Iron Man Legacy #6-11
Issue(s): Iron Man Legacy #6, Iron Man Legacy #7, Iron Man Legacy #8, Iron Man Legacy #9, Iron Man Legacy #10, Iron Man Legacy #11
Issues #1-5 of this series take place in the present day and feature Iron Man facing off against Dr. Doom in a Bosnia/Serbia type conflict. The remaining issues of the series are covered here and feature an unrelated story called "Industrial Revolution" that deals with the period where Tony Stark had recovered from the worst of his second battle with alcoholism but hadn't returned to being Iron Man yet.
In the 2000s, two Illuminati style groups were introduced and retconned to having existed for decades prior to publication date. The first is, obviously, the Illuminati, a gathering of the leaders of the prominent super-groups of the Marvel Universe, roughly speaking. The second is the Pride, a group of six super-criminal couples that operated out of Los Angeles...
...and kept that area mostly free of super-heroes and villains while secretly controlling it for their own purposes (and also raising children that would grow up to become the Runaways). The Pride's "purpose" ultimately was helping three demonic giants called the Gibborim...
...return to the world and remake it in their image, but in the meantime they got to enjoy power and wealth, and they also had a deal with the Gibborim that six of their number would survive the coming of the Gibborim. The Pride (or most of them) intended to give the survival passes to their children.
So with retcons that had implications measured in decades, it made sense to have some stories that showed what the groups were doing at various times. The Illuminati got much more attention on that front. Aside from flashbacks in the Runaways series, i believe this is the only series that pays significant attention to the Pride. But the nice thing about the Pride retcon was that it dovetailed with the fact that the majority of Marvel stories took place in New York. So it was easy to see that the Pride could indeed have been operating all along without any super-heroes noticing.
Which isn't to say there weren't Los Angeles based super-heroes. The Champions, Black Goliath, Spider-Woman, and the West Coast Avengers all operated out of the Los Angeles area at various times. And it might have been nice to see how the Pride handled it (or chose not to) when those characters moved in (some of this might even be covered in post Brian Vaughan & Joss Whedon Runaways books that i haven't read). For example, it might have been cool to reveal that the Locksmith and Ticktock from Spider-Woman #50 were actually, even unbeknownst to them, working for the Pride, since they were essentially clearing all the super-folk from Los Angeles (i mention this because the Hangman, who was one of those super-folk, appears in this story). However, this story doesn't really deal with any of that, but it does at least give us a sample of the Pride operating at a point in the past.
However, as is to be expected of a continuity insert written circa 2010, the story just can't fit anywhere in Marvel's history. Editor Ralph Macchio, who was the Marvel editor with the most seniority in 2010 (he was an editor at the time this series was meant to take place in, although not of the Iron Man book), was probably our best bet for getting this right, and i consider writer Fred Van Lente to be one of the good ones in terms of respecting or at least acknowledging Marvel history. And they do give us anchor point for this story by specifically referencing Iron Man #188, which shows that some thought was put into where this story should take place. But they failed (or didn't care) to catch a pretty obvious-to-spot blunder regarding the Serpent Society, and there are complications around the Illuminati's appearance as well. More on that below.
Judged as a standalone story, this series has its good points and its bad points. It plays off of a new-material flashback that must take place between panels of Iron Man #173 showing Stark getting a lecture from Obadiah Stane about the fact that Stark made his name on the back of his father's fortune and so, to use Stane's metaphor, he is like a lion bred in captivity, likely to be eaten by a gazelle now that he's been released into the wild.
So a lot of this series is devoted to Stark proving to himself that he can build a company from scratch. He actually doesn't - he tries to use existing business contacts, he gets seed money from Mr. Fantastic, and he plays off the popularity of Iron Man in Japan to get business - but that's besides the point. Because this same theme is why Stark was involved in the Circuits Maximus business circa the cited Iron Man #188 as well. So the story is essentially redundant.
That said, it tells that story reasonably well, and in this case it's the Pride and not Stane that is trying to sabotage his start-up, so at least there's a new conflict and a fun mix-up where Stark assumes it's really Stane that's coming after him. But it unfortunately ends poorly, with Stark essentially making a not-quite-Faustian bargain with the Pride.
