Iron Man #237
Issue(s): Iron Man #237
Stark's outrage is because he's claiming that Iron Man wasn't even a Stark employee when he invaded the Vault. But we know that Stark is Iron Man. But if there's any intended irony, it's not hinted at in Stark's thought bubbles or pointed out by Rhodey.
After Betram is fired, Stark is visited by some members of the Justice Department. They've got a problem in a space lab, and will agree to drop all charges if Stark will help them out. Stark negotiates, holding out until they also agree to pressure any "major" civilian cases to be dropped. So that's it for any legal problems for Stark due to Armor Wars. It's not the last we'll see of Bertram, though. He'll return as an opportunistic defense attorney angling for a book deal.
Now, as for the problem in the space lab, which is called the Koontz. According to this story, the Strategic Defensive Initiative (SDI, or "Star Wars") turns out to be sham to hide a different project. Interestingly, an attempted launch of the Star Wars program was a plot point in Iron Man annual #9 and it was later seen in operation in Fantastic Four #309-310. But here, it was just a "smoke screen" to hide the development of a lab bred genetically modified organism, the purpose of which was to destroy enemy satellites in space. But it's gone out of control and killed all the scientists.
The Koontz creature has moved from the space lab to the nearest object in space, which happens to be Stark's old space station, which he abandoned when AIM infected it with a deadly bacteria, but which he still used once in Iron Man #230 to distribute the computer virus that prevents people from duplicating his tech designs. So he travels there and encounters the creature.
Considering the fact that his armor is the only thing keeping him from the vacuum of space and the Koontz satellite killer damages it in their first scuffle, Iron Man gives the creature the slip and considers just going home to tell the government what he's found. But the creature turns out to be intelligent and it has slashed up Iron Man's space pods that let him travel in space. He also learns that the creature has the ability to adapt and evolve, so while he's initially able to keep it away by using a strobe light from his chest beam, in the next encounter it's grown lids over its eyes.
During the battles, the space station takes a lot more damage. "More damage to my wounded dream", thinks Iron Man. So that's the second effect on the larger series. Stark's space station is now completely wrecked.
In the end, Iron Man defeats it by reactivating the life support on the space station, which wakes up AIM's bacteria, which kills the Koontz creature. The twist is that as it's dying, it speaks, something that only would have been possible with the life support activated.
But as Iron Man notes, the creature had already killed people and it even says that was its "job", so killing it was likely the only solution. Iron Man notes that the creature itself wasn't immoral, but the people that created it, who were acting on "petty fears and global angers".
Reminds me of someone who attacks government installations for using equipment that he sold them, and then fires his lawyer to avoid paying the damages.
This was a fun, simple, Alien style space horror story.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I really enjoyed this issue. I was surprised by the reveal at the end.
Stark was definitely a jerk to his lawyer. It was obvious to me that Stark was taking his frustration out on him. It would have been better if some other supporting character like Rhodey had noted it and disapproved to serve as the reader's proxy.
Posted by: Chris | August 8, 2014 10:12 PM
Dean Koontz reference.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 9, 2014 3:37 PM
In a way Stark's unjustified firing of Bertram feels even more egregious than some of his actions during "Armor Wars." Bertram was genuinely attempting to do his job under the very difficult circumstances that were created by Stark, but his work was still not good enough to meet muster and he was sacked without any good reason.
Stark's awful treatment of his lawyer in this issue is a good demonstration that for all his good intentions he is capable of some major failings, that he has a real elitist attitude, and that he suffers some major denial concerning all of that, believing that all his actions are justified. It's not surprising that a person like Stark ended up making a bitter enemy out of Kierson DeWitt without even realizing that the man existed.
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 26, 2016 9:28 PM
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