Iron Man #210
Issue(s): Iron Man #210
With the money, Happy and his recruit, "Jake Jordan", do really well, and eventually Tony invites them back to his mansion after taking in a fight (and observing that Jake has a real mean streak in the ring).
Some really good work showing the conflicting feelings in Happy.
It turns out that Jake is really the Spymaster, and he's been using Happy in the hope that it would eventually lead to him being allowed into Stark's mansion. Happy finds "Jake" copying Tony's space station blueprints, and he intimidates Happy into just walking away.
But he returns when Stark tries to stop Spymaster as Iron Man and winds up getting captured. Spymaster is working for AIM and has a bunch of new toys that he uses to beat Iron Man.
So Happy, knowing he's putting his life at dire risk, attacks the Spymaster, and the Spymaster responds at the joke of Happy attacking him by fighting him with boxing instead of his array of weapons. And despite their difference in age and fitness, Happy manages to last a long time against Spymaster.
Enough time for Iron Man to get free.
The issue ends with Happy in the hospital, and Pepper telling Tony that he isn't welcome.
Much later, Happy will be mortally injured boxing a different Spymaster in a story that i think should have acknowledged this one. I also think about this issue whenever i see Pepper Potts treated like a potential love interest in the comics in the wake of the Iron Man movies. Obviously characters grow and change, but there's a fundamental aspect of Pepper here that has been true for a long while; she and Happy quit their jobs at Stark and moved away back circa Iron Man #84 due to the exact same reasoning that Pepper expresses here. Anyway, we'll look at that evolution when we get there. For now, this is definitely an above average story, especially considering it's basically a fill-in (although i don't know if Fingeroth knew his "run" was really just killing time waiting for the Micheleinie/ Layton team to return or if that's just how it seems to me, and it's also worth noting that regular penciler M.D. Bright is on art).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place this between West Coast Avengers #13-14, although it's context free.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Pepper's argument is that Tony should stay away from Happy because Happy will eventually get killed by one of Tony's enemies. Ironic considering what happened.
Posted by: Michael | January 3, 2014 9:24 PM
My first experience with Spymaster. Loved the issue, and loved the villain. He had a great look, and he really seemed like an A-level threat. I was really looking forward to seeing him more.
I was still very new to Marvel comics, and didn't know who Happy or Pepper were, or that Spymaster really wasn't a popular villain for Iron Man. It was interesting to learn more about the mythos of Iron Man though.
Posted by: Chris | January 24, 2014 1:58 AM
This is where the relationship with Pepper stood the last time I checked before the Iron Man films, I was surprised 1- that they used her as the love interest and 2 - she ended up being such an awesome character (especially her cameo in Avengers). In the second Avengers film, when Tony and Thor brag about their girlfriends I mentioned to my wife that while Natalie is hotter, there is no question that Pepper, in the MCU, is the much more awesome sig. other.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 27, 2015 1:10 PM
Yeah even in the early comics Pepper is better than Jane. Jane is just an annoying forced romance character in the movies. Even if I wasn't a Sif fan I don't think I'd be a Jane fan.
Posted by: david banes | June 27, 2015 1:20 PM
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