The expression “swan song” is used when someone does something for the last time. I think the expression comes from the old legend that a swan, whose natural call is a rather ugly sound (not unlike the honk of a goose) will produce a lovely, haunting sound with its dying breath. We’ve got a couple of swan songs to tell you about in regard to IRON MAN (though the parties involved would strenuously object too the inference that what they’ve done has produced anything analogous to a rather ugly sound – so much for metaphors!).
First up, there’s penciler par excellence Mark D. Bright. The issue you are reading will be Mark’s last IRON MAN for the foreseeable future. Mark signed on with the book way back with issue #200 and has racked up a most impressive-looking run on this book. Having seen ol’ Shell-Head through the agonizing Armor Wars, Mark has opted to move on to other projects. Bright-fans, take heart – he’ll still be doing the Hawkeye feature every month in SOLO AVENGERS. Replacing Mark in the penciling department will be a fellow named Jackson Guide, bashful Bob Layton’s collaborator on early issues of X-FACTOR, who’s just completed a distinguished “run” on a certain third-generation speedster for DC. But before Jackson starts in issue #233, we have a special artistic treat for you next outing, as a chap by the name of Barry Windsor-Smith joins with our remaining creative cohorts David Michelinie and Bob Layton for a most offbeat epilogue to the Armor Wars. You have a month to prepare yourself!
The second swan song we have to sing…we’ll tell you about that next issue.