Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Atlas/Seaboard Comics: Ironjaw

The first of the Atlas sword-slinging characters, Ironjaw #1 debuted in January of 1975 with a dynamic cover scene by artist Neal Adams. Written by comic veteran Michale Fleshier and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Jack Abel, our savage hero roams the world in earth's distant, post-apocalyptic future. The story starts out as Ironjaw is hired by rebels to help overthrow a tyrannical king, but the warrior soon discovers his true heritage. As an infant, his mother's lover killed Ironjaw's father, the true king, and ascended to the throne himself. With the complicity of the queen, the new king ordered the infant killed, since he would inherit the throne and depose the usurper upon reaching adulthood. However, a soft-hearted stable hand abandoned the boy on a snowy mountainside, rather than kill him. The baby is then discovered and raised by the bandit Tar-Lok and his tribe. Ironjaw eventually kills the tyrant-king and claims his throne with the help of his sister who noticed their identical birthmark that revealed his true identity. But the new crowned majesty slips away in the night since kingly duties are of no interest to a barbarian. The only character in the Atlas line up to have four issues and one appearance in the anthology title, The Barbarians, Ironjaw was one of the most fleshed out characters as we discover his origin in Ironjaw #4 how his jaw was removed by a jealous group of thieves and replaced with the hideous jaw made of iron. Pablo Marcos' bold style was a good choice to continue the artistic chores as new writer Gary Friedrich took the barbarian in a different direction before the company suddenly folded.

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