The story begins with Dr. Strange faking a battle with Tiboro and taking a gratuitous swipe at Dr. Doom in order to fake out Wong...
...so that he can host an Illuminati session (which is kept secret thanks to "the inscrutable ward of Zhered-Na").
The other Illuminati are belatedly reacting to the Stane takeover of Stark International and deciding whether or not to get involved.
One thing that was well researched is Professor X's awful taste in costumes. He's also said to have been spirited out of Majestrix Lilandra's flagship -- "and her bed". The "and her bed" seems very unlike Xavier. More on the behind-the-scenes appearance of Lilandra here below.
Ultimately the Illuminati decide not to do anything about it thanks to an argument from Namor saying that it would be an insult to Stark's nobility if they interfered. Black Bolt seems to agree, but who can tell?
We switch to Tony Stark, who is in Los Angeles and not looking so good.
We do know that Stark has beaten his alcoholism for the second time at this point, but he is still described as looking and smelling disheveled, something that i guess the Erwins at Circuits Maximus were too polite to comment on. Those golf bags come from the aforementioned flashback; Stane allowed him to take them along with him on the grounds that they were his father's, not the company's. Since the flashback had to take place before Stark got clean again, it's hard to imagine how he managed to hang on to them and not sell them for booze (or to save the woman who died in Iron Man #182), but there they are. And when he finds a mentally ill homeless person being attacked by the Hangman...
...we learn that they're secretly housing a spare suit of Iron Man armor.
Much is made of the fact that the Hangman is a lame villain (who would have last been seen in that Locksmith/Ticktock story), and Stark defeats him despite being in an older version of his Iron Man armor with no rocket fuel for flight.
The homeless man is Tyree Robinson, and Stark takes him to the home of his sister, Tamara. And after dropping him off, Iron Man gets into an altercation with some of the Pride's enforcers, and while he drives them off, he's injured and winds up back at Tamara's house as well, where she learns that he's Iron Man.
That gets the attention of the Pride, of course, and they send Pride member Alice Hayes, a mutant telepath, to confirm that the Hangman was defeated by Stark as well. She also has the Hangman hang himself in prison, since his act of attempting to lynch a black man offended the sensibilities of Pride member Catherine Wilder.
It's also confirmed in that scene that the Pride allow the few lame LA based super-villains to remain in the area to keep up appearances.
Meanwhile, Stark learns the difficulties of dealing with the problems of mental illness. He finds Tyree's array of pills impossible to manage and sees that Tyree, even though he's currently become lucid, is unable to keep track of them either.
One really great thing about this series is how mental illness is treated. I complained a lot the treatment of Debra Whitman, didn't love the appearance of the Schizoid Man, and tried to hold my tongue with the dumb satires in Howard the Duck and Rocket Raccoon. It's in part a reflection of the time period the books were written, but i wanted to give kudos to a series that handles it really well.
Looking at Tyree's inability to keep up with his pills, Tony Stark only sees an engineering problem, so he works with Tyree, who happens to be a good engineer himself when he isn't sick, to design a device that will keep track of what pills need to be taken and dispense and log them at the appropriate times. And he sees in that the foundation for the company that will prove Stane wrong. He also intends to help the people of the Robinson's neighborhood, called Imperio, by taking over an abandoned factory and hiring everyone in the neighborhood to manufacture the product.
While at a junkyard collecting the parts for a prototype, Stark runs into the Serpent Society, hired by the Pride to kill Tony Stark. The Pride wrongfully assumes that Stark is in the area to take them down.
Despite only having brought his chestplate to the junkyard, Stark manages to take out the Serpent Society fairly easily, in part because they bicker with each other more than they fight with him.
A reminder about the aggressiveness of the sliding timescale: one of the parts Stark picks up in the junkyard is a video game console "with an attached accelerometer that detects movement in three dimensions". The Wii came out in 2006, only four years before this series started. As far as i know, there wasn't anything matching that description prior to that; certainly nothing common enough to be easily found in a junkyard.
Back to the story. Stark assumes that the Serpent Society was sent by Stane, so he gives a message for "baldy" to Sidewinder. The Pride take this as confirmation that he's aware of the them, since their leader Geoffrey Wilder is bald. Some of the Pride believe that Stark and Stane are working together: "This is just the kind of long con Obadiah Stane is known for.".
