Iron Man #226
Issue(s): Iron Man #226
The Raiders do manage to give Iron Man a little trouble...
...but not too much.
Iron Man lets that third guy fall for a while, but ultimately prevents him from dying.
The Raiders were working for Edwin Cord, who isn't happy about Iron Man's interference.
What's a little surprising is that Iron Man is already causing a backlash. So far he hasn't done anything that seems out of bounds for super-heroes fighting super-villains, but Stark Enterprises is dealing with some fallout...
...and the West Coast Avengers want to know what's going on too.
Again, not sure what he's done wrong yet. Stilt-Man probably calls excessive violence every time a super-hero beats him up, and the Controller has a smart play with that religious freedoms bit, but the Avengers would realize that it's a transparent ploy.
In any event, if the reaction wasn't merited yet, it will be by the end of this issue. Because Abe Zimmer calls Stark to tell him that the list they pulled last issue was incomplete by one name, and that gets Stark wondering who else might have stolen his armor. He pulls up a list of armored characters from the West Coast Avengers computer.
Interesting to see Professor (Anthony) Power included on this list, since he was on the list of confirmed thefts last issue. Unless there's a different "Professor" out there with Stark tech.
Stark says that "facts and logic" eliminate all but one name on the list: Stingray.
If Stingray is a deep plant, the implications go beyond the fact that he's stolen Stark's armor designs, since the East Coast Avengers are using his Hydrobase (at least as a storage hangar for the Quinjets, depending on when this takes place in relationship to Avengers #286-290 when they move their headquarters there). Iron Man decides to confront him directly but peacefully.
When that doesn't work out, though, Iron Man persists and gives pursuit. I like how Bright depicts the differences between Stingray and Iron Man. Stingray is graceful and quick in the water. Iron Man uses brute force.
Stingray eventually tries to hide in an undersea crevice, but Iron Man threatens to collapse it, forcing Stingray out and into a trap.
But it turns out that Stingray was not using Stark tech.
Stingray is a government agent, so attacking him is obviously not without repercussions. Stark responds by "firing" Iron Man.
This story is now heating up as we transition from Iron Man on a tear against super-villains to now going after super-heroes. I do question why he's going for questionable thefts when there are some names of definite villains left on the confirmed list (Shockwave, if we go by the list in Iron Man #225, and also the Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man, as we'll see soon). But the point of this story is to put Iron Man into a morally grey area, so i guess there's no point in having him dwell on the list of villains. The inconsistency does bother me a bit, but i'd concede to being a little anal about it. In the meantime, the story continues to deliver on its goals of packing the issues with armor-fighting action (nicely done by Bright and Layton, with lots of fun twists in the battles) while pushing Tony Stark further into conflict with the law.
This wouldn't be a Michelinie/Layton Iron Man book if we didn't also have rich people doing glamorous things, so here's Tony and his current girlfriend Rae LaCoste playing some tennis.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between West Coast Avengers #28-29, and that's borne out by a reaction Iron Man has to the subject of vendettas in WCA #29. It's worth noting that this means that Iron Man continues to work with the Avengers through these Armor Wars. I am placing Avengers #286-290 after this issue to avoid the question of where the East Coasters are during Iron Man's confrontation with Stingray (Diane Arliss is said to be on the mainland shopping but there's no mention of the Avengers).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: The Armor Wars TPB
Inbound References (3): showAbe Zimmer, Bertram Hindel, Edwin Cord, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Marcy Pearson, Mockingbird, Mrs. Arbogast, Rae LaCoste, Raider-1, Raider-2, Raider-3, Stingray, Tigra, War Machine, Wonder Man
I forgot the Stingray issue came up in only the second issue of the story. Yes, that is what I was talking about with disliking how quickly people get on Iron Man's case so soon.
I know I'm ragging on this when I love this story line a whole lot. It just sort of bothers me. 'Taking the Avengers name too literally' well excuse Iron Man for doing that thing called being a superhero! He hasn't done anything really bad yet.
Now attacking Stingray I can understand getting people worked up.
Posted by: david banes | May 7, 2014 2:24 PM
Mark Bright's a great artist but he sure can't draw people playing tennis realistically.
Posted by: kveto from prague | May 7, 2014 2:56 PM
I think it's reasonable to assume Professor Power just moved from the definite to maybe list as it was revised, and maybe Shockwave was taken off altogether. Power's relationship to the syolen tech, and possibly the question of missing user, gets addressed in the 1991 or 1992 "Assault on Armor City" crossover in that year's IM annual and related books' annuals.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 7, 2014 4:57 PM
I shouldn't read these reviews without reading the actual issues so when exactly did the did people like Hawkeye and Steve learn that Stark is Iron Man?
Can't tell you how it was such a breathe of fresh air when Thor and Stark learned each others' identities some time in the 70s. Even better when they poked fun at Iron Man being Stark's bodyguard in the movie and closing with 'I am Iron Man.'
Posted by: david banes | May 7, 2014 5:06 PM
And actually, if you're referring to the list from p. 9 of issue 225, it was only a list of the West Coast Avengers' data on "anyone who could possibly" be using the stolen tech. Doom was pictured along with Shockwave and Professor Power, and he doesn't turn out to have been using Stark tech. The list of possibilities we see here doesn't contradict what we saw last issue, it's just a later list of unconfirmed users.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 7, 2014 5:07 PM
@David: I believe Hawkeye learned it either in WCA (regular series) #1 or in some of the late #290s issues of Iron Man.
Captain America learned it during Shooter's second run in Avengers. Issue #215, or perhaps #216. See http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/avengers_215-216.shtml
Posted by: Luis Dantas | May 7, 2014 5:56 PM
I'm referring to the list on page 29 (or if you're looking at my scans, the one with Spymaster's face). We see "Shockw" partially obscured in the list, under Raiders.
Hawkeye seemed to know that Tony Stark was Iron Man since prior to the original West Coast Avengers #4, since it was a shock to him when Rhodey removed his helmet and it was someone else.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 7, 2014 6:39 PM
Fnord, Clint first found out Tony was Iron Man in Iron Man 193:
Posted by: Michael | May 7, 2014 8:21 PM
I've added the relevant scans to the #193 entry. Thanks, Michael.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 7, 2014 9:08 PM
This is fast progression of Iron Man's vigilante persona, but I think it is easy to overlook and forgive. I see several main points. First, Iron Man is definitely being proactive; he's doing some pre-emptive strikes which is noticeable. Second, he is obviously doing something to the armored criminals. Third, for the people who know him, they are probably seeing an intensity to Stark they haven't seen before. I think that is enough to get people to start talking.
This issue really showed this was something big. Not only did the hero make a major mistake (accusing Stingray), but Stark firing Iron Man was a big change. I was hooked. IM became my favorite title after this.
Posted by: Chris | May 7, 2014 10:01 PM
This was my first issue of Iron Man after a year's absence from comics. I'd been really sick for a couple of months and told my mom to pick me up a few comics for when I returned home. Iron Man #226 was among them and given the fact that I love Stingray, it remains my favorite from that bunch. Excellent script and art, plus an awesome chase after Stingray which humbles Tony quite fittingly.
Posted by: Clutch | May 8, 2014 8:38 AM
Wasn't Frogman dead at this point?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 9, 2014 6:19 PM
Could be referring to the "Misfit" Frog-Man, son of the Leap Frog. Or else it's why "facts and logic" eliminated him. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | May 9, 2014 6:41 PM
Comments are now closed.
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