Iron Man #229
Issue(s): Iron Man #229
Iron Man finally levels with the group, and Hawkeye says he didn't want to involve them since his actions have made him a criminal. Hawkeye says that even if they aren't directly involved, they're still getting flack due to the fact that he's a member of the team, and he tells Tony that his vendetta has to stop. Tony doesn't respond, and instead puts his helmet back on and flies away.
Tony is also finally getting some pushback from Jim Rhodes, in part because the vendetta is affecting Rhodey's relationship with his girlfriend, Stark's PR Exec Marcy Pearson. Tony says there's just one more matter to take care of: the Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man.
The Soviets are also aware that they are likely targets, and they've summoned the two armored warriors to the Kremlin.
Crimson Dynamo remains loyal to the Soviets, although it turns out that he's looking forward to retirement in one week. The Gremlin remains independent and suspicious of them.
It's not said why the Gremlin's teammates in the Soviet Super-Soldiers wouldn't also be involved in any defense of their country against Iron Man. In any event, the Gremlin refuses to help, and instead flies off to a secret lab. However, it turns out the Soviets actually know the location of that base, and have it bugged, and they're expecting the Gremlin to refuse to help. They're actually using him as bait, so that when Iron Man shows up for the Titanium Man, the Crimson Dynamo can ambush the survivor.
Since for this mission Iron Man is invading a foreign country, he leaves Rhodey behind and uses a giant rocket pack to travel across the world in his stealth armor.
The stealth armor allows him to bypass the Gremlin's automated defenses. But the Gremlin is able to hold Iron Man off and get into his armor. The Crimson Dynamo, meanwhile, is attacked by the Gremlin's defenses.
Tony's stealth suit is weaker than his regular armor, so he has to fight his two armored foes with, well, stealth. He's actually able to take the Crimson Dynamo out quickly...
...and then use his stealth capabilities against Titanium Man.
The Titanium Man manages to destroy the negator pack that Iron Man was going to use to burn out any Stark tech in his armor. Which is too bad. Because i'm not sure if the Gremlin would have been using any Stark tech. He's a scientific genius in his own right and possibly too independent and suspicious to take tech from the Soviets. So this might have been another Stingray moment. Instead, it's much, much worse.
Iron Man gets caught in a bear hug by Titanium Man, and starts burning his jet rockets at full blast to escape.
And - fun science fact - once titanium is ignited, it can't be put out, even if a human being is inside it.
When Iron Man gets back to the States, he tells the West Coast Avengers that he doesn't apologize for what he's done, because it was "self-defense".
They kick him off the team.
In a set-up for the conclusion of this story, we see Senator Boyton talking with Edwin Cord about Project Firepower.
The original Titanium Man was your typical Commie Villain, but this one was something different. The Gremlin started off as a bad guy, perhaps somewhat sympathetic due to the fact that his mutation caused him and his father to be treated poorly by the Soviets. And then Bill Mantlo had the good idea of having him become the next Titanium Man and join the Soviet Super-Soldiers, all of whom were generally shown to be good guys (most recently by Roger Stern in X-Men vs. the Avengers, which had the Gremlin's first mission with the team). After that development by Mantlo and Stern, it's kind of surprising to see the character getting killed here. We can always have another Titanium Man, of course, but not one with the Gremlin's background. It's also extra callous of Stark to dismiss the death of a good guy as self-defense (not that killing a villain would have been ok for an Avenger!), especially when that self-defense was only necessary because Stark flew half-way across the world to confront him. It works perfectly for the purposes of this story - as intended, Iron Man crosses two lines here: invading another country and killing someone - but the long term implications are difficult. I'm looking at this story in isolation and saying it's great. Which it is. Dark and serious moral issues to deal with combined with nice fight sequences and cool technology. The question is going to be where the book goes from here after Armor Wars is "done".
