Iron Man #164-167
Issue(s): Iron Man #164, Iron Man #165, Iron Man #166, Iron Man #167
Meanwhile, Tony Stark is out on a date with the woman Indries he rescued last issue. She learns that Tony is an alcoholic. Tony is then called away from his date by his security chief Vic Martinelli, who has traced the Knight attack back to Scotland.
Indries decides to accompany Tony and Rhodey.
In Scotland, Tony faces the Bishop...
...as well as the Rook...
...who runs a Scottish castle full of death traps.
As Iron Man (with minimal explanation as to how Iron Man wound up in Scotland as well), both the Bishop and the Rook are defeated, but Rhodey is poisoned in the Rook's castle.
While Tony waits for the doctors he had flown in to examine Rhodey, he waits at a local Scottish pub, which he finds isn't a good place for an alcoholic.
In fact it's clear that all of the recent stress in his life is getting to him, and Indries doesn't seem to be helping.
Tony decides to head back to the US, leaving Rhodey in Scotland to be tended by doctors.
Back in the US, the Melter has been (pretty hilariously) waiting at Stark International.
Luckily, Iron Man's most recent suit was damaged in the Rook's castle...
...so he winds up using an older suit to fight the Melter, and the Melter's rays aren't configured to deal with the old suit's composition.
The Melter is defeated in a few panels.
Afterwards, Vic Martinelli informs Stark that the name of the man who's been orchestrating all of the Chessmen attacks is Obadiah Stane, a rival munitions CEO.
He wants to bring down Stark so that he can create an alliance of (hypnotized) CEOs to impose order on the world.
Iron Man is able to fight his way through Stane's defenses...
...but Stane points out that Iron Man won't kill him, and Iron Man doesn't have any proof of his misdeeds, so Iron Man can't do anything about him. This is pretty similar to a conundrum Iron Man was faced with when dealing with Justin Hammer in earlier stories. Iron Man leaves frustrated, and wanting a drink.
He's able to resist for a while, but then Stane's final play is made: Indries is in fact his "queen" piece (although Stark doesn't know it), and she breaks up with him, driving him to drink.
O'Neil's earliest issues on Iron Man were a bit clumsy, but he seems to have found his pacing on this arc. It's also helped by Luke McDonnell's art, which isn't anything fancy but is quite competent.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tony Stark falls off the wagon this issue, so he shouldn't have any generic appearances in other books after this arc and for quite some time. Takes place between his Avengers appearances in Avengers #227-228.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showIndries Moomji, Iron Man, Melter, Mrs. Arbogast, Obadiah Stane, Pepper Potts, Vic Martinelli, War Machine
fnord, I'm going to be super-pedantic here, but... Pepper's unnamed daughter appears in 165, and she'll reappear along with her equally unnamed brother in 199, before they both disappear down the memory hole, so she rates a "character appearing."
Posted by: Andrew | May 17, 2017 9:23 PM
I've made exceptions for characters that are important enough to merit a tag even if they never got a name (e.g. Baby Bucky's Mom) but generally if a character doesn't have a name i don't like to tag them.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 25, 2017 11:30 AM
Makes sense. It's really weird how those kids just disappeared. They weren't even mentioned when Happy was on his deathbed. And of course now Pepper looks 20 years old again.
Posted by: Andrew | May 25, 2017 6:17 PM
I've just been rereading Kurt Busiek's Iron Man run, and Pepper's kids are explained away in issue 4. They were foster kids Pepper and Happy were going to adopt, but when Happy lost his job, they couldn't support them, so the adoption agency took them back. This apparently happened while Tony was away during the whole Crossing/Onslaught fiasco, so they couldn't go to him for help. Even with the sliding timescale, they must have had those kids for a long time before they lost them...
Posted by: Andrew | July 6, 2017 3:24 PM
I am too disheartened to learn that Pepper and Happy had these two disposable, nameless, and tagless foster children, whom they were unable to support, and whom they were forced to abandon back to children and family services. Does Gwenneth Paltrow know about this?;)
Posted by: Holt | June 27, 2018 1:54 PM
It's a sad life in general for characters no longer featured in the comic. You might end up on heroin like Karen Page, or age at normal rates like the Blonde Phantom, or you might be brought back for the first time in years to provide a meaningful death in a crossover.
Certainly things don't go well for Pepper & Happy - after Happy loses his job & their foster children, they eventually divorce (supporting characters are the only Marvel characters who can get a divorce), then re-marry, then Pepper has a miscarriage, & then Happy dies (I guess two divorces would be pushing it), I think to make way for Pepper to come back to the comic full-time, & date Tony again for any fans coming from the Cinematic Universe.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 27, 2018 5:50 PM
Happy died in Iron Man 14, which came out in December of 2006. The Iron movie came out in April of 2008. I don't think Marvel knew the details of the film at the time the decision was made to kill Happy.
Posted by: Michael | June 27, 2018 8:19 PM
You're probably right, but it does seem fortunate to get Happy out the way ahead of time while no-one was expecting it.
And it is possible - Favreau announced in June 2006 that Pepper Potts would be in the film, and I could imagine Quesada wanting the comic to reflect how the film was going to be.
Also, Bendis, Millar, Quesada, Brevoort, Alonso, and a few others met with Favreau before filming started, saw the script & made recommendations etc. That meeting would have been at some point between April '06 when Favreau was hired & March '07 when filming started.
Anyway, just my conspiracy theory! Could be wrong.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 27, 2018 9:02 PM
They probably didn't tell Paltrow about any of this. Wish I could get me one of those Ultimates reboots. I got a few changes I'd like to make.
Posted by: Holt | June 27, 2018 10:00 PM
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