Thursday, July 28, 2016

When An Office Dies!

Following the opening of Anthony Stark's new company, Stark Enterprises, a surprise attack was launched by a mysterious device delivered to the scene which almost cost the lives of hundreds of people present--including Stark's friend, Jim Rhodes, who was trapped inside the machine and was barely able to disarm it before Iron Man would have been forced to destroy it. We later discovered the device was the calling card of Stark's unscrupulous business rival, Justin Hammer--a warning to Stark to keep out of Hammer's affairs.

Stark left the matter at that--but given the lives that were put at risk in the attack, including the life of his best friend, would we instead expect Stark to handle this kind of threat more directly? Sending a message of his own to back off, and making it clear to Hammer in no uncertain terms that he's capable of giving as good as he gets?

Let's look at a situation where Stark was forced to conduct business dealings with a man as careless with the welfare of others and as self-serving in his own way as Hammer. Our man of the hour, Mr. Benchley, had made a loan to Stark's butler, Edwin Jarvis, where Jarvis had used stock he owned in Stark International as collateral--shares which Stark needs to keep out of unfriendly hands and is forced to retrieve. Unfortunately, Benchley doesn't seem like the sympathetic type.

To be fair, Benchley's arrangement with Jarvis was handled legally, and its terms were clear in how his collateral could be forfeited, though Stark is perhaps correct in labelling Benchley as a loan shark. Regardless, given the importance of those shares, Stark resorts to sending a more *ahem* persuasive negotiator to appeal to Benchley's better nature. Assuming he has one.

In spite of the condition of his wall where his office window was once located, Benchley has made his position clear--so that should be that, right? But having Iron Man unleashed in your office is another matter--and Justin Hammer, like our poor Mr. Benchley, would likely be just as... impressed with his visitor's way of making his point.

While we're reasonably sure of what Benchley's response might normally be here, the fact is that he couldn't comply even he if wanted to, since he'd already sold the stock shares that Iron Man was interested in. And now, to add insult to injury, Stark will have to refurbish this guy's office--which he was probably going to do anyway, only now he'll have nothing to show for it.

Of course, Justin Hammer is not Mr. Benchley, and perhaps Stark is looking to take down Hammer conclusively, in a way that takes into account his entire operation worldwide and makes sure that he's shut down for good--as opposed to taking proportional shots at him that don't amount to much, and would simply be sinking to Hammer's level. It would be awhile before Hammer would face that kind of reckoning; in the meantime, each of these men would continue to be a thorn in the other's side for some time to come.

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