The politics of the Avengers are interesting, too; the guy is an acknowledged criminal at this point but the most they do is take away his Avengers ID card. We'll see something similar in Captain America #341; these guys give each other a lot of leeway.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after West Coast Avengers #31, when the Whackos hear from the East Coast team that Iron Man recently fought with Captain America and agree that they'll confront Iron Man.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: The Armor Wars TPB
Inbound References (6): show
Fnord, I don't see how Tony is any more callous in this issue than he was in Captain America 341. In that issue, he didn't care that a JAILBREAK happened because of his actions or worry about the people that were hurt. Admittedly,Tony's actions were arguably worse because it looked like Reagan and Gorby were negotiating an end to the Cold War at the time the story came out and Tony risked that for his own purposes but one of the villains that escaped from the Vault could have killed hundreds as well (and maybe did, if Vibro was the one that got away).
Posted by: Michael | May 18, 2014 7:35 PM
"The Gremlin remains independent and suspicious of them." Did you mean Kremlin?
Posted by: JSfan | May 19, 2014 3:39 AM
I think I stand correct.
Posted by: JSfan | May 19, 2014 3:41 AM
A drag Crimson Typhoon got taken down so quickly but at least the Titanium Man got a good fight.
I tried making this post during a break but I kep getting a picture of a comic and an error.
Posted by: david banes | May 19, 2014 3:44 AM
David, I think it's some Anti-Spam prevention thing.
Posted by: JSfan | May 19, 2014 4:06 AM
@Michael, i agree that accidentally causing the jailbreak and not doing anything to clean it up is part of Iron Man's turn to a morally grey as well, as i've commented. As you've noted on the Cap entries, though, Michelinie & Layton may not have realized the extent of the problem it would cause. Their agreement with Gruenwald might have been that Iron Man would cause the jailbreak and Cap would deal with the consequences. And in Cap #341 Tony Starts to express regret over that but Cap throws his shield at him and doesn't let him finish. It's also worth noting that Cap isn't rallying the Avengers to go after the two escaped villains, either. He may not be morally responsible but i think that's a sign that it's more of a genre convention that they're allowed to escape, and gets to the unintended longterm consequences that i mention here. I think Iron Man killing quasi-good guy Gremlin here and showing little remorse is a more direct and intended move since it's all happening in the Michelinie & Layton issues and that's why i put it in a different category. But it's all hair splitting; the purpose of this story is to put Stark down a darker path and i agree the breakout is part of that.
@JSfan, i did mean Gremlin! ;-)
@David, sorry about the error. JSfan points to the comment from me about that. Hopefully you're not having any more problems.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 19, 2014 7:57 AM
I really need to double-double check my posts as I meant that I stand corrected.
Posted by: JSfan | May 19, 2014 9:36 AM
This is one of my favorite Iron Man issues ever. Excellent characterizations throughout. This begins the Crimson Dynamo's turn from heel to face which culminates with his becoming another in a line of former Iron Man villains turned allies.
I became a fan of the Dmitri Bukharin Dynamo starting with this story. All the poor guy wanted to do was retire and yet, he was still willing to die for his country at the very end. It was a very moving scene and nicely done by the entire creative team.
I felt worse for the Gremlin. He had a nastier disposition but wasn't a true villain in the classic sense. He deserved better than getting killed off, but it did help mark the line which Tony had yet to cross and kicked the conclusion to Armor Wars (it should have been titled "Armor Hunt") into high gear.
Posted by: Clutch | May 19, 2014 10:06 AM
A great storyline and a great issue, though disappointing that they killed off the Gremlin who really could have been better used, though of course it makes all of this that much more tragic.
The relationship between Tony and Steve is played out here and in Cap, but the relationship between Tony and Clint has actually been closer lately and it gets played out quite well as well, with Clint feeling especially betrayed.
But, again with the question of who knows that Tony is Iron Man. The IM writers should know better. In the issue of WCA that precedes this they make a point that Moon Knight doesn't know that Tony is in the suit, and yet, here, Moon Knight is standing there with everyone else staring at Tony with the helmet off. Make up your mind Marvel!
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 31, 2015 11:28 AM
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