After ensuring that none of Stark's contacts in the local area will invest in his factory, their next move is to send some ordinary non-powered gunman to disrupt an attempt by Stark to raise funds by having all of the people of Imperio pitch in $20.
That's when the current Iron Man, James Rhodes, shows up to find out what the heck Tony Stark has been up to. This is where we get the reference to Iron Man #188; it's said that Stark was supposed to just be going out for spare parts and he never returned. Iron Man then flies out to the East coast to get Mr. Fantastic to pitch in the funds, which he sends by way of a HERBIE.
Thanks to the Pride, Stark still doesn't have the rights to use the abandoned factory, but he and the people of Imperio stage a takeover.
Meanwhile, the best "Meanwhile" ever.
As far as i'm concerned, there's pretty much never a time where you can't stop whatever you're doing and switch to a "Meanwhile, in Tokyo" to show two giant monsters fighting (of course it doesn't have to be a two-page spread. I've shrunk it down.). Especially when those monsters are Tim Boo Bah and Grottu. It's said that Grottu was released from the Tokyo Giant Monster Museum and enlarged to battle Tim Boo Bah when he grew out of the Microverse. "It seemed like a good idea at the time." Iron Man (James Rhodes), confused for "The Mighty Atom", arrives to stop the monsters, and in the aftermath of his victory, he gets the people of Tokyo to invest in Stark's new factory.
The Pride try to send in the police to drive out the people of Imperio, but the police decide that the bad publicity would be worse than crossing them. So the Pride instead kidnap Tyree and Tamara (by this point Stark is romantically involved with Tamara).
Geoffrey Wilder sends a hologram of himself to Stark to inform him of the kidnapping, and this is when Stark learns he's dealing with someone other than Obadiah Stane.
Wilder also mentions the Gibborim, and that soundes mystical enough that Stark thinks to call Dr. Strange before going to rescue, so after fighting solo for a bit...
...and getting himself captured (note that Stark isn't aware that the Pride intend to save their children instead of themselves, and also that Stark knows the Steins from an exo-skeleton conference in Geneva)...
...Stark is backed-up by the rest of the Illuminati.
The Illuminati/Pride battle has its moments. Mr. Fantastic identifies a weapon used by the Stein as a Universal Weapon (like Ronan's hammer, although Reed makes reference to one he saw "on the third planet of the Kygnari system in the Negative Zone" which doesn't describe anything we've ever seen).
A few pages later we see that Reed has taken control of the device.
Unfortunately, the storytelling is atrocious, so we don't get to see any of what Reed actually does. In fact, the previous panel Reed appears in just has him generically repelling some bullets.
The Illuminati have a pretty easy time with the Pride, especially once they decide to switch opponents instead of matching up sorcerer vs. sorcerer, etc.. It's funny seeing Namor wondering why he got called in for this.
Throughout the fight, we see future Runaway Alex Wilder oblivious to it all.
After the fight, the less reputable members of the Illuminati disappear, leaving Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man to talk to the police. But Stark realizes that the Pride gave up too easily, and unlike the rest of the Illuminati, Stark realizes that they actually control Los Angeles.
So he prepares for their immediate release from prison by leaving a message for them. He also decides to leave Los Angeles, giving ownership of the factory over to Tyree and Tamara, promising Wilder that he'll keep the Pride's secret as long as they leave the factory alone.
It had to be this way, of course, in order to preserve continuity; otherwise Stark should have continued to attack the Pride and then the Runaways would never exist (although it might have been better to let Stark be as blind to how deep the Pride's control went). But it unfortunately means that Stark is letting these criminals run an entire city. I'm assuming Stark never got details from Dr. Strange about the Gibborim or else he never would have allowed this. Also makes you wonder how far he went with this. When he was a member of the West Coast Avengers, did he discourage investigations into certain types of crimes? Or did the Pride ever suspect that the Avengers were in infringing on them and consider a retaliatory attack on the factory?
To be fair, the Avengers ignore the Kingpin on the East coast, so it's not out of the question that Stark would not try to get involved in taking down an intricate West coast crime organization.
The story ends on what i think is a high point, although a depressing one. Two weeks later, Iron Man returns to the area to find that Tyree has stopped taking his pills again.
