Characters Appearing: General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Hawkeye, Hugh Jones, Iron Man, John Gamelin, Jonas Hale, Morgan Stark, Pepper Potts, Saboteur, Senator Byrd, Simon Kreiger
Iron Man: The Iron Age #1
Issue(s): Iron Man: The Iron Age #1
Review/plot: This prodigious parable from Pepper Pott's perspective (pleasantly portrayed prior and post Iron Man's pro-generation) (Sorry! I've read too many Silver Age books in a row!) is, like other continuity inserts by Busiek, Stern, and Waid, a welcome enhancement to the lacking-in-character-development Silver Age.
This tells the story of how Tony goes from being a spoiled irresponsible rich kid to the successful head of Stark Industries. It also does a great job of saving Pepper from 1960s stereotyping - she effectively runs Stark Industries and also illustrates to Tony how his business decisions (or lack thereof) have an effect on the lives of his employees.
Also, the head of Republic Oil and Natural Gas hire 'the Saboteur' to try and ruin SI enough to prepare it for a take-over...
...but Iron Man stops her.
Aside from a wedgie-shot of the female villain the Saboteur, the art is pretty nice, too, with cute facial expressions for Pepper.
Good stuff. More like this, please.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: By the end of this issue, Iron Man is still in his bulky gold armor. The Avengers have formed. Pepper is Tony's executive secretary but Happy Hogan is not yet hired. Pepper and Happy are both introduced in the same issue (Tales of Suspense #45, but Pepper was already an employee of Stark at that point, so i'm placing this before her first published appearance. One thing to note about the references below: in many cases the footnote is just telling us when they first appeared in the original stories; it doesn't mean that this issue takes place only after all of those references have occurred.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
I just noticed: you say in the chronological placement that Happy Hogan is not yet hired, yet this story is placed after Tales of Suspense #45.
Posted by: Berend | March 29, 2015 8:15 PM
Thanks Berend. I've pushed it back.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 30, 2015 7:33 AM
The Pepper Potts shot matches up well with the Kirby/ Heck versions, pretty freckles and all. The Saboteur's costume however is very 90s-style, and clashes with the early Marvel Age super-hero fashion sense. The Iron Man armor is totally off-model, and his head appears to be way too small.
I don't understand exactly why, but later artists often seemed to have a lot of trouble rendering the "Golden Avenger" armor accurately.
Posted by: James Holt | August 7, 2016 12:19 AM
Saboteur returned later in HEROES FOR HIRE vol. 2 #6-8, where she worked with the Grim Reaper and Man-Ape, which I rather liked. The art was by the late Al Rio.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | August 8, 2016 10:47 AM
Having seen Al Rio's pornographic Ana the Jungle Girl, I'm surprised that the Saboteur is wearing what as much as she is.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 24, 2016 10:22 PM
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