Iron Man #168-170
Issue(s): Iron Man #168, Iron Man #169, Iron Man #170
Stark is drunk and misinterprets the visit as an attack. After a destructive battle, Machine Man realizes that things aren't going as planned and he takes off.
Stark doesn't even remember the incident...
...and he leaves the office to stay at his Manhattan penthouse.
After checking in, Stark gets in to the Iron Man costume and flies around Manhattan, smashing liquor advertisements.
There's a brief cameo by Daredevil, who makes the assumption that Iron Man must have a reason for what he's doing, even if he looks "out of control".
Later, back at Stark Industries after getting slightly more sober, Stark learns that Obadiah Stane is maneuvering to take over Stark Industries...
...which hasn't been doing well due to Tony's neglect. Alcoholic or not, Stark ought to be firing his VPs for letting things get this bad just because the CEO hasn't been directly involved.
As if all this wasn't enough, Stark Industries is attacked by a C-list villain called Magma (obviously not the one who will soon join the New Mutants).
Stark dons the Iron Man armor again but is too drunk to pilot it correctly.
James Rhodes (recently returned to America after recovering from his injuries), puts on the suit.
It turns out that he's suspected for some time that Stark was really Iron Man.
With help from a scientist named Morley Erwin...
...Rhodes figures out the basics of the suit and is able to fight off Magma.
Obadiah Stane sends one of his Knights to help Iron Man, because he wants to preserve the property for himself.
After the fight is over, Stark tells Rhodey to keep the suit. Rhodey calls the Wasp over the phone to quit the Avengers.
It felt a little rushed when O'Neil rather quickly got Stark back to being an alcoholic, since we hadn't seen Tony having much of a problem avoiding drinking since Iron Man #128. But now that we're here, O'Neil is doing a good job using the situation to create some good stories.
And of course James Rhodes becoming Iron Man is a major turning point and was a huge deal at the time. Even though we know it will be eventually reversed, it does lead to Rhodey becoming War Machine so this arc leaves a permanent and significant mark.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tony Stark has basically been drunk since the end of issue #167, so he shouldn't be making any generic guest appearances in other books at this time. At the end of this arc, James Rhodes, not Tony Stark, is Iron Man. The phone call to the Wasp at the end of this arc is shown from Iron Man's perspective here and from the Wasp's perspective in Avengers #231, so issue #170 occurs concurrently with that issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
Good stuff. Rhodey was Iron Man for the next 2-3 years, I think.
Posted by: Buffy | November 27, 2012 1:10 PM
Man that Luke McDonnell art was such a turn-off to me, then and now. I think it's the primary reason O'Neill's IM run isn't as well-remembered as the two Michelinie/Layton runs it's sandwiched between. McDonnell was no John Romita Jr or Mark Bright for sure.
Posted by: Robert | November 22, 2013 3:43 PM
buffy, your right...I'll always remember Rhodes.
Posted by: bakerben80 | December 1, 2013 6:24 AM
Different strokes and all that, it seems. I lke Luke McDonnell's pencils far, far better than Bob Layton's.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 10, 2014 7:22 PM
The interesting thing was that this happened at the same time that John Stewart took over from Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. Stewart was a character, of course, created by Denny O'Neill on his epic run in the early 70's with Neal Adams. Both characters (Rhodes and Stewart) would make way for the return of the original at #200, but both would continue to be major characters and stay on as heroes.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 9, 2015 1:23 PM
Good story, marred by really stupid villains. Must be O'Neill.
Posted by: MindlessOne | April 28, 2017 8:57 AM
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