Characters Appearing: Black Widow, Iron Man
Iron Man #276-277
Issue(s): Iron Man #276, Iron Man #277
...it turns out that the Black Widow is really the sleeper, acting on old subconscious programming (and don't worry about the chauvinism that the Widow accuses Tony of; the Widow herself was assuming that Oktober was a man in the build-up to this story).
Iron Man stops her, and a Russian official that knew about the program but didn't do anything about it is arrested.
That's, uh, it. Bye John Byrne!
Oh just one heads up: Iron Man sends the nukes that Black Widow launches into space, with the expectation that they'll orbit the sun and we won't see them again for twenty years. If we're going by publication date, we're already past that point. So just don't be surprised if some very angry aliens from the far side of the sun show up, is all i'm saying.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tony says at the start of this that he doesn't dare to become Iron Man, since the risk would be too great to himself and others. That implies that he hasn't been Iron Man since the last arc. Obviously the Black Widow is able to convince him to become Iron Man for this story, and that makes it possible for him to appear as Iron Man in other books after this arc as well. Tony still has the neuro-net that allows him to appear as Tony Stark as well.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I owned Iron Man #276 as a kid; it always sort of irritated me in that most of the story was a recap and just Iron Man dodging missiles.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | October 6, 2015 3:55 PM
What is going on with Iron Man's head in that last panel?
Posted by: Bob | October 6, 2015 8:37 PM
Funny about the nukes thing. I'm reading Matt Fraction's 2000s IM run, and he hurls a modified (and still "alive"?) MODOK "into orbit," though he questions whether he'll actually remain there. Would be nice to see some future consequences to Stark's pattern of casually creating artificial-satellites-of-WMD.
Posted by: cullen | October 6, 2015 9:41 PM
At the start of issue 276, Black Widow makes it clear to Tony that she's known he was Iron Man for quite some time. This clears up the confusion caused by West Coast Avengers Annual 1, where Hawkeye calls Iron Man "Tony" in front of Natasha but it's not clear if Natasha knows Tony's identity.
Posted by: Michael | October 6, 2015 9:46 PM
This was such an incredibly abrupt ending to John Byrne's run. For a long time I wondered how he had planned to resolve the not-inconsiderable problem of Stark only having a short time left to live. But now I see from Michael's comment above that Byrne claims he DID resolve it, which is clearly not the case, since it would be a HUGE subplot during Len Kaminski's run.
So what was up with Byrne's writing at this time? He appeared to think that his stories were much more coherent than they actually were. In Byrne's own words, he argues that DeWitt's motivation for revenge "WAS STATED CLEALY IN THE STORY," when it certainly was not. Over in Namor the Sub-Mariner the subplot with the Marrs Twins was a huge mess, with most readers uncertain if Phoebe was going crazy, or if that actually Desmond's ghost, or if it something else entirely. And then this extremely rushed ending, with Byrne leaving Stark's health problems unresolved, but afterwards insisting to readers that he had tied everything up.
How many times over the years has Byrne left a title mid-storyline anyway? It seems to happen quite often!
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 22, 2015 1:48 PM
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