Iron Man #244
Issue(s): Iron Man #244
The main story here has Tony getting out of the hospital after the shot that paralyzed him. He's finding that his girlfriends aren't interested in hanging out with him (although Rae LaCoste changes her mind) and he's acting like he's got something to prove in the boardroom.
While he's adjusting to life in a wheelchair, Jonas Hale of Roxxon decides that Stark is vulnerable...
...and he sends the Fixer out to attack Stark's interests. Tony asks Rhodey to wear the Iron Man suit to take care of things, but Rhodey says that he's got too much history with the suit "not all of it good".
So instead, Rhodey gets Clayton Wilson, formerly Force and now an employee of Stark's under a pseudonym, to wear the Stealth Armor. And the two of them try to stop the Fixer, but don't really have much luck.
The turnaround comes when Stark meets a guy in an iron lung and realizes as bad as he has it, people have it worse.
So (after a long flashback that i'll get to) he gets back to work in the lab and creates a new Iron Man suit for himself that he can wear despite his crippling injury.
And then he flies out to win the fight against the Fixer during his next attack.
You can see the colorists getting confused by the two Iron Mans in some of the scans above. The colorists were rushed on this issue as well.
The idea here is obviously to get Tony Stark back in a status quo similar to his early issues. I'm glad they didn't go the route of bringing his heart problems back yet again. But the fact that this is happening at the same time Thor is merging with a human identity again really reinforces the perception that Marvel under Tom DeFalco is regressing. To be fair, unlike Thor, this book still feels modern. But in concept, we're going back to making Iron Man a hero with feet of clay again. The Iron Man book had evolved past that, and there was still plenty of real character drama to be had, from Stark's corporate problems to his attitude and his alcoholism and his womanizing. Real character issues. There was no need to push things back to the Silver Age pseudo-characterization. That was great for its day, but is it a necessary part of Tony's character that he's helpless without his armor?
As for the extended flashback, it establishes that Tony had a fiancee named Joanna. When he came back from Southeast Asia with his injuries and the need to always wear the Iron Man suit, he initially tried to keep his distance from her.
But he eventually tells her...
...and she convinces him to use the Iron Man suit to be a super-hero.
However, she still wants to settle down and have a family, and knows that he needs to be a hero, so she leaves him. It's actually a flashback within a flashback, with the other part taking place more recently, while Tony was in his current suit, when he meets her again and finds that she does have a family.
I'm pretty wary of inserting stuff like this into someone's history. He had a fiancee and we never heard anything of it before? I always pictured him as a playboy.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBrie Daniels, Fixer, Force, Garrison Quint, Iron Man, Jonas Hale, Mrs. Arbogast, Mrs. Fruitbagel, Rae LaCoste, War Machine
This retcon never bothered me as much as Claremont's retcon that Jean had mental problems as a kid- I always found it easier to picture pre-Tales of Suspense Tony as having a fiancee than pre-X-Men 1 Jean as having mental problems.
Posted by: Michael | October 7, 2014 7:44 PM
Maybe the fact that he had a fiance who dumped him led to his "playboy" status. He never wanted to go through the emotional pain of falling in love with someone again.
Posted by: clyde | October 7, 2014 7:59 PM
Editorial interference with this issue caused Michelinie to quit the book. Higher-ups at Marvel demanded that editor Howard Mackie cut 4 pages(why, and what was on those 4 pages wasn't revealed when this was reported in Amazing Heroes #172) which Mackie resisted, but by the time he gave in there was no time to notify the creators. Michelinie quit, but stuck around until #250 to finish his storyline.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2015 11:26 AM
The answer to his problems wasnt a new suit of armour. The answer should have been "MURDER CHAIR"!
Posted by: kveto | March 31, 2015 4:04 PM
I know he's talking about Morton, but I chuckle when the guy tells Tony Stark he can't stand that "Downey character."
Posted by: Michael Cheyne | March 9, 2017 12:58 PM
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