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Iron Man: The Iron Age #2: Review

Sep 1998
Richard Howell, Patrick Zircher

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4 stars

Iron Man: The Iron Age #2 Review by (March 27, 2013)
Krieger is a one-off (and now dead) villain for this mini-series. I don't think Dogs of War are seen elsewhere either. Col Edward Harrison was a Army Intelligence officer in Journey into Mystery #87. But mainly in the 2 issues of Conspiracy he claimed to have been part of a secret government group that created most superheroes and supervillains, including SHIELD as here. The 'sources' page at the back of the book identifies Krieger's mystery assassin as Spymaster. The glimpses of costume in his 2 appearances fit with this. This 1st Spymaster will debut in Iron Man #33. SHIELD and its helicarrier HQ will formally show up in Strange Tales #135, along with LMD's and a flying car like we see here.

Iron Man starts off this story just known as a friend of Tony Stark's. At the end of the issue he is declared to be his bodyguard. I think this formal relationship is 1st referred to in ToS#52. John T Gamelin, Jonas Hale and Hugh Jones all appeared later as part of Roxxon and its subsidiaries. Roxxon Oil and Hugh Jones will 1st be seen in the Nomad storyline starting in Captain America #180. This will lead into the Serpent Crown story in Avengers #141-149. Jones will be associated with the Serpent Crown in later appearances too. Jonas Hale will mostly be an Iron Man villain, starting in IM#120-121, but later transferring to Spider-Man titles. On the other hand John T Gamelin will only be a Spidey villain, beginning in Marvel Team-Up #87.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: The Iron Age #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Harold 'Happy' Hogan takes over the narration from Pepper Potts last issue, again remembering the early times. This issue covers the time around Tales of Suspense #45-48. The new corporate takeover plot continues.

#45 included Happy's 'origin'. (It was also the 1st issue with Pepper in, but as explained last time she was behind the scenes in the earlier issues.) We see him rescue Tony Stark from the crash of his racing car. He refused a cash reward, and just asked for a job. Tony made him his chauffeur, but kept him around at other times as well. Ex-boxer Hogan figured he was Stark's bodyguard as well, which was true because Tony couldn't always safely change to Iron Man.

Iron Man at this time was billed as Tony's friend, not his bodyguard, who just 'happened' to turn up at useful times.

This issue also started Happy's attempts to woo Pepper, which she initially rejected with a string of insults.

We also see the start of the plot from ToS#45, as Stark fires Prof Shapanka for trying to sell his tech secrets.

We also see a press conference announcing the founding of the Avengers after Avengers #1. Stark has lent them the use of his Manhattan mansion for free. (It doesn't say he's also financing the group.)

Then we pick up the new plotline from last issue, where the management of Republic Oil and Natural Gas (John T Gamelin, Jonas Hale, Hugh Jones and Krieger) tried to cripple Stark Industries so they could take it over. Last time Krieger's agent Saboteur failed. Now he sends in a mercenary group called the Dogs of War.

Iron Man defeats them easily, but they were expecting that. They relay an offer from their employer to betray Stark for money. Iron Man pretends to consider it and lets them go. Happy sees what happens but doesn't hear anything. But he's still suspicious.

Next we get quick flashes of Iron Man vs Jack Frost (more Shapanka in ToS#45), Crimson Dynamo (#46) and Melter (#47).

Meanwhile Tony Stark has a meeting with a Col Harrison from a secret government dept about supplying them with tech. At the same time he gets grief from Sen Byrd's committee who suspect that Stark's excuses about weapons development messed up by Dynamo and Melter is a cover for incompetence or possibly deliberate self-sabotage because Stark is a Communist!

In ToS#48 Tony designs a new closer-fitting lightweight red and gold armour.

RONG are getting impatient and uneasy about Krieger's plans to bring down Stark Industries. Hugh Jones has a meeting with a half-seen figure.

Iron Man comes to see Krieger, and agrees to keep Stark out of the way at the time of a crucial meeting. Happy spies on this exchange too, but again can't tell what is discussed. However he confronts Iron Man back at SI. Iron Man tries to reassure him, but Hogan doesn't buy it. But then Tony and Pepper don't believe his story.

Just before the time for the crucial meeting, Tony seems to disappear from his office. But then he reappears as if from elsewhere. Even though he doesn't know where this secret meeting is to be held, Happy insists on driving (to protect him from Iron Man's treachery). Strangely Stark seems to expect Happy to know where to go. But Happy notices that Tony has installed an advanced auto-navigation system he'd told him about. So he just pushes a button and the car starts off.

Imagine his surprise when the car starts to fly! But Tony seems equally shocked. Then they rendezvous with the SHIELD helicarrier, which Stark does know about. Happy realises this must be the secret stuff he's been working on with Col Harrison.

Happy tries again to warn Stark about Iron Man. But gets KO'd with a cosh for his pains!

When Happy awakes we see Tony Stark and the Dogs of War holding the heads of states and corporations that rule SHIELD hostage. Stark goes on air to the nation threatening to crash the helicarrier unless he gets paid an enormous ransom.

The RONG bosses realise what's happening. This is Krieger's plan to discredit Stark.

But Iron Man has only been waiting to see what the plan would be. And now he heads for the helicarrier, where Happy is starting his own 1-man war against the Dogs. Iron Man arrives and attacks the Dogs. However they are prepared with special weapons since last time.

Iron Man is disabled and captured. But 1 of the masked Dogs reveals himself to be Happy Hogan, who then pulls a facemask off 'Tony Stark' uncovering Krieger live on air. Krieger shoots the helicarrier's control console, sending it falling out of the sky, and then tries to escape using a hidden jetpack.

However Happy lassos him on the way out. Shellhead breaks free, and uses his knowledge as the designer of the helicarrier to stabilise it. Krieger and the Dogs are taken into custody.

This raises questions later about how IM knew something that should have been top secret. Stark neutralises this by saying that Iron Man has always been a Stark employee, his personal bodyguard, and privy to his secrets. He uses a prototype SHIELD Life Model Decoy to impersonate Iron Man during the press conference.

Pepper starts to thaw towards Happy.

The 3 RONG bosses give up on trying to destabilise SI. Hugh Jones has sent the mystery figure to assassinate Krieger in his jail cell. And the company changes its name to Roxxon.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Patrick Zircher
Bob McLeod
Glynis Oliver
Patrick Zircher (Cover Penciler)
Patrick Zircher (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Comicraft.
Editor: Bobbie Chase.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Hugh Jones, John T Gamelin, Jonas Hale, Senator Byrd, Spymaster (Spymaster 1).

> Iron Man: The Iron Age: Book info and issue index

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