Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bad For Business


Name This Marvel Villain??

Granted that men in finance have gotten a bad rap, but this guy makes the gang on Wall Street look like rank amateurs. To say that he has an obsession with money would be an understatement. In fact, this one panel will tell you just about everything you need to know about the motivations of Midas:

Well-educated, intelligent, and savvy, Midas was extremely resourceful (which may be partially due to his humble beginnings)--but physically limited due to his girth. However, since he's not exactly the hands-off management type, his durable chair not only gives him mobility, but also doubles as an impressive weapons array. Not exactly a guy you'd look forward to sitting across from in a board meeting.

The natural counterpart for Midas in the business world would naturally be Tony Stark, whom Midas developed an obsession with. His first scheme with Stark involved attempting to strong-arm him into signing over his company, even going so far as to replace Stark with a duplicate. The story was pivotal not so much because of the presence of Midas, but because his manipulations led to a major development with Stark's heart condition.

Midas was thwarted that time with the unexpected assistance of Madame Masque--whom Stark knew as Whitney Frost, a former head of the Maggia. Frost owed a debt to Midas, who saved her life from a terrible accident which unfortunately left her face badly scarred; but she later allied herself with Stark, turning on Midas and participating in a conflict which led to his apparent death.

But a very-much-alive Midas bided his time, and later went behind the scenes to quietly (and, at least on the surface, legally) acquire Stark's company through a hostile takeover while Stark (as Iron Man) was preoccupied with other matters:

Madame Masque is once again part of Stark's story with Midas, only this time she's actively but covertly looking after his interests and later becomes romantically involved with him. Though even with her intervention (along with the Jack of Hearts), it's not easy getting Stark to calm down when he finds out how Midas has usurped his company right out from under him:

Once Stark retreats, Midas wastes no time in razing the company and flexing his own industrial ambitions:

A curious part of this story is the appearance of Marianne Rodgers, the long-absent former lover of Stark, whose ESP talent overwhelmed her and led to her commitment at a private mental institution (compliments of Stark). In a two-page spread, we're quickly caught up with Marianne's history with Tony:

With the upheaval of Stark's company and finances, payments for Marianne's hospital bills were unknowingly stopped, and she was released on her own recognizance. She seems to have a one-track mind, what's left of it:

Further complicating Stark's battle with Midas is that, in addition to his floating weapons chair as well as making use of Stark's spare Iron Man armor, the villain has developed an exo-skeleton which gives him above-average strength and allows him to walk. He's also acquired the "Midas touch," which turns whatever he touches into solid gold. Both abilities were in play in his final confrontation with Iron Man, who was now armed with information that Midas had illegally acquired Stark International. But look who else shows up unexpectedly:

Fortunately, Iron Man is somewhat forewarned about Marianne's power, and ducks in the nick of time. Which leaves Midas right in her sights:

Alive but now a mindless shell after Marianne got done with him, Midas was hauled away (and yeah, the guy probably did have to be hauled) to an indefinite stay in a psychiatric ward--with Marianne probably tucked away in the same wing.  As for Stark, chances are he salvaged Midas's deadly chair for use at his own board meetings.  Just for show, of course.

1 comment:

Gecho said...

"Huge/ugly/weird teeth" was always like Tuska's shorthand for "insane bad guy" don't you think?

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