Wow! Things didn't look so hot for Iron Man after Part 1 of his battle in the nation's capital with Ultimo. The gargantuan android had just finished applying so much pressure to IM's armor that the Avenger was left non-functional and slumped on the White House lawn, as his foe continued on to its target. And worse, Tony Stark was apparently suffering from heart trouble again. Things looked hopeless as far as saving Washington from Ultimo's rampage.
Still, looking at the issue's cover, you'd think Iron Man was all ready for Round Two:
Unfortunately, he's not there yet. But thank goodness he has friends in high places--in this case, an approaching SHIELD jet which opens fire on Ultimo, and then circles around to land and get Iron Man to safety. And for Iron Man, even through his haze, there can be no doubt of his benefactor's identity:
Yes, you read that correctly--Tony Stark recommending a nuclear strike on Ultimo. There's nothing like wiping out your enemy by wiping out the city he's attacking--and the center of government, at that. I think it's safe to say we wouldn't want Stark to become the director of SHIELD anytime soon. Unfortunately, that ship is due to sail in a few years. I'm amazed we're all still here to talk about it.
Anyway, while Sitwell's ship lures Ultimo away from the Capitol, the resourceful SHIELD agent has had Iron Man plugged in to the ship and charging up. And despite Sitwell's objections, Iron Man re-engages the deadly engine of destruction that almost crushed him like a sardine can:
But even though he hurls himself back into the fray, Iron Man knows that, realistically, his chances against Ultimo are slim, given the current shape he's in:
And so Iron Man executes a series of strikes that are meant to focus Ultimo's attention totally on him, while he in turn begins burrowing down beneath the ground in order to carry out a plan:
In case you haven't noticed, Iron Man's tactic is simply a variation of the one he used to defeat Ultimo during their first meeting--goading the behemoth to use its destructive eye beams to trigger a volcanic eruption. In this case, lo and behold, there just happens to be a "volcanic fault" below Washington, D.C. which Iron Man is making use of. Not exactly the best location for your country's government to be sitting on, and the news of which will probably raise a few eyebrows at the N.S.A.--but for Iron Man, whose jets carry him out of harm's way, it's a tailor-made trap for Ultimo:
Yet, Ultimo has proven able to withstand such blasts and then lapse into dormancy, so we can probably expect the giant to return to threaten Iron Man and the world anew. Only the next time we cross paths with Ultimo, we'll find not only a more formidable killing machine, but also new wrinkles in his origin that have him seeking the deaths of the entire population of the Earth--a rampage not even a quintet of Iron Men may be able to halt.