Brian C. Saunders:
Iron Man #193-194
Issue(s): Iron Man #193, Iron Man #194
That is a Quinjet he's knocking down. If i interpret the scene correctly, that's actually his way of trying to get help. From Tigra. Another indignity.
I could be wrong about the "going for help" bit. But he's definitely acting against Doctor Demonicus' orders.
Godzilla is never referred to by name in these issues. To Demonicus, he's "my once greatest enemy". To everyone else, including probably any readers who hadn't read Godzilla's series, he's just a random giant monster. It's clearly him; Marvel just didn't have the rights to Godzilla's name anymore, but i guess they didn't want to give up on the ancillary characters. The MCP cites Marvel Monsters: Files of Ulysses Bloodstone to justify the inclusion of Godzilla, but i think it's pretty obvious just from reading the issues and understanding the copyright restrictions.
Tigra winds up alive but stranded, and she calls in the West Coast Avengers for help. Considering the whole team except Wonder Man gets involved, this could almost be a West Coast Avengers issue, but they didn't have a book at this time so it's cool to see them popping up almost as supporting characters in the Iron Man book. The focus of these issues is really Tony Stark struggling with the decision to wear the armor again.
Before that, though, Tony and Rhodey have a hilariously tense moment.
But the two reconcile and then Tony recommends that Rhodey go to Henry Pym to have his headaches checked out. While Rhodey is away, Stark heads to the West Coast Avengers' compound to let them know that Iron Man will be on LOA. While wearing an Iron Man suit.
Tony admits to himself that he was probably setting things up so that he'd have to go into action as Iron Man, and indeed that's when the Godzilla problem arises. He also has to reveal his identity to Hawkeye and Mockingbird so that they believe he's not an imposter.
There's a bit of Hamlet-izing as Stark debates getting directly involved in the Godzilla situation, but he eventually makes the right decision because Tigra and Hawkeye aren't very effective against the King of Monsters.
And Mockingbird wisely concentrates on Demonicus and his goons.
Stark lifts Godzilla and carries him out to sea.
He shows no sign of recognizing Godzilla, even though he did fight him before, but i guess that's due to the mutation.
Since he's wearing a scaled down version of his armor, it conks out on him after he drops Godzilla. Much of his half of #194 is devoted to him treading water while the other Avengers look for him.
The other half of #194 deals with Rhodey's visit to Pym.
Henry Pym puts forth a theory about his size reductions:
As I shrank, my weight decreased as well -- indicating that my body mass was not being compressed. But instead was being discarded somehow. Since my mass was nowhere to be seen, it was obviously being interdimensionally displaced.
Presumably the extra mass when he grew to giant-size came from an extradimensional source as well. He's been researching the dimension that his mass has been going to. It's an unusual association for a character that started as a biochemist, but before you know it Pym will be storing an entire Infinite Mansion in subspace.
An issue of Iron Man is an odd place to make this revelation, but Pym wasn't appearing anywhere regularly at this time, and i believe this explanation was first put forth in the Marvel Handbooks and probably became a plot point here due to editor Mark Gruenwald.
The conversation is interrupted by a criminal straight from an episode of Starsky & Hutch.
He's on the run from the law and in the resulting kerfuffle, he and Pym wind up in the dimension that Pym was studying. Rhodey follows as Iron Man.
Pym's lab assistant is Alice Nugent, a name that i want to be a tribute to Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent, but probably isn't. Much later, Nugent will become a Doctor Spectrum. This is her first appearance.
Iron Man rescues Henry Pym, but the criminal opts to stay in the Pym Particle dimension. It's as good a place to hide as any, i guess. You'd think that O'Neil or Gruenwald were setting this guy up to come back as a Pym-particle based super-villain but it never happened. It's not too late. Some looks never go out of style.
We never see Pym actually looking into Rhodey's headache problem.
Issue #194 is also the first appearance of the original Scourge. The Scourge plotline was kind of like the Casket of Ancient of Winters or the Dire Wraith saga in that it sort of unofficially crossed over into a lot of books, but it was much lower key. The mystery behind it was much cooler than the resolution. You just had this guy show up, always disguised, and kill a random third-tier super-villain while shouting "Justice is served!". This was something of a clean-up exercise for Marvel, at Gruenwald's instigation, but it was also really intriguing at the time. By now there have been something like nine Scourges and the novelty of it has worn off, but at the time it was pretty cool.
