Iron Man #235-236
Issue(s): Iron Man #235, Iron Man #236
He's able to counteract the time limit on his powers by coating his victims in a special resin. James Rhodes' girlfriend and Stark PR exec Marcy Pearson winds up getting turned to stone, but eventually Iron Man figures out what's going on and chases the Gargoyle away.
The Gargoyle still manages to escape with a lot of money, so it's far from a total loss for him.
The Grey Gargoyle's actual name is Paul Pierre Duval - we saw that the FBI has that name on file in Avengers #271. In this issue, he's using the "pseudonym" of Paul St. Pierre. I have to imagine that if Tony Stark had tried to search for that name on the Avengers' computer systems, the Grey Gargoyle's profile would have come up. So i wonder if this shows that Stark has been locked out after getting kicked off the West Coast Avengers. Instead he has to go to Abe Zimmer's computers, and his computers suck.
Instead, he figures it out by taking a sample of one of the statues. And he takes the sample right from the poor lady's foot! Ow! That must have stung when she became human again.
Breaking through the polymer so that the statue could be exposed to air is what turned her human again, so Stark (more gently!) scratches the rest of the statues to free the people, and has his doctors examine them for free to make sure there are no long term health problems.
Also in these issues we see the relationship between Tony Stark and Kathleen Dare getting weird.
Tony is simultaneously dating Kathleen and Rae LaCoste.
Stark talks about her like he's an alcoholic and she's a drink.
And she doesn't like Rhodey asking about her.
It starts to get really weird when Stark's limo's tire's get slashed while he's on a date with Rae (and that's some outfit she's wearing).
I never saw the movie Fatal Attraction but it's interesting to see the movie being referenced both here and in X-Factor (with Infectia) at this time.
Rhodey learns that Marcy Pearson wasn't raised by a "family o' brothers". She was raised by white folks.
Tony gets a housekeeper named Mrs. Fruitbagel. I'm sure someone should be offended; i'm just not sure who.
It's obvious at this point that we're not going to see any repercussions from Armor Wars (my speculation on the Avengers' computers aside), but this is a solid enough story. It's pretty obvious to long term fans that St. Pierre is the Gargoyle but we can suspend our disbelief for the sake of the story.
And if nothing else, we get the "taken for granite" pun.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAbe Zimmer, Garrison Quint, Grey Gargoyle, Iron Man, Kathleen Dare, Marcy Pearson, Mrs. Arbogast, Mrs. Fruitbagel, Rae LaCoste, War Machine
Interesting that Iron Man has been fighting old Thor villains recently. I wonder if it is a subtle way of indicating his new "power level".
I don't have these issues right now, but if I remember right when I read them real time, I was disappointed the villains (and general public) weren't making more of a deal that this is not the "real" Iron Man since he died at end of Armor Wars. It would be interesting if villains saw the "second" Iron Man as a different personality than the first, or simply have Tony deal with that people treated the new IM differently because he wasn't the original Golden Avenger. It would have done more to keep the post-Stark Wars vibe while preserving the essentials for the fans.
Posted by: Chris | July 13, 2014 8:12 PM
Yeah, the idea that this is supposed to be a new Iron Man isn't at all a part of this story. There's actually a fun scene when Iron Man first confronts the Grey Gargoyle and the villain thinks something to the effect of ah, crap, it's all over now. But i definitely agree that if the Gargoyle instead thought hey, maybe i can take this new Iron Man, that would have been better for maintaining the status quo change at the end of Armor Wars.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 13, 2014 8:58 PM
I have to wonder if people really bought that story. After all, they never knew who was in it before. Did it really mean anything when they were told that there's a "new" person in it now? In a universe with LMDs and clones, why does it matter who's in a suit of armor?
