Iron Man #179-181
Issue(s): Iron Man #179, Iron Man #180, Iron Man #181
Some indeterminate time later (Hong Kong is a long way from Greece), Iron Man arrives on the docks of Hong Kong. His client turns out to be a famous film producer who is having trouble with his film - it was exposed and rendered useless.
After investigating, Iron Man discovers that the film was damaged by the Radioactive Man. The film was just collateral damage. Radioactive Man is actually on the docks protecting equipment for his boss, the Mandarin.
Radioactive Man is, of course, a major badass. Thor level. So that fight along would normally be a major challenge for a newbie in the Iron Man armor. But even though he's always been pretty independent and strong willed in the past, the Radioactive Man is actually pretty cowed by the Mandarin. Which isn't to say he doesn't put up a good fight.
But it seems his heart isn't really in it. The Mandarin gets downright insulting about it.
(Hey! I was born in the Year of the Rabbit too, you jackass! Ok! Ok! Put down the ring!)
Mandarin lures Rhodey to his lair in mainland China with a giant holographic Iron Man.
Crossing the border, the Chinese government launches a missile attack on IM as well.
Iron Man avoids the attack, busts into the Mandarin base...
...and meets Tony's old arch-enemy face to face. Of course, Rhodes has never met the Mandarin before, so it's an interesting scenario.
There's a decent sized battle.
Rhodes continues to have terrible debilitating headaches, but at least one time they save his life. The Mandarin uses his mind control ring on Iron Man (same thing he uses to keep the Radioactive Man in check). He first orders him to remove his helmet, and is relatively calm about the fact that Iron Man isn't Tony Stark.
Then he orders Rhodes to kill himself, but a headache kicks in, freeing him from mind control. Iron Man wounds the Mandarin while escaping, and then lures the Chinese airforce back to the Mandarin's base to help take him down. Also unknowingly helped by the Radioactive Man's lack of loyalty, Iron Man is able to disrupt the Mandarin's plan to trigger a famine in China (in order to spur China into war).
With that all wrapped up, Iron Man returns home, only to hear from Morley that there's been some sort of energy disturbance in Central Park. Iron Man investigates, and finds a big alien construct. He enters it, disappears, and on the next page is a big ad for Secret Wars.
While all of this is going on, Tony Stark is still having a swell time with the ladies. Except this time, the lady is an alcoholic like himself, and she's also pregnant.
When his promises to get her medical help or at least bring her to one of his nice apartments fall through (due to Obadiah Stane's continued manipulations), she abandons him, and Tony spends his time looking for her unsuccessfully.
Frankly, the art in these issues left me a little cold. The battle with the Radioactive Man should have been epic, but it was actually kind of dull. And the Mandarin's latest outfit is just terrible (to be fair, they've all been pretty bad).
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: For James Rhodes, this arc begins soon after Iron Man annual #6. He is still with the Eternals at the beginning of the arc. Iron Man leaves for Secret Wars at the end of this arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showClytemnestra Erwin, Gretl Anders, Ikaris, Iron Man, Makkari, Mandarin, Morley Erwin, Obadiah Stane, Radioactive Man, Sersi, Thena, War Machine
McDonnell's art could be pretty stiff. I also think he's guilty of some uninspired panel layouts. Every now and then he puts out some really nice figure work but a lot of the time it all seems phoned in.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 30, 2013 3:12 AM
The Mandarin has seen IM unmasked before, but Tony was disguised as a blonde guy. Since in that issue he also saw Happy Houn unmasked as a replacement IM you'd think he'd realise Jim was a replacement too.
but then he's the mandarin with a pretty addled brain.
Posted by: kveto | January 13, 2016 12:02 AM
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