His victim in this issue is the Enforcer, who was on an assassination mission of his own, going after the Termite on Obadiah Stane's orders for failing to disrupt Tony Stark's new company a few issues back. The Scourge's mission, both in-story and out, might have been better served if he waited until after the Enforcer was finished killing the Termite.
Check out that strategically placed sound effect. And red blood!
In Part One of the disappointing Scourge revelations, we'll learn that the Scourge was actually the Enforcer's brother, and he started his killing spree here out of shame.
Also in these issues, Bethany Cabe resurfaces.
Clearly *i* had a lot of fun with these issues. Obviously a lot going on, and it's well written. The Gruenwald-isms merge well with O'Neil's more character-driven writing. And Luke McDonnell has a ball with the Pym-dimension, and is in decent form otherwise as well.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (13): show
I believe it's supposed to be that Scourges are trained to fabricate a story about having a personal link to a previous victim if caught, so the original Scourge isn't necessarily the Enforcer's brother. I could be wrong (it's been a long, long time since I read the issues in question and don't have them to hand) but the story he gives is somehow inaccurate - I think the Enforcer was meant to be an only child, which may have been established in his first appearance? It doesn't help that his first appearance, in Ghost Rider, has a character called Carson Collier be a red herring to his true identity, only for his Spider-Woman appearances to depict Collier as the Enforcer with no explanation. Anyway, it's all a bit of a mess!
Posted by: James | June 22, 2012 6:50 AM
I had these issues and I definitely didn't get that it was Godzilla and I was a big Godzilla fan! They had just mutated it too much and I didn't realize they didn't have the license anymore, so I thought if it was Godzilla they would have named him.
They were clearing setting the table for the eventual WCA series - Tony revealing his identity, clearly building up to him being in a new suit for #200, bringing back Hank into the fold.
As for Scourge, the "second" Scourge (involved in the John Walker "assassination") had just appeared just before I stopped reading comics, so I never realized they had gone in so many directions with it.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 25, 2015 10:37 PM
Iron Man #194 was probably the very first issue of Iron Man that I ever read, so I have a certain fondness for it.
By the way, Kurt Busiek originally intended to have the new Crimson Cowl in Thunderbolts be unmasked as Alice Nugent. That's why he brought her back in an early issue of Avengers volume 3, to reintroduce her to readers, so that when the reveal took place people wouldn't be scratching their heads asking "Who?!?" However, Busiek left Thunderbolts before he got around to this, and Fabian Nicieza instead had the Cowl turn out to be Justin Hammer's previously-unmentioned daughter. But that probably also provoked more than a few people to go "Who?!?"
In any case, Nicieza did eventually use Alice Nugent in Thunderbolts. As fnrod indicates, she became a new Doctor Spectrum.
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 8, 2015 10:21 PM
Not sure where to put this, but interestingly, Marvel produced an Essential Godzilla in 2006, and judging by the Mike's Amazing World site didn't produce any other Godzilla material at the time, so I guess for whatever reason Marvel felt it was worth it to pay the licencing fee to reprint that forgettable series.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | February 3, 2017 11:24 PM
There was also an equally inexplicable Conan Essentials around the same time. I can only assume because of their paper stock the Essentials were still covered under the original agreement.
Posted by: Andrew | February 4, 2017 6:52 PM
I knew there was some discussion of other Essentials for licensed comics on the Giant-Size Spider-Man #2 entry, but I forgot that Andrew mentioned both Godzilla and Conan Essentials there.
Dark Horse has published collections of the Savage Sword of Conan black-and-white magazine series, so I don't know if it's that simple. And other Essentials have had to write around ROM appearances...maybe the nature of licencing a toy as opposed to something that already originated in narrative form is different?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | February 4, 2017 7:45 PM
Actually, Essential Conan was printed in 2000 when Marvel still had the license for Conan. It's one of the first Essentials to climb high on the aftermarket.
Essential Godzilla, as mentioned, came in 2006. Marvel reached a deal with Toho to reprint the series as a one time thing.
Posted by: Bigvis497 | January 9, 2018 9:02 PM
Around about the time of that, Godzilla also appeared in an Exiles story arc (and was it was touted as the long-awaited return of an old character).
Posted by: AF | January 10, 2018 7:03 AM
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