Characters Appearing: Abe Zimmer, Bethany Cabe, Captain America, Felix Alvarez, Iron Man, Mandarin, Marcy Pearson, Mrs. Arbogast, Nick Fury, Raven, Veronica Benning, VORTEX, War Machine
Iron Man #306
Issue(s): Iron Man #306
This is a text heavy downtime issue with Tony Stark repurposing his company after the lessons learned from the previous issues.
As noted in the comments, it turns out that the Skrulls were laying the groundwork for Secret Invasion much longer than we realized.
Stark also blows up his cliffside home and begins rebuilding something new.
And Marcy Pearson is arrested after admitting to her crimes, despite her blaming it all on the mysterious voice on the phone.
And the Mandarin wakes up.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is a conclusion to the "Crash and Burn" storyline, but it's not a direct continuation from last issue.
Takes place circa War Machine #4 (per the Reference below)
A cameo of Captain America shows him reacting to Stark's changes.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I wonder if Marvel ever proposed an Iron Man version of the Punisher War Journal - Starkives and it's just memos and policy documents from Stark Industries/Enterprises.
Posted by: Mark Black | March 19, 2018 6:28 PM
The presentation style with blocks of text framed as documents reminds me of The Iron Manual, which Marvel published in '93, though as you'd expect that was about technical aspects rather than business ones.
Looking at it again, I notice that the regular series doesn't go as far in its vision of everyday Stark technology. In Iron Manual, Tony explains how his office doesn't need traditional keyboards or telephones (and can beam Mannheim Steamroller directly to his ears), while this issue shows both those things.
Posted by: Mortificator | March 19, 2018 8:54 PM
There are some people who wish that copy of "Weekly News World" had turned out to be true about, oh, 14 years after this was published, and extending at least two years or so prior to that.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 19, 2018 10:37 PM
Y'know what? I bet after SECRET INVASION the Weekly World News on Earth-616 won a Pulitzer Prize.
Posted by: Gary Himes | March 19, 2018 10:48 PM
Usually "90s comic" is a pejorative based in genre criticism, but this issue is more an artifact of 1990s politics than 90s comics. It could only have been written in that post-Cold War moment when one of the dominant political/media narratives was that "the West had won," and now it was a matter of creating suprasovereign entities from corporations, NGOs, and multilateral political bodies. In retrospect, this is built on a lot of assumptions about the world that weren't true. Even at the time there were plenty of people arguing against this vision, but this was for a lot of people in power.
Iron Man is arguably *the* book in which to tackle this, and Kaminski's response is to imagine how a corporation run by a superhero might work, ethically and otherwise. The interesting thing, to me, is that the idea of the "ethical corporation" here is an entirely self-regulating one: it's as if government simply doesn't exist where multinationals are concerned, so Stark's idea is to create a transparent corporation that is in some way accountable to the public. And it's not clear how the public could respond if they didn't like what Stark International was doing, especially when it's CEO has a billion-dollar personal warsuit.
Unfortunately, this stuff never really gets explored fully, in part because of the 1990s demand for Moar Crossover Action and Young (or Anti-Hero Replacements, and in part because superhero comics just don't handle these things well in general.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | March 20, 2018 6:28 AM
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | March 20, 2018 8:15 AM
Toffler's 'Third Wave' was pretty successful in the US, but in the People's Republic of China it had an almost-universal level of response and praise:
Despite Toffler's left-leaning proclivities, he was also a major influence on Newt Gingrich:
Posted by: cullen | March 20, 2018 9:11 AM
When I first read this issue, I managed to miss a page because I thought one of the "document" pages was an ad. Anyway, if Iron Man had continued to explore the ideas in this issue it could have been one of the more interesting comics of its era.
Posted by: Stevie G | March 20, 2018 12:10 PM
It truly does sound like something they could have generated fine stories off of, Omar, had they stuck with it and been very clever. Now I feel a bit like I lost something...
Posted by: BU | March 20, 2018 6:04 PM
Comments are now closed.
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