IRON HAND

 
Full Name: Iron Hand
Codename: Agent 041
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Paddy Brennan
Time Span: 1975 - 1975
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Iron Hand is an agent with the British Secret Service.
       Whether the department for whom he performs his highly impressive operations is MI-6 or a different, unnamed bureau is not revealed. All we know is he workes for Sir Adrian Glover who apparently holds a lot of clout and that Iron Hand is send all around the globe on behalf of his country.
       Who Iron Hand is when not on assignment is never revealed. We learn nothing of his background or his training, zilch about his personal life or what he does for recreation. We do not even ever learn his name, first or last. Iron Hand is how we know him and how his boss addresses him when not using his codename of Agent 041 (not sure why the leading 0).
       Also left totally to speculation is how he came to possess the steel hand that makes up his most shining asset. Unlike a couple of secret agents who have a metal extremity (Sarge Steel and the Steel Claw) we remain clueless as to what caused him to have it. We do not even know if it is a replacement for his real hand or some sort of fancy glove. The way he uses it makes me think it is a prosthetic but if so, it is a highly advanced one, bordering on if not passing into the realm of bionics.
       Iron Hand (odd name for someone with a steel hand) can use the hand just like a normal one in that he can, and does, shake hands with it and can grasp items and use them as if it were flesh. It can bear his weight when dangling from somewhere holding on only by its grip. And being steel instead of its namesake, iron, it does not rust when exposed to water, something that happens a lot.
       With his steel appendage, Iron Hand is able to perform some pretty amazing stunts despite not possessing any powers of his own. He rams the fingers into a gas tank, rupturing it. When needing to climb a rock wall, he smashes his metal fingers into it creating handholds. Another time he needs to slide down a powerline so he grasps the electrified wire and away he goes, all unaffected by the event. Naturally, being made of steel, using the hand as a weapon is a foregone conclusion and he does so on several occasions, rendering the victim instantly unconscious.
       But that's not all! Press a button on the palm of his iron hand, an electric saw blade protudes from his index finger allowing him to saw through small trees and other shrubbery. Another button and the same finger (apparently) shoots a knock-out dart. Yet another button and that digit provides a mini-laser beam able to pierce thick steel. A different button and the finger shoots an inky black liquid creating a cloud underwater. Pushing a button on his wrist turns his whole hand into a powerful magnet, which he uses in the first adventure to pull a set of keys to him when he is locked in a jail cell.
       It is obvious from his adventures and Iron Hand would have made a terrific operative even without his deadly appendage but with it, he is almost unstoppable.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:12
First Appearance:1975
Last Appearance:1975

       Told in the pages of Cracker, a British magazine largely devoted to humorous strips but carrying other things as well, each issue of the publication would contain 2 pages of Iron Hand adventures with each mission taking around 6 issues (12 pages).
       Each of these 2-pages 'episodes' had a mini-cliffhanger to help convince the reader to be sure to grab the next week's portion.

       https://britishcomics.wordpress.com is the incredible site where I found all the great magazines published back in the day. I would highly recommend visiting it for a fantastic selection from the past.

1 Assignment Kalagar Assignment Kalagar
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 01/18/1975 - 03/08/1975

Printed in Issues No. 1 thru No. 8 (8 issues) of Cracker. Iron Hand (Agent 041) is sent to the Caribbean Island of Kalagar to investigate possible nuclear weapons. What he finds instead is a very interesting boring submarine

2 Disappearing Space Satellites Disappearing Space Satellites
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 03/15/1975 - 04/19/1975

Printed in Issues No. 9 thru No. 14 (6 issues) of Cracker. Iron Hand (Agent 041) is sent to an island in the South China Sea to find out how someone is making space satellites disappear.

3 Foil the  Kidnappers Foil the Kidnappers
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 04/26/1975 - 07/05/1975

Printed in Issues No. 15 thru No. 25 (11 issues) of Cracker. Britain's most fearless secret agent, Iron Hand (Agent 041) has his most important mission yet. It's to travel from Australia to England with the son of a top British Atomic Scientist and make sure that the boy is not kidnapped. Will he and the kid make it?

4 The Secret of the Sunken Ship The Secret of the Sunken Ship
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 07/12/1975 - 08/30/1975

Printed in Issues No. 26 thru No. 33 (8 issues) of Cracker. A cargo ship named Sarvian was mysteriously sunk with a top secret cargo off the coast of North Africa. Iron Hand's mission is to find out what that cargo is.

5 Danger in the Jungle Danger in the Jungle
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 09/06/1975 - 10/11/1975

Printed in Cracker #34-#39 (6 issues) - Iron Hand must find and save a Brazilian professor believed to have been in a crashed plane that went down somewhere in the jungle, if he is still alive.

6 Iron Hand To The Rescue Iron Hand To The Rescue
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 12/1978

Printed in The Beezer Book 1979 - 8 pages - Agent 041 also known as Iron Hand is given the mission to rescue another agent who had been captured with the code name of Caesar who happens to be the brother of Sir Adrian Glover.

7 At The Circus At The Circus
Published by D.C.Thomson
Contributors: Paddy Brennan (writer and artist)
Copyright: 12/1979

Printed in The Beezer Book 1980 - 10 pages - Iron Hand is at the circus with his nephews and they uncover a plot to smuggler gold cast into horseshoes there.

MY COMMENTS

       It would be easy to say the Iron Hand is a rip-off of the older The Steel Claw agent in British comics but considering that the latter came out in 1962 and the former did not arrive until 1975, one has to doubt the causality.
       Especially when the book Cyborg was published in 1972 and the next year three movies about The Six Million Dollar Man hit the small screen and in 1974 the adventures of Steve Austin became weekly fare for viewers. He had one heckuva right hand, powered by bionics and capable of tremendous feats.
       So if a progenitor was anyone it was likely Austin but considering that, unlike the Yank's, the hand was not made to look realistic but really close to the one used by Louis Crandell, aka the Steel Claw, he should be noted. For that reason, I would give each credit.
       But Iron Hand, called that, I'm sure, to keep from getting sued, went one better than Crandell's appendage and even niftier than Austin's, though less real looking, by giving it some impressive gadgets. Ink jets, saw blade, laser beam, poisoned dart, to name the first few we find. All apparently coming out the same index finger and all powered by an unknown power source.
       When you flat out ignore the how's, it is easy to not have to worry about silly things like logistics.

       The artwork for these tales is pretty good. The flow of the stories is fast and furious and they are rather entertaining. The fact that we get nothing but action is unfortunate but at least the action is fast and furious and constant.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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