The Power of Iron Man, presented by Stan Lee ISBN 0939766973
Five out of five stars
This graphic novel goes where no writer/artist/comic book had ever gone before, an honest treatment of heavy drinking to the point of alcoholism. While drunks have been presented as jokes in other forms of entertainment, recall the character of Otis in the Andy Griffith Show, nothing of the serious from had ever appeared in comics. The rigid and unrelenting Comics Code Authority prevented a great deal of real life outside of the comic books.
Tony Stark, the body within Iron Man, is a genius inventor like no other on Earth. He is very rich, is primary owner of one of the greatest industrial companies on Earth and has the coolest costume on the planet. Yet, he is still a man and suffers from inner turmoil common to geniuses. Like so many others, he finds some form of solace in bottles of alcoholic beverages.
Many threads are covered, from the origin of Iron Man in a communist prison camp to Tony hitting bottom and an intervention by a female friend that pulls Tony out of the bottle and back to a functioning man and hero. While comic books are of course based on impossible fiction, the heroes are still people and have strengths, weaknesses and human flaws. The fact that this graphic novel operates on that premise and presents some harsh realities of life makes it a historic breakthrough in the world of comics.