I'm assuming based on the dialect, that's James Rhodes, not Tony Stark, in the armor.
Tyree's relapse shows that all the engineering genius in the world can't fight mental illness alone, because it ignores the human factor. As Tyree says, the pills "kill the colors", and many patients do stop taking their pills because it makes them feel dull and dead to the world. Tyree still owns a share of the factory, and that money is going into a trust, but it ends with him pushing a cart in a junkyard.
It's unfortunate that this story is bogged down with continuity problems because that basic story, which could have been told in a present-day Iron Man story, is pretty good. Of course it had to end like this, because Iron Man can't have cured mental illness in the Marvel universe without breaking the "world outside your window" aspect. But the inevitability of that failure (and it's not a total failure; Stark's device still works and presumably makes things better for a lot of people) actually works to its advantage here, so that we have a more realistic ending.
A few words on the illuminatis in this series. It should be noted that the super-hero Illuminati are really a poor Illuminati group. They mainly seem to be more like a social club, or at best an independent secret super-team. I can't think of any examples of the Illuminati actually manipulating their respective teams/societies so much as taking matters into their own hands (attacking the Skrull empire, securing the Infinity Gems, etc.). And they actually (in this series) call themselves the Illuminati, which i'm really hoping is just Tony Stark being sarcastic.
Only bad guys, or probably wannabe aspiring bad guys, would actually pick a name for themselves that represents a secret society of anti-democratic manipulators. The Illuminati's lack of Illuminati-ness is also reflected in the fact that after beating up the Pride, they assume that the police carting them away will be the end of it, not realizing that the Pride actually own the police.
The Pride, on the other hand, are much more sophisticated. They've chosen a better name for themselves, and they actually do manipulate and control the politicians of Los Angeles. They're clearly not infallible since they handled Stark's visit to Los Angeles exactly the wrong way, and they also bicker constantly among themselves.
But surely this foray into solving problems with their super-powers reinforced their normal behavior of keeping themselves hidden.
As for the third "society" in this story, the Serpent Society, it's too bad that their history wasn't researched better, because they are scripted as if they have been together for some time (see the SHIELD reference below) and are already in dire financial straights. Sidewinder doesn't seem at all concerned about taking on what should be considered the risky assignment of assassinating Tony Stark. And the fact that Sidewinder personally goes on the mission seems unwise, although we could pretend it's due to the fact that he considers getting an ongoing contract from the Pride especially important. They are used basic, generic villains for hire in this story. The team also bickers a lot more than i'd like to see.
All in all, these guys are more like a Serpent Squad, and thinking of them that way or as a proto-version of the Society that fell apart helps resolve some continuity concerns (although in that case the composition of the team is still unlikely and steps pretty heavily on the recruiting scenes leading up to the introduction of the Society in Captain America; more on that below).
I also just hate the way Sidewinder is drawn. His Skrull/Skull-like mask is pretty distinctive looking, and the tight face mask used here makes him not look like the character he's supposed to be.
Generally the art in this series is not very good. Steven Kurth's images, even facial expressions, are flat and static. I can't really even understand this picture of Iron Man skating here (also don't love that Stark would knock the skates; he actually uses them constantly). It looks like he should or perhaps already has fallen on his ass.
And here's a group shot of the Fantastic Four.
Philippe Briones, the artist for the last two issues, has a much cleaner style. There's unfortunately an overreliance on splash panels which makes for a pretty uninteresting Illuminati/Pride battle (most of those scans of the battle that i posted above are actually one or two page spreads that i've shrunk down).
Overall this is certainly readable, and for 2010 it's a better than average story. When i grade a story, i try to ignore the continuity errors, but it's harder to ignore when there are problems with characterization that result from the story just not being written to fit well in the period it's supposed to take place. This isn't Tony Stark circa 1984/Iron Man #188. And considering that who it's supposed to be, it's a bit of a failure. But there are still elements to this story that are pretty good, and a less continuity minded person might find it enjoyable.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: To start with, some nuisances. At the point that this was intended to be set, Tony Stark was bearded and withdrawn, but he wasn't supposed to be at a point where he could be mistaken for a homeless man. The art makes no attempt to distinguish Tony's look in the Stane flashback, which would have been when he was still actively drinking, from the remainder of the issue and there are comments like "you smell like the men's room in a distillery". Nothing we can do about that, though, so as i said above we'll just have to chalk that up to different people's perceptions. Similarly, this was a period where Stark was actively refusing to wear the Iron Man costume since he was afraid he was as addicted to being Iron Man as he was alcohol. He slowly begins tinkering with what becomes a replica of his earliest costume, and finally develops the new red & white armor circa Iron Man #200. He was explicitly not wearing other Iron Man armor in the meantime. You could argue that what he did here was out of necessity, but he's very casual about it. At least the "two weeks later" scene, when Iron Man returns to find Tyree in the junkyard, seems to have Rhodey, not Stark, in the suit.
