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Tony Stark: Iron Man #2: Review

Jul 2018
Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

Self-made man: Part 2 - The not-a-pilot episode

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tony Stark: Iron Man #2 Review by (July 21, 2018)
Amanda Armstrong is 1 of the few holdovers from the previous series. (Mary Jane Watson got involved with Spider-Man again lately and may have been dropped from this series.)

The Manticore looks more like an old toy, a Transformer or more likely something that GI Joe or Cobra would ride around in.

Sunset Bain was 1st seen as Madame Menace, dealer in super-weapons, in Machine Man (1978) #17-18, while also operating in public as the head of Baintronics. In Iron Man Annual #11 she got involved with Tony Stark, Machine Man and Jocasta and made off with Jocasta's AI. In IM(1998)#11-12 she employed War Machine (then occupied by Parnell Jacobs) against Iron Man, and in #18-20 Jim Rhodes persuaded his old pal Jacobs to back off, and Stark rescued Jocasta's AI and installed it in his mainframe |(as mentioned in the synopsis).

In the post-Secret Wars III universe she's only had cameo apps in Civil War II: The Accused and Captain America: Steve Rogers #13.

Machine Man began life (in of all places Jack Kirby's 2001: A Space Odyssey #8-10) as X-51 the only success in a military project to create robot soldiers. His creator Abel Stack died setting him free. He upgraded into his own 19-issue series (#1-9 by Kirby, #10-19 drawn by Steve Ditko with Marv Wolfman and Tom DeFalco writing) including the above encounter with Madame Menace. In Marvel Two-In-One #92-93 he met Jocasta, fell in love and saw her destroyed. He met IM in IM#168 and much later lost Jocasta's head to Madame Menace in the also above-mentioned IM An#11. Fate, or the ARMOR organisation, then brought them together again in the Marvel Zombies 3 mini-series, and Marvel Wiki refers to them now as husband and wife. But we haven't seen them together again until now.

He's been busy after SWIII, most visibly in Domino's Mercs For Money in Deadpool & MFM (2106) #3-10 and Domino #1-2.

The tale of how Sgt Green merged with the alien gauntlet weapon wasn't told until Avengers: Initiative An #1. But we 1st met Gauntlet when he was recruited for the Initiative in Civil War: Battle Damage Report, and he was a regular as an instructor in the Av:I series after that. After Siege terminated the Initiative he had his own tale in Age Of Heroes #2, but no more.

And this is his 1st app in the new universe.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We begin with flashbacks in James Rhodes' dream. He remembers being rescued by Iron Man (Tony Stark) as he was burning up in re-entry into Earth's atmosphere in his own Iron Man suit (original Iron Man #216). He spent a period as a cyborg trapped in his War Machine armour (mainly Avengers: Initiative and War Machine (2009)). And he was killed in the WM armour by Thanos (Free Comic Book Day (2016): Civil War II) (and recently reborn in IM#600).

Now he wakes up in a panic. But it's time to go to work as Stark Unlimited's liaison to the US military. Being at the wheel of his car perks him up.

Andrew Bhang, SU's new chief robotics engineer, gets ready for work while listening to a CD by his favourite old rock star Amanda Armstrong. And continues listening to it on the Metro.

The robot Jocasta Pym, SU's chief robotic ethicist, is fully charged and ready to go. She leaves her robot lover (we'll find out who he is later) at home and walks to work dressed in a trouser suit to mollify human sensibilities.

Bethany Cabe, head of SU security, has been working all night trying to catch whoever's been hacking SU's computers to steal info. But then she's taken over by the Controller. She herself is the hacker and knows how to evade her own security measures. But Controller advises a distraction to keep Beth and Tony's suspicions at bay.

Rhodey arrives at work to find that Tony has been up for hours. He's turned part of the SU interior into a climbing wall and challenges Jim to a climb without safety harnesses. Rhodes reminds his friend that he's successfully holding his alcoholism at bay, but suspects that Tony's addictive personality may have switched to adrenaline highs. Tony slips and falls, but Jim catches him - which Stark treats as par for the course.

Andy, Jim, Jocasta and Tony meet in the Foundry robotics division to discuss an AI for the Iron Man armour. Jocasta has persuaded Tony it's unethical to keep an AI cooped up in there, as she herself once was, so they've freed his old AI Friday into her own robot body. The Friday body walks in to remind everyone tonight is karaoke night, and is introduced to Andy Bhang as Friday Stark. Tony mentions the AI Motherboard which is running Project eScape. Tony suggests Motherboard stay as she is but be linked in to his armour, and Jocasta agrees (without consulting Motherboard!). (We've already seen this partnership in action in the new Avengers series.)

