Tuesday, February 4, 2014

There's No Escape from--Firepower!

Iron Man's red and silver armor may have started out with a bang, in his own mag (against the Iron Monger) and in West Coast Avengers (helping to launch that new title), but it would have an undignified end when it would take one heck of a beating against the strength and firepower of--well, Firepower. To tell you the truth, I'm almost glad the suit only lasted for thirty issues (though that would work out to 2½ years in reader time). I never really liked the bulkiness of it--or the backpack--or the fluctuating aura effect it emitted when it was airborne. And the helmet from the side gave him an almost unapproachable look.

Also, was this the silver Avenger now?

At this point in time, we've come to the end of the "armor wars," where Tony Stark is crossing both legal and moral lines in attempting to keep his technology out of the wrong hands. But where he should be breathing a sigh of relief, Stark is feeling anything but proud of himself:

Meanwhile, there are some gentlemen in the government and the military who are adapting a project to pull the plug on Iron Man's vigilante activities, and with extreme prejudice:

Fortunately, Stark gets a heads-up when a U.S. Senator and reps from the Defense Department ask him to be present as an adviser when the trap for Iron Man is sprung. And Stark agrees, since the "trap"--i.e., Firepower--turns out to be the last remaining technology which Stark must neutralize. So let's jump ahead to what would turn out to be the last appearance for the red and silver suit, against the armored might of:

C'mon, say it with me:

Of course, it's never a good sign when the guy you're rooting for is packing his transportation as if it were a flying ambulance:

And, sure enough, when the battle begins, Iron Man almost immediately finds himself on the defensive:

Firepower is indeed loaded for bear--but while Jack Taggert, the man inside, has trained long and hard for this encounter, he still lacks the seasoned experience of one who's worn his metal suit for years. That's not enough to give Stark the edge against this foe, but it's enough to save his life--for now. But when his efforts to neutralize Firepower's suit meet with failure, his guard goes down for an instant, and the game is over.

Firepower has clearly overwhelmed Iron Man, and it looks like that ambulance is going to come in handy. But it would only be a brief respite for the brutalized Stark, not a haven:

As Firepower spots Iron Man making a break for it, he lets loose the deadliest weapon in his arsenal--a high energy, low radiation missile that requires everyone in the area to dive for protective bunkers. Its target, though, hasn't a chance:

Well, I wanted to 86 that ugly helmet, but not at this cost. It looks like Tony Stark has become a casualty of his own war, doesn't it? Is Firepower going to become the newest armored Avenger? How will the team feel about having a walking nuke in their midst? On the other hand, could Stark have somehow survived that hit? If there's a happy ending here, it's that this suit of armor didn't. When we follow up on this story, we'll see if there's still a Tony Stark around to whip up a new one.


George Chambers said...

Speaking for myself, I liked the red and silver suit. It was the first real change to the armor in what, nearly 20 years? - and for once, Iron Man had a suit that looked like it could take a hit without transmitting the impact to the squishy man inside. I suspect this storyline came about because Layton wanted to draw a more streamlined suit again!

Anonymous said...

I think Tony safely ejected out of his armor, and now he's gonna wake up in the middle of the desert in his underwear, bruised, battered, dehydrated, possibly with some short-term memory loss...
Trust me, he'll be okay.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't focus past Tony's hairstyle. It's as though I was staring directly at the flash when the picture was taken. I can still see it when I close my eyes....oh the humanity. The horror......the horror.

The Prowler (in a fetal position and crying for his mommy. And he soiled himself).

Comicsfan said...

Well, George, in his 100th issue, Iron Man himself touts the benefits of streamlined armor, so it was always confusing to me why he'd bulk up and remove that advantage. He certainly could have used a little of that speed and maneuverability against Firepower. But you make a good point about the dramatic change in appearance the new suit provided for Iron Man.

Anon, you may be onto something about Tony eventually landing on his feet. Let's hope he can find them after that blast!

Prowler, Tony definitely went a little overboard with that hairstyle, didn't he. It can't be easy getting that helmet on--he's probably using product of the "extra extra firm" variety.

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