Mamba – The Serpent Squad! Fortunately for the villains, Iron Man also has to fight Denny O’Neil, who crafts the plot in such a way that our hero actually has a hard time against the loser villains. If I were writing the book – that’s right, if I jumped in the Wayback Machine, traveled back to the year 1982, kidnapped and replaced Denny O’Neil, and then wrote Iron Man – I would have Stark wipe The Serpent Squad out in two panels, and then we’d move on to something more challenging, like Iron Man vs Runaway Stagecoach.
Here’s how my script for Iron Man #160 would look:
Panel 1. Iron Man turns around to face The Serpent Squad, who cower.
IRON MAN: “Hey! The Serpent Squad!”
DEATH ADDER: “Wait! We surren-- ”
Panel 2. Iron Man blasts The Serpent Squad with his repulsors and his omni-beam. The villains are blown into the air like steaks in a tornado.
DEATH ADDER: “Mommy!”
ANACONDA: “My balls!”
BLACK MAMBA: “AIIIEEEE!”
IRON MAN: “That was funny. Time for lunch.”
Panel 3. In the Stark Industries cafeteria, Iron Man eats a very thin ham sandwich through his mouth slot.
IRON MAN: “Mmm... Ham.”
TOWNSFOLK (off-panel): “AIIIEEEE! Runaway Stagecoach!”
IRON MAN: “Eh? Trouble?”
…and then Iron Man spends the rest of the issue saving townsfolk from an out of control horse-drawn coach.
One of the highlights of this issue for me is the Steve Ditko art, which is adorably simple and old-fashioned. That may sound patronizing, but that’s my charitable spin on the art in this issue. Years ago I made a vow by candlelight never to make fun of Steve Ditko, and I’m not about to start now.
The first page of Iron Man #160 is a dream sequence where Tony has been bested by the one adversary he can never truly defeat: Scotch. I’m not sure if some other artist drew the first page, or if Ditko was adopting a different style just for this scene or what the deal is. Here’s Tony Stark’s worst nightmare:
Sorry about the crappy scan; I had to do it at work. (Just kidding! I never work on my blog at work! Not me!)
I love this splash page because as I have mentioned before, drunk superheroes are always funny. It’s a comedy home-run – guaranteed laffs. Stark is so fucked up that he has forgotten the incredible arsenal of space age weaponry at his disposal and has opted for a broken bottle as his weapon of choice. It’s hard to see because the scan sucks, but there it is in his right hand – a broken bottle. And look at the guy on the floor clutching his face! Oh my God, Iron Man cut that dude’s face with a broken bottle! That will teach the guy to mouth off about the Red Sox in front of Iron Man.
After Stark’s horrific dream he hops in the shower and gets ready for a big party at the zoo tonight. We get this HOT panel:
Such is the power of Steve Ditko’s art: I am now gay for creepy eyeless Tony Stark.
The rest of the comic? Man, do I really have to? The Serpent Squad show up, they give Iron Man a hard time, he wins, et cetera. After their defeat, The Serpent Squad decide to expand their ranks by recruiting villains like Bushmaster and they become The Serpent Society. Where I grew up in L.A. we had a pimp that hung out at the neighborhood Bob’s Big Boy restaurant that everybody called Bushmaster – I wonder if it’s the same guy?
I forgot to mention! At the party there is lots of crazy-ass dancing, like this old guy who is getting hella krump:
This was published in the 80’s - perhaps that’s The Safety Dance that he’s doing. Or maybe he’s Wang Chunging…
* I know, I can’t believe Marvel named a character The Fucking Termite. Would Stan Lee put up with that? Think about the kids, Marvel!