So both of the above can be written off as inconsistent writing but not strictly continuity errors. For those, we can look at the Serpent Society and the Illuminati.
Tony Stark got sober after Iron Man #182, which was a tie-in with the first Secret Wars, and he traveled west with Rhodey and the Erwins circa Iron Man #185. Tony Stark shaves his beard in Iron Man #196. Iron Man #197 is a tie-in with Secret Wars II #1. Captain America #308 is also a tie-in with Secret Wars II #1, and at that point the Serpent Society has not yet formed. It doesn't form until Captain America #310. In #308 Sidewinder is still with the Serpent Squad that we've seen him with since his first appearance: Anaconda (who also appears here), Black Mamba, and Death Adder. Captain America #309 shows the Squad recruiting the members that will round out the society; it includes what is certainly meant to be a first meeting of Cobra and Sidewinder. Diamondback and Rattler first appear (by publication date) in Cap #310. Puff Adder's first published appearance isn't until Captain America #337.
Tony Stark tells Sidewinder that SHIELD has a file on "you and your Serpent Society as thick as my thigh" and is even aware that Sidewinder's teleportation technology is based on the Nth Generator used by the Brand corporation (and he's able to easily counteract it).
Nonetheless, at a minimum, this has to take place before the Serpent Society's first published appearance, because it has to take place before Iron Man #196, which is before Secret Wars II and therefore before Cap #310. As mentioned above, it works better if you think of the Serpents as really being a Squad instead of a Society, with the thought that Sidewinder was anticipating it growing into his bigger vision. But the team members are still hard to explain, especially Cobra.
Now the Illuminati. The real problem is Professor X, or more specifically Lilandra, who should be considered behind the scenes for this arc. She left for Shi'ar space in Uncanny X-Men #177, which was before the first Secret Wars. In New Mutants #13 we see her speaking to Xavier via hologram, and we're told that from this point out she's out of range for any further communication. She returns in Uncanny X-Men #200, which is well after the start of Secret Wars II. Throughout all that time, she is with the Starjammers, working to take her throne back from Deathbird. So for her to appear here, we have to assume that she's returned to Earth for a brief conjugal visit. Lilandra is also said to be using a "flagship" and royal skiff of the Shi'ar, but we should ignore any implication that she's actually the ruler of the Shi'ar at this point and just assume she picked up or still had this skiff (even though we never saw it while she was with the Starjammers).
So basically i've identified a number of problems and then concluded that we have no choice but to ignore them all. The footnote says this story is "localized" at Iron Man #188, and so that's about where we'll put it. I have Iron Man #188, then West Coast Avengers #2, then Iron Man annual #7, and then this. The middle two stories feature Rhodey Iron Man but not Stark, and it may be that the first part of this series takes place concurrently with those issues, explaining why it takes a little while for Rhodey to show up looking for Stark.
For point of reference, this puts us right before the start of the Surtwar/Casket of Ancient Winters saga, and not long after the wedding of Black Bolt and Medusa (which is good, because Namor refers to Medusa as Black Bolt's wife).
Luckily, i have the Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner mini-series placed a little after Iron Man #188, so there's a window here where this can fit while Namor is still the ruler of Atlantis.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAlex Wilder, Alice Hayes, Anaconda, Black Bolt, Catherine Wilder, Cobra, Dale Yorkes, Diamondback, Dr. Strange, Frank Dean, Gene Hayes, Geoffrey Wilder, Grottu, Hangman, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Janet Stein, Leslie Dean, Lilandra, Professor X, Puff Adder, Rattler, Robert Minoru, She-Hulk, Sidewinder, Stacey Yorkes, Sub-Mariner, Tim Boo Ba, Tina Minoru, Victor Stein, War Machine, Wong
The problem with Tony agreeing to turn a blind eye to the Pride is that in issue 10, Tony tells the Pride that he knows they plan on destroying the planet and the Pride are shocked that he knows that. Why would Tony agree to ignore the Pride if he knew what they had planned for the world?
