Iron Man #248
Issue(s): Iron Man #248
At a giant media event, Tony Stark is about to turn over control of his company to Marcy Pearson when he gets a page from Abe Zimmer. Stark knows that Zimmer has been researching cures for his paralysis, so Stark immediately cancels the press conference and heads over to Zimmer, leaving poor Marcy hanging.
Zimmer has found that a company on the East Coast, called Cordco, potentially has a solution to Stark's paralysis. Cordco was once a Stark subsidiary, but it's currently an independent company. So Tony and James Rhodes fly over to the East Coast. On the way there, Rhodey has to browbeat Tony into taking some time out to stop some airplane hijackers.
When the Cordco folks refuse to test out their risky experimental technology on Stark, Tony re-buys the company.
But the Cordco guys still won't implant their experimental chip.
But luckily being a wealthy industrialists means that you have lots of contacts, so Rhodey is able to bring in someone who is willing to do the surgery. It's Dr. Erica Sondheim, a previous member of the Iron Man cast.
So by the end of this issue, guess who's bought himself a personal cure for paralysis?
Also in this issue we have the preliminary hearing for the Kathy Dare trial. Bertram Hindel, the once earnest lawyer who was fired by Stark for not doing a good enough job lying about Tony's involvement in Armor Wars, is now reduced to having his client outright lie in court.
That is countered with the testimony of an array of character witnesses, all here to tell us what a great guy Tony is.
And that proves really unnecessary, since the compelling evidence is Kathy's history of mental illness.
Kathy is sent to a mental hospital until such time as she's able to stand trial.
Tony doesn't show any reflection for having slept with and lead on a mentally ill young woman who everyone kept telling him was obviously ill. But why should he? He just got through hearing from everyone about how great he was!
The bigger cheat in this issue is of course the paralysis cure. The Marvel universe's "world outside your window" theme being what it is, this is a cure that Tony can never share with the general populace. So it just comes across seeming really unfair. I am not sure what David Michelinie & Bob Layton's plans really were. We are nearing the end of their joint run (we've got the Dr. Doom / Acts of Vengeance storyline coming up, and then a couple of scattered issues solely by Layton). Maybe if they had stayed on the title, they would have explored the unfairness further or introduced complications. I'm sure the original idea of having Tony paralyzed except as Iron Man was a call back to Tony's early heart condition problems without rehashing that exact scenario yet again, and i can see the value in that. But it's a hard genie to put back in the bottle without seeming cheap, as this resolution does. Did someone realize the paralysis wasn't going to work long term and so this solution was hastily conceived, or was this the plan all along?
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: "Days pass, a week, more" as Tony recovers from surgery.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
I know Layton's original plans for Armor Wars II were going to address the "paralysis cure", but I don't know if this was to be the set up, or if this was considered only after the fact (regardless, Layton's departure ended his original idea). At the time, as a fan I was really upset by this cheat. The entire storyline of the paralysis was poorly done (the shooting was OK).
If they were just going to run a paralysis storyline for several months and move on, it would have been better to just have him get shot, be paralyzed, but have the damage be something that physical therapy might help given enough time. It would have allowed them to do everything they wanted, but not need to resort to this kind of gimmick.
Posted by: Chris | October 26, 2014 9:07 PM
I agree that Tony was reckless in sleeping with a woman that he hardly knew and that Rhodey didn't trust but I don't think that it's fair to say that he took advantage of her or led her on. Tony was upfront with her that he didn't want anything more than casual sex.
Posted by: Michael | October 27, 2014 2:22 PM
Yep. When I saw he was cured I thought what a selfish git how could he not share this wonder cure with the rest of the world? I agree that physical therapy would have been a better answer. What a cop out
Posted by: JSfan | October 27, 2014 2:38 PM
Given how many people in comics are "miraculously" healed from paralysis (Oh hi, Professor X), I don't think Iron Man needs to distribute the cure in any case.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 27, 2014 2:46 PM
We'll get an explanation in issue 251 that the cure is not cost-effective for general use yet.
Posted by: Michael | October 27, 2014 3:24 PM
Not cost effective? So for the rich only? Arg, between half of Spider-man's problems stemming from not being able to afford medicine for his aunt and Tony Stark being able to buy cures that aren't for the unwashed masses, comics can be depressing when it comes to health care.
they were actually making TS sympathetic by crippling him. He was no longer the rich guy that everything goes right for. Interesting for the 6 or so issues he was disabled for.
Tony Stark sure is hard to like.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 27, 2014 5:41 PM
So Abe Zimmer runs a tapeworm viruns in the worldwide computer network looking for the key phrases "spinal surgery", "nerve damage", etc. Good thing there is google now.
Posted by: Ryan | February 16, 2015 1:44 AM
IMO, since Tony is super-rich and used to getting whatever he wants, it's perfectly in-character for him to just think of himself in getting a cure, and not "the bigger picture".
Posted by: clyde | July 19, 2015 10:49 AM
"Tony doesn't show any reflection for having slept with and lead on a mentally ill young woman who everyone kept telling him was obviously ill."
That might be the case if this story was taking place "now" but back then, I'm not sure if there were any expectation for him to show "reflection" for his relationship with Kathy Dare. (The inspiration for this plotline, Fatal Attraction, the "problem" with Dan was attributed to his fooling around, with Alex's mental instability viewed as "punishment" for said adultery) In any case at the time, I don't think the creators of this storyline say this as any type of exploitation of a genuinely mentally ill person as much as overcooked version of "Witch is lyin'" tropes applied to clingy jealous women ("because chicks, amirite?") character tropes. And even with the mental hosiptal verdict, the panels still portray her more as an over-the-top spoiled brat then a mentally unbalanced person that deserves any type of sympathetic interpretation.
I also don't think Tony's implementation of a paralysis cure invalidates the "world outside your window" theme. Indeed I find the idea of a wealthy person utilizing a cure predominantly for himself more "realistic". Tony Stark, although generally altruistic, has never been above enjoying his privileged status (as seen when he simply buys out the company to FORCE the makers of an experimental regimen to use it.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | July 19, 2015 2:00 PM
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