Iron Man #215-216
Issue(s): Iron Man #215, Iron Man #216
Michelinie & Layton (with M.D. Bright ably replacing John Romita Jr. from their prior run) have a new direction to go in, beginning by introducing a "my armor is killing me" plot...
...and unveiling a new Stark Enterprises (under O'Neil, Tony Stark had explicitly said he didn't want to go in this direction again, but it's feasible enough that he's ready for it now).
They also set up a situation with AIM infiltrating the Space Station that has been so much of Stark's focus lately...
...and infecting it with a deadly bacteria.
And also forcing Tony and James Rhodes to re-enter Earth's atmosphere in their Iron Man suits (since AIM took the only shuttle), and Rhodey's suit is unable to handle re-entry (because it was damaged, not because it is the inferior suit), which causes him to get badly burned and therefore unable to wear the armor for a while (or even listen to Richard Pryor jokes. Wait, what?).
Again, all normal deck clearing.
These first two issues also wrap up the AIM occupation of Boca Caliente. With that, it's also the last we'll see of Valdemar and Yorgon Tykkio, which is especially disappointing since we never learned why Yorgon was previously shown to have a non-human face. But this is a relatively normal sort of plot point to get dropped, and since AIM remains a Marvel universe wide threat, the details of that could have always have been picked up elsewhere (they won't be, but i'm not faulting Michelinie & Layton too much for letting it drop here).
The real damage here is done to Clytemnestra Erwin. Cly has been a great minor character. A smart, capable woman capable of talking shop with Tony Stark, and an important part of Rhodey's Iron Man phase and Stark's second recovery period. And while she did blame Stark for her brother Morley's death at the hands of Obadiah Stane, she got over that, and then blamed him again and then we had a good story during the Danny Fingeroth fill-in run where she was shown to get over her brother's death. But we learn here that this wasn't the case, and in fact she's become treacherous and homicidal due to still blaming Stark.
When i first saw this scene in #215, with the AIM agents sneaking onto the space shuttle before the launch, i laughed out loud. No one notices the guys in bright yellow beekeeper suits running up to the shuttle? Cly is staring right at them!
But it turns out she's actually thrown in with AIM.
And that's how you turn a rare rational female character into an insane suicidal vengeance-driven witch in 6 easy scans.
If only she had talked to Tony. Like, you know, she did.
If you don't care about Clytemnestra, it's a good arc. Well scripted, some nice twists in the plot, and nice art by Bright.
Minor first: here is Ms. Williams, Tony's new secretary.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has these issues after the West Coast Avengers' big time travel arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): showAtha Williams, Clytemnestra Erwin, Iron Man, Senator Boyton, Valdemar Tykkio, War Machine, Yorgon Tykkio
The Richard Pryor joke refers to his freebasing accident where he set himself on fire.
Posted by: Robert | March 5, 2014 1:53 PM
Incident, not accident. He did it on purpose.
Posted by: Robert | March 5, 2014 1:58 PM
Possible hyperlink error in References:
This sentence doesn't have the hyperlinks activated for issue 199 & 200.
Posted by: clyde | March 5, 2014 4:20 PM
I link to issue #200 in the previous sentence, same bullet. No need to do it twice!
Posted by: fnord12 | March 5, 2014 4:25 PM
It's implied this issue that Cly was really evil since issue 206. That makes no sense- it makes Fingergoth's issues nonsensical.
Posted by: Michael | March 5, 2014 7:59 PM
This is the start of an excellent run, and I agree with almost all the changes the new creative team makes, but they do go a bit too far with the house cleaning.
I completely agree that this is a huge misuse of Clytemnestra Erwin. I really liked the character, but I'm soft on cute, brainy females who don't meet the standard definition of beauty. Her mad homicidal moment here makes no sense. Anger towards Stark might be understandable, but Tony didn't kill her brother so ultimately this makes no sense. It would have been so much better just to march her off into supporting character limbo so that some future creative team could bring her back if they wanted.
While I am happy to see a resolution to the AIM plot, I did like their status as an Iron Man foe and the attempt to give them their own identity now that MODOK was dead. At the time, I did hope we'd see AIM return as an ongoing threat.
However, this book is going to reach a creative high point very quickly.
While acknowledging Denny O'Neil's writing talents, his run on Iron Man was not something I really liked. He had some good ideas and good stories, but overall I found most of it to be a depressing mush that eliminated much of what made Iron Man a great character.
Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2014 6:53 PM
According to Michelinie in Amazing Heroes #104, he also dumped Bethany Cabe because he didn't like the way she was changed during his absence.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 3, 2014 4:34 PM
That's strange- how was Bethany changed in his absence? All that happened was her husband was killed.
Posted by: Michael | May 3, 2014 4:44 PM
I didn't care for the Iron Man book after O'Neil left, except the Busiek run (which had the benefit of nostalgia). I felt IM was just doing the same thing over and over from this point to the present day...minus mentioning Teen Tony, which were probably the worst comic books ever written.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | May 3, 2014 6:33 PM
Reading this in real time, I was impressed with 215, especially the final panel. But then came 216 and Cly betraying them and it was just such a let-down because she was that rare interesting female character not being drawn to be completely hot (though she died before someone like Jim Lee could come along). Too bad they couldn't be split up to get separate grades.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 11, 2015 10:43 AM
Am I missing something? Yorgon is shown on the satellite and all the AIM guys die, then he's back for the next issue? Wtf?
Posted by: OrangeDuke | January 13, 2018 2:24 PM
The problem is the art- that's not supposed to be Yorgon on the satellite- just a generic AIM goon.
Posted by: Michael | January 13, 2018 7:26 PM
"And that's how you turn a rare rational female character into an insane suicidal vengeance-driven witch in 6 easy scans."
Almost as bad, almost as lazily misogynistic, as what DC did to Jean Loring. Almost.
Posted by: Oliver | January 14, 2018 6:42 AM
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