Posted by: Michael | August 27, 2013 7:52 PM
To be fair, in that same scene he compares them to a weird Hollywood cult. I don't think he really believes in their "religion", as he calls it.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 27, 2013 8:15 PM
I must comment about the depiction of the Hangman. Last time I checked, the Hangman, although extremely sexist, did not follow the tale of Ham or the virgin birth, and did not target people for anything other than their actions. In fact, the Hangman (in his early origin), spent World War II as a solider who vehemently attacked the Axis. Also, he admired Hopalong Cassidy (as depicted in film), who discouraged bigotry. At least prior to Bizarre Adventures#31, where the Locksmith's actions may have warped his mind, the Hangman only targeted conventional criminals.
Also, the Hangman died in Bizarre Adventures#31, published around 1981 or 1982, which published prior to Spider-Woman#50, takes place after.
Posted by: PB210 | December 11, 2013 7:19 PM
PB210, as far as I know the Hangman's death in Bizarre Adventures 31 isn't referenced until 1986. So it's possible that Bizarre Adventures 31 takes place after Iron Man Annual 7 and this story. It's annoying to have a story take place after stories that were published two years later but that's exactly what happened with the Dr.Strange/ Dr. Doom GN.
Posted by: Michael | December 11, 2013 7:58 PM
I'm not someone who believes objectification of female characters for fan service is a good thing, but She-Hulk, when she was with the Fantastic Four and drawn by John Byrne, was an attractive woman without being pushed all the way towards cheesecake. That She-Hulk in the FF team pic above, less so. Though all the members look a bit off, if truth be told.
Posted by: Harry | July 30, 2015 10:07 AM
The Shulkie there...the muscularity isn't bad, the face and hair are terrible though.
And this is what stinks about sliding timescales: apparantly Iphones exist in 1984 just around the same time as the "1984" Apple ad that was just introducing the Mac! (though the idea of bringing in the Pride this early really isn't too bad an idea, smart writers really should think around all the heroes and elements within LA over the year if to keep them from being too active without reason prior to the emergence of the Runaways)
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 30, 2015 11:03 AM
Why exactly did they choose Los Angeles, of all places, to be the Pride's base of operations and place they supposedly kept free of superhuman activity, when that might already be the second-busiest nexus of superhuman activity in all of Marvel America?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | May 3, 2016 10:05 AM
@Morgan Wick - The West Coast Avengers were based in Los Angeles. And for a while the Champions were also based in LA, right? Yeah, having the Pride controlling the city with an iron fist for years and keeping it free of all other superhumans only works in the Marvel Comics of the 21st century with its "screw continuity" approach.
Okay, I realize that continuity should be a guide, not a straightjacket. Nevertheless, would it really have been so difficult for whoever was editing the Runaways series to say to Brian K. Vaughan "Look, this is a brilliant concept, and it's going to make for an amazing series. But maybe you might want to move the setting from LA to another west coast city like San Francisco or Portland? Because the whole thing with the Pride just doesn't work if they're in LA, what with the Avengers West and the Champions and various other heroes as well as a whole bunch of their enemies all living in that city."
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 20, 2016 3:47 PM
I had always assumed that the idea was that The Pride had operated below the WCA's radar--that they made sure their activities didn't draw attention.
Posted by: Dermie | May 20, 2016 4:48 PM
But in WCA and other books it was also established that there were lots of superhuman criminals & menaces operating in the LA area. You had Graviton, the Shroud and the Night Shift, Doctor Demonicus and his Pacific Overlords, Ultron, and Lotus Newmark / Lady Lotus, just to name a few. It's hard to believe that all of them were based in LA for an extended period of time without ever stumbling across the Pride. I remember that Lotus was so paranoid about her illegal operations being discovered that she kept sending assassins after Wonder Man because she suspected, without any actual proof, that he knew she was a criminal. Seems weird that she wouldn't have any idea that she was based in the same city as the Pride, who would have been serious rivals to her empire.
