Iron Man #152-153
Issue(s): Iron Man #152, Iron Man #153
This is the second time recently that Iron Man's used a specialized suit of armor (the first being the Space Armor from Iron Man #142-144). It's a cool idea that makes sense. I'd be suspicious if they were making Iron Man toys at the time this was being published that they were only introducing the armors so they could have more toys to sell, but that's obviously not the case (although all of these armors were eventually made into toys in support of the Iron Man cartoon show in the 1990s).
Bethany was captured by East Germans after finding out that her husband was still alive and in their possession. He's a former West German ambassador, so they want to interrogate him, but he's such a drug addict that they can't manipulate him properly. They think they can use her as leverage. The twist is that Cabe has infiltrated the East German base with a team of mercenaries. She has let herself get captured as part of the plan, and Tony showing up (disguised as an East German army official) ruins it.
Cabe reveals that she knows Stark is Iron Man and tells him to get into his armor already.
The East Germans have a super-powered ally of their own: a newly re-powered Living Laser.
Iron Man's armor is beaten up pretty badly before he's able to defeat him.
The Laser users his powers to create holograms in addition to more traditional laser beam attacks.
In the end, the Laser's powers overload, causing him to explode into a burst of light.
In the aftermath, now that Bethany knows that her husband is alive, whatever his state, she says she can't be with Tony any more. So they break up.
Always a good book with this team.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tony and Bethany break up this issue, so this should take place before Avengers #212 where Tony is shown waking up from a sleep-over with a new girlfriend and hitting the Dr. Pepper pretty hard.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAlexander Van Tilburg, Bethany Cabe, Iron Man, Living Laser, War Machine
Good use of expanding a villain's powers naturally. Usually the hero realizes he can use his power in additional ways, but not so much for villains. Considering LL was originally a scientist, he should be able to use his powers in myriad ways.
LL was originally an Avenger's villain, but like many of the early solo villains, he was severely downgraded as a threat and needed to be teamed with others to tackle them. Still, it is good to see him as a legitimate foe to Iron Man instead of seeing him go down the same path Power Man did in getting weaker and weaker.
I like the specialty armors as well. It is a concept that is easy to abuse (by making them too powerful) or ridiculous by having too many of them, but it is a good way to show how the armor's powers might increase over time (since they are essentially prototypes). They also are a good way to push Iron Man into situations he normally can't by giving him additional capabilities, but only at the cost of sacrificing some other attribute he usually enjoys.
Posted by: Chris | January 16, 2014 10:15 PM
It's interesting that two of the three Nefaria stooges from Avengers #164-6 -- Josten/Power Man and the Living Laser -- end up with power problems as a result of the story. Perhaps Whirlwind was unaffected because his power is "natural" due to his mutation?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 2, 2015 9:50 AM
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