“Demon in a Bottle” was originally only the title of the final issue in the storyline, it was only when the storyline was collected in trade paperback in 1984 and 1989 as The Power of Iron Man that “Demon in a Bottle” became the popular name for the storyline. Further editions since then have used that name. The story begins as a military tank is being thrown through the air. The tank hits the wing of a passenger plane carrying Tony Stark. As a result, Stark secretly dons the Iron Man armor and guides it to a safe landing in the ocean.
Navy ships approach and soldiers help the passengers to safety, and bring Iron Man to an island base. They tell him the tank was thrown by Namor, who was defending a resident of the island that the soldiers were trying to remove, because the island is used as a toxic waste disposal site. Iron Man confronts and fights Namor, before it’s revealed that the soldiers actually belong to the Roxxon Oil Corporation, which is secretly occupying the island to mine the vibranium it contains. Iron Man and Namor team up to fight and defeat the soldiers, who escape and trigger explosives contained on the island, destroying it along with any evidence that they were ever there.
While flying home, Iron Man’s armor begins to malfunction, sending him flying uncontrollably through the sky and crash landing. He regains control and later tests the armor in his lab, and finds nothing apparently wrong. Stark is visiting a casino with Bethany Cabe when Blizzard, the Melter, and Whiplash arrive and attempt to rob the casino’s vault. Tony again slips away, dons his armor and saves the day.
During the fight, he overhears a comment from Blizzard about “Hammer” wanting Iron Man kept alive. Stark later receives and agrees to a request for Iron Man to represent his company, Stark International, at a public ceremony and meet with a foreign ambassador. At the ceremony, Iron Man’s armor again malfunctions, striking the ambassador with a repulsor blast, killing him. Iron Man tells the police about the malfunction, claiming he did not intentionally kill the ambassador. Doubtful, but knowing they can’t fight him, the police let him go but demand that Stark turn over his armor for inspection, and Stark complies. During this time, Stark’s drinking increases significantly…
The storyline ran in Iron Man #120-128 (March-Nov. 1979), plotted by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, with script by Michelinie. John Romita, Jr. pencilled the breakdown sketches, with Layton providing finished art. Issue #122 (May 1979) was both plotted and scripted by Michelinie, penciled by Carmine Infantino and inked by Layton.