And this story establishes that Tony Stark learned about the Pride before he resumed his Iron Man identity and joined the WCA for the very first time. Upon doing so, wouldn't he have said to Hawkeye and the rest "Hey, there's this extremely dangerous group of a dozen supervillains secretly controlling LA, so make sure to keep an eye out for any evidence of their activities."
Of course, that's the major problem with pretty much ALL of the Illuminati retcons / continuity implants, in that Iron Man and the various other members are shown to be aware of a lot of things that they were completely ignorant of in the original stories during which those flashbacks have set. As fnord pointed out elsewhere, the Avengers / Defenders War shouldn't have taken place if Iron Man and Doctor Strange were already knew each other from the Illuminati.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 21, 2016 3:41 PM
Is there room for a substantial gap somewhere between the Hangman and Serpent Society battles? Re-reading this entry right now, but skimming enough that initially the References section was the only thing I had to go on about the nature of the reference to IM #188, I almost wondered if it was a typo, and they meant IM #178, the Assistant Editor's Month issue where he realizes he hadn't really licked his alcoholism in the preceding issue, when he was still homeless. It would be a better, though not perfect, fit for the opening scenes of the story; besides better fitting how Tony's portrayed at that point, IM #178 was the same cover month as UXM #177, allowing the Lilandra reference to fit better if issue 6 takes place before then. Of course it doesn't really solve the Serpent Society or "not wearing the armor after #182" problems (at least not without stretching things out enough to introduce a ton of problems of their own), and swaps out the Lilandra problem for Black Bolt and Medusa not actually being married at that point. (And it doesn't really affect your placement anyway, unless you were to split this entry.)
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 29, 2018 5:14 AM
Actually re-re-reading the entry, there may actually be space for a gap between the Serpent Society battle and the IM #188 reference, but of course that just makes the Society's continuity issues worse (I don't even know if it makes it easier or harder to rationalize it as the Squad), nor do I know if the pace of the story or the nature of the IM #188 reference even allows for Tony's absence to span only part of the story. My main point was just idly wondering if the time where it was supposed to take place changed as it went along, without actually being consistent.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 29, 2018 7:15 AM
Well, it couldn't have been a reference to Iron Man 178, since Rhodey tells Tony that Cly's been worried about him, which would be rather odd if this takes place before Iron Man 184, since Tony and Cly don't meet until then. There's space for a gap between the Society battle and the IM 188 reference but the problem is that the Iron Man 188 reference makes it clear Tony's absence lasts the duration of the story. But yeah, readers were complaining about how there was no spot where this story could take place until the Iron Man 188 reference appeared.
Posted by: Michael | January 29, 2018 8:21 PM
Well on the one hand, the way Tony is depicted in issue 6 seems to imply it's pre-IM #182, but then the use of the Serpent Society implies it's so much later Tony shouldn't even have a beard (if he's still in his West Coast phase at all), and "localizing" it at IM #188 doesn't fix the Serpent Society problem while forcing one to go into contortions justifying the early part of the story (especially since they don't allow Tony's absence to only take up a part of the story). So basically it's "let's throw in something that puts it somewhere, anywhere that vaguely makes sense without actually giving in to the continuity nerds".
It's funny, they clearly were going for a specific period in Iron Man's history, but it's also clear they didn't understand it very well.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 29, 2018 11:11 PM
Also worth noting: the Hangman's death by the Pride here arguably conflicts with his death in Bizarre Adventures #33. It would make sense given the Pride's MO for that story to be propaganda to cover up the real circumstances of his death (though I doubt the writer here even knew of that story), even though that would basically make BA #33 non-canon, but BA #33 actually wound up published a couple years before it ended up being placed, and before this story tries to be set.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 30, 2018 1:00 AM
The Illuminati just. Doesn't. Fucking. Work.
Posted by: JP! | January 30, 2018 1:48 AM
Be careful, you use his name and Bendis is liable to show up and call us all pathetic losers.
Posted by: AF | January 30, 2018 7:56 AM
Morgan, regarding the Hangman's death, it's never confirmed he died here. It's possible he survived the hanging.
Posted by: Michael | January 30, 2018 8:17 AM
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