Iron Man: Iron Protocols #1: Review

Oct 2009
?, ?

Story Name:

(multiple titles)

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Iron Man: Iron Protocols #1 Review by (March 14, 2016)
Story 1:

Writer Robert Venditti, artist Nelson Decastro, colourist Val Staples.

Maria Hill was appointed Director of SHIELD in Secret War #5 after Nick Fury was disgraced by his actions in that limited series. Tony Stark was given the job in Civil War #7 and Hill became 1 of his Deputy Directors.

The Official Index puts this immediately after IM(2005)#32, followed by early issues of Hulk (2008) starring Red Hulk.

Story 2:

Writer Rick Spears, penciller Iban Coello, inker Rick Ketcham, colourist Jorge Maese.

Pepper Potts of course has been Tony Stark's secretary/PA several times before, but most recently she ran The Order in their comic. But she left to come back to work for Tony at the end of that run. According to the Marvel Chronology Project this is her 1st appearance in her resumed role, and then she'll be seen full-time in the 2008 Invincible Iron Man series. Tony's PA during the 2005 IM series was Mrs Rennie. Since in the new series Pepper will apparently be running the firm while Stark is off playing Director of SHIELD, maybe Mrs R hasn't been made redundant, but is now *Pepper's* PA.

The old armours Iron Man faces are the horned faceplate Model 2 Mark 1, the Silver Centurion Model 12 Mk 1, and the War Machine Model 16 miscoloured red and white. (The Model numbers are as defined by the Iron Man Armory.)

Fin Fang Foom is a dragon who was elevated from the ranks of Marvel monsters when it was revealed in IM#261-275 that he was 1 of the alien Makluans from whom Mandarin got his Rings of Power.

Stark used SKIN tech to make his Model 25 armour in IM(1998)#42.

Friday may have had a child-like persona when she was introduced in IM(1998)#53 but her appearance was that of a woman, so her evolution into a teenager isn't as straightforward as presented here. She was seen with gaps until #75. Stark will use her again as his PA in the post-Secret Wars IM series.

The MCP has this after IM's involvement with the Eternals in their 2008 series, immediately before the 1st story in Indomitable IM and the 2008 IM series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: Iron Protocols #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Story 1: The ark

A couple of SHIELD Agents land at a secret base in Antarctica to deliver some DNA samples of endangered species to a waiting scientist. As he checks them an alarm goes off and the base seals itself and cuts off outside communication. Guns in the walls shoot the Agents.

In the SHIELD helicarrier Maria Hill informs Director Tony Stark that something has gone wrong with Project Ararat. This is a project he's apparently unaware of, so he pulls up the info from the database. The Antarctic site contains an interstellar spaceship which will function as an Ark to preserve Terran life in a worst-case scenario, and reseed it on another planet. Its AI is programmed to recognise such a scenario and take off without human command.

The base has just gone into lockdown and responds to all hails with the reply that it has confirmed a threat. SHIELD needs to rescue the trapped scientists, and Iron Man can get there faster than anyone else.

As he approaches Stark discovers that the base's defensive weaponry is of his own design, which should give him an edge. He takes control of missiles fired at him and redirects them to destroy their own launch sites. He gets the AI to talk to him but it won't acknowledge his authority. So he directs some more missiles to blow open the sealed entrance.

Once inside the AI tells him that it has decided that mankind itself is the greatest threat to Earth and its preserved specimens. So it's going to leave (taking the necessary scientists with it).

The Golden Avenger is attacked by robot drones. 1st they bury him in molten ceiling, but he breaks free. Direct flame-thrower attack doesn't faze him either, or other robot attachments. But these were only delaying tactics as the AI prepared to launch the space rocket.

Iron Man endures the exhaust blast, and then jets up to overtake the giant rocket. Stark attempts to stop the flight by draining the rocket's nuclear power source, while the AI assures him his actions are futile because the power overload will destroy him 1st. Tony points out that his exploding armour would destroy the Ark and its precious cargo, but the AI doesn't believe he would risk the lives of the scientists. However it can't afford to call his bluff so it powers down. Shellhead manages to slow the rocket's descent enough to get it to the ground almost intact.

Absorbing so much power into his Extremis armour which is intimately linked to his nervous system means Tony has to spend some recovery time in hospital. Maria thanks him for not getting killed, as she wouldn't want his job again. She assures him their aren't any more major crises that need his attention. Or at least she won't tell him about them until he's better.

Story 2: His Girl Friday

Pepper Potts comes looking for her boss Tony Stark because they'll be late for the unveiling of the Stark Ampere, his company's new electric sports car. But she finds someone else sitting in his chair, and is grabbed by an Iron Man armour.

But in fact Tony has got there early and as a planned publicity stunt has 'stolen' the car, which he's now driving at speed accompanied by 3 young models. But when they reach his home he discovers his office trashed and Pepper missing. Changing to Iron Man he tracks her phone to his Coney Island factory where he's confronted by 3 remote-controlled old armours.

He jams their control signal, but then has to deal with a hologram of Fin Fang Foom. And within it is Pepper. Tony frees her and she kisses him, but he discovers a control/feedback patch on her neck (based on the SKIN tech he used a while ago).

When he removes it the 'mastermind' reveals herself as his old holographic PA Friday. She was written as a young child when he used her, but now she's 'grown up' into a rebellious teenager. She's angry about being left on the shelf for so long. But she protests a denial about having a crush on Tony when Pepper says that the AI initiated the kiss to find out what it was like.

Tony prepares to shut Friday down, but Pepper persuades him to try to raise her like a gifted child instead. After getting advice from Reed Richards about his own genius kid Valeria he puts her in the care of the Avengers' butler Jarvis, but spends a lot of time with her himself. And eventually he lets her take control of an Ampere (hoping to use her as the basis for an onboard AI for the next model).

Ariel Olivetti (Cover Penciler)
Ariel Olivetti (Cover Inker)
Ariel Olivetti (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

> Iron Man: Iron Protocols: Book info and issue index

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