October 1978: Iron Man 118 – In which we learn that Tony Stark’s best friend calls him Mr Stark


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Synopsis : Iron Man 118 was written by David Michelinie with art by  John Byrne and Bob Layton and opens with Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark repairing his armour. He remembers an attack by Spymaster and the S.H.I.E.L.D. weapons he used, leading Tony to go to a NATO symposium on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, mainly to find out why S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to kill him. He stops by his office and meets with Ms Arbogast, his PA and a girl he met at a party recently, Bethany McCabe. Bethany goes with him to the airstrip and the two agree to get in touch when he gets back, he then meets with James Rhodes (Yup, that one) who calls him Mr Stark, before Tony takes the helicopter without James and flies to the Helicarrier. After taking a second to meet with Nick Fury, Tony decides to snoop. Little does he know, that a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the Helicarrier are the ones trying to kill him. Their reasoning is that they want Stark International to start making weapons for S.H.I.E.L.D and the US again, when Tony at a computer terminal, these rogues gas the who Helicarrier (because that’s not overkill) and throw him out of the carrier, several thousand feet up in the air.

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Tony in free-fall, with his briefcase cuffed to his wrist, strips and opens the case, putting on the Iron Man armour, a second or two before impact.( Looked at the panel three times now, still can’t see how he was un-cuffed.) He returns to the carrier and hears the plot of this group and starts opening up a can of whup-ass on the agents, but one gets away and finds a still unconscious Nick Fury and tells Iron Man, either kill yourself, or watch Fury die.

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Notes: I liked this issue, the story was part of a larger ongoing narrative, but to be honest, it wasn’t hard to follow along. The character interactions were snappy and fun and seeing Tony Stark as the hero more than Iron Man was great to see. S.H.I.E.L.D. is an interesting aspect of Marvel and their relationship with Iron Man had many ups and downs. The whole thing of being thrown from the Helicarrier was a great scene and made the action more intense and showed a general sense of threat, rather than some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, who lets be honest didn’t stand much of a chance. This was an issue that had a cover that made me want to pick this issue up and a last page that made you want the next issue too. Can’t ask for more than that with a comic, but if you did, Bob Layton finishing Byrne pencils would do it for me.

Next Time : Cap vs the Hulk.

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