(This discussion is actually over a straw man. Friday *wasn't* confined to Stark's armour, she was his holographic PA based in the HQ but able to appear anywhere. I think being the AI for the armour was just a sideline or a subprogram. The period Jocasta refers too was presumably starting from IM(1998)#20 where she'd lost her body and her intelligence was housed in Stark's main computers. As far as I remember she didn't run Tony's IM suit, but if she did so it was again as a subfunction. And the new Motherboard setup sounds to me just like how Friday and Jocasta used to work.)

Bethany Cabe storms in with important news. But Andy is astonished to see Amanda Armstrong following her (apparently wearing the same t-shirt as on his old poster of her). He's even more astounded to hear that she's a manager in the company, an ex-SHIELD Agent and Tony's biological mother. (We all know he's only a Stark by adoption, right.)

Beth tells them she's discovered that Baintronics has used illegally-acquired Stark tech to create the Manticore assault vehicle which Sunset Bain will be auctioning off to various military interests today. Amanda wants to use legal restraints but Tony intends to stop the auction as Iron Man and he asks Rhodey to help him as War Machine.

The scene moves to Baintronics testing ground set up with a helicopter, a tank and other military vehicles and various crash-test dummies. The Manticore arrives in the air and smashes through the 'copter, then lands and demolishes the vehicles. Then it demonstrates its accuracy by setting a nominated dummy on fire with a microwave beam rifle.

Bain's head of security here is Gauntlet (ex-Sgt Joseph Green). A US general repeats an offer for Joe's alien gauntlet, but Green reminds him that the gauntlet is bonded to him and he says *he*'s not for sale (despite the fact that Bain is obviously paying him).

Sunset starts the auction but she's immediately interrupted by IM and WM. Tony ignores the fact that Jim isn't enjoying this, especially when Bain sends the Manticore after War Machine while Gauntlet and the security guards tackle Iron Man. While they fight Stark tries to talk Joe Green down by reminding him how he worked with Tony and Rhodey at the Camp Hammond Avengers Initiative training ground. But Gauntlet points out he's doing his job and his opponents are legally the bad guys here.

We take a break in the SU Commisary where Andy Bhang is still trying to come to terms with working with his teen idol. And Joelle, who claims to be a new girl in Robotics, is chatting with some other staff when Cabe attacks her. Beth knows who *all* the staff are and she's never heard of Joelle so, she thinks she's a spy. But J's hard metal skin gives her away as Jocasta just trying to fit in.

Gauntlet has Iron Man trapped in his energy projection, and Tony asks Rhodey to finish off the Manticore and help him. But Jim has frozen due to post-traumatic stress and gets Motherboard to eject him from the War Machine suit. The Manticore is about to crush the helpless human when Stark tells the AI to access the Stark tech in the machine. Now it's the Manticore's pilot's turn to be ejected.

But without a pilot the weapon goes out of control. Until Jim Rhodes jumps into the pilot seat and takes over. And uses it's weapons to knock Gauntlet out, freeing Iron Man.

Tony and Sunset decide to make a deal over dinner about SU buying the rights to the Manticore.

Jocasta skips karaoke and goes home to her lover, who turns out to be Machine Man (Aaron Stack). She tells him about the Joelle incident and says she wants to become a subject of Project eScape. Aaron is angry because he believes it's a bad thing for robot-kind. (More on this next issue.)

Tony has actually bought Manticore for Rhodey to use. Jim says he can't work in the War Machine armour anymore because it feels too much like his recent coffin. But in the Manticore he feels more like a pilot. (He used to fly military helicopters.) In turn Tony admits something about *his* recent rebirth. (He was put in a near-death coma at then end of Civil War II and revived in the IM Legacy issues #593-600.) He believes he "came back wrong".

Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Edgar Delgado
Alexander Lozano (Cover Penciler)
Alexander Lozano (Cover Inker)
Alexander Lozano (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Amanda Armstrong, Andy Bhang, Bethany Cabe, Controller (Basil Sandhurst), Friday (Friday Stark), Gauntlet, Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Sunset Bain (Madame Menace).

> Tony Stark: Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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