Posted by: clyde | July 13, 2014 9:06 PM
Well, the problem is that the original would be wanted for a number of crimes due to the Stark/Armor Wars event. And i think a villain would assume that someone new in the armor would be less experienced and easier to handle.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 13, 2014 9:30 PM
The idea of someone new wearing the suit isn't too far fetched, since just a few months ago, Marvel time, it really was a different guy in the suit, namely Rhodey. There we're probably a lot of people, villains and civilians, who thought there'd been something off about IM since the fall of Stark International and who probably felt reassured by the idea that a professional new guy is now in the armor. And it's the armor itself that would scare a crook like the Gargoyle: that thing is dangerous whoever is wearing it.
On a meta level, here too my tastes are a little different from Fnord's: how much moping about Armor Wars would anyone have wanted to read? Where exactly could an ongoing plot about pretending to be a new guy have gone? These things would be massive distractions from the stories Michelinie and Layton want to tell, which are quite openly just picking up from where their last run left off. That's what a lot of readers wanted, too.
I realize no one is asking for a Fake New Iron Man Saga to be the book's main focus, and there are some angels, like the feud with Cap, that even I think should have received more attention. But it would have been a mistake for Michelinie and Layton to get tangled up in what was a deck-clearing and sales-boosting exercise.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 13, 2014 10:07 PM
Totally insignificant (and probably unintentional), but the "Randall Pearson" in the above scan of course made me think of "Randall Pierce", the false identity Tony concocted for the "dead" Iron Man. Kinda wish they'd gone with a different name for this new character.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 13, 2014 10:10 PM
Walter, it could have been interesting to show how Tony's actions changed him. Tony had to metaphorically become Hammer by the end of Armor Wars. That has to leave some effect. Is Tony now more ruthless?
Posted by: Michael | July 13, 2014 10:24 PM
No way would you find a kid that young in 1988 who knew who Prince Valiant was. You probably couldn't have paid them to even read the strip.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 13, 2014 10:41 PM
Michael, I agree that could have been an interesting direction in the hands of a writer like Denny O'Neill. But we had a dark, troubled IM under O'Neill's pen for several years before this: the abortive "political" direction of the last O'Neill issues even suggests a direct precursor to Armor Wars.
But Michelinie and Layton aren't the kind of creators for that direction, and after the O'Neill years, I suspect many readers were eager for a return to a less, frankly "Daredevil-ish" approach to a hero whose glamor is a big part of his appeal. I don't think the two styles mix easily: you could have a good Iron Man, the ruthless, conscience-troubled Avenger, or you could have the bright-n-shiny IM of Michelinie and Layton. I think this was the right time for bright-n-shiny: for the troubled hero and grim-and-gritty, there's Nocenti's Daredevil.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 13, 2014 10:51 PM
I agree that a case can be made for bright-n-shiny, but if that's the case, then they shouldn't have had Tony cross so many ethical lines in Armor Wars to start with. And like you said, the readers felt that the scene in issue 238 with Cap was a copout.
Posted by: Michael | July 13, 2014 11:05 PM
I think this can be a case where Michelenie and Layton can do "bright and shiny" while still acknowledging the supposed (but false) change in continuity. They can still tell the stories they want to tell, and still have Stark act however they like. I would have just liked to see some acknowledgment of the other characters - villains, supporting cast, minor characters - that this is a "new" Iron Man and seeing how they react to him. It's really only a minor change in scripting.
Where the post Armor Wars story really fails isn't in Iron Man though, it's in the other titles where IM appears as a guest star and few, if any, react to the idea that this is supposed to be a new Iron Man. John Byrne, to his credit, is the only writer who even bothers when he takes over the West Coast Avengers about a year from now.
Posted by: Chris | July 14, 2014 12:17 AM
I like the shift in the Grey Gargoyles motivation here. He's always been interested in immortality. But here he moves from Physical immortality to pursuing the cultural immortality of a great artist.
Posted by: kveto from prague | July 14, 2014 2:27 PM
I want to draw attention to the almost Mark Beachum level Iron Butt fetishism in that final scan.
Posted by: Alex F | September 1, 2014 3:35 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|