Friday, August 31, 2018

Spymaster Triumphant! (Wanna bet?)

Of all the foes who have taken on the invincible Iron Man and proven themself a force to be reckoned with, it's a little hard to believe that the Spymaster could pose that great a challenge in a face-to-face confrontation with the golden Avenger. Given this villain's occupation, his strength lies in working behind the scenes and avoiding discovery, not duking it out with an armored powerhouse. To survive such a match, or even hold his own, he'd have to have the element of surprise on his side as far as his offensive capabilities--but how can we expect a spy, even a costumed spy, to be prepared for the likes of Iron Man?

Well, looking over his career, that often depended on (a) the circumstances of his mission, (b) how much he was packing, and (c) how much he was getting paid. We can start with item (c) first, and say that Spymaster has been in the game long enough to be in demand by clients who are able to pay top dollar for his services; suffice to say that taking on the types of jobs such clients require of him translates to enough dollar signs to make sure he's very motivated to succeed. And to ensure that success, item (b) is something he takes seriously, to offset any unforeseen opposition that he's forced to deal with; it's also something his employer will insist on providing, depending on how likely it may be for him to encounter opposition in the course of his work.

As for item (a), his mission today is to steal the file records of Stark International's stockholders--so you can probably guess exactly the opposition he's likely to encounter. That is, if the opposition lives long enough--because Spymaster is picking up a tidy $20,000 bonus for first taking out Tony Stark!

But on Spymaster's trail is none other than Iron Man, who has set a trap for the assassin that's already made one attempt on his life--and following the second attempt, Iron Man locates and identifies "the spy who killed him" (or, rather, killed the S.H.I.E.L.D. life model decoy put in place to bait the killer).

From here on, it's a "catch me if you can" scenario involving Iron Man and his slippery, well-equipped foe who's cocky and resourceful enough to also make use of whatever tools are available to him, giving him time to dig into his satchel for more made-to-order weaponry to keep Iron Man busy.

Spymaster knows that he only needs to successfully escape to be the victor in this encounter--but, his activities discovered, the safe bet would be to duck out of sight while Iron Man is extricating himself from one of his attacks and simply stay hidden until the heat is off. Instead, he chooses a very public mode of transport to take him to the airfield--and that, as they say, is that.

Well, at least he reached the airfield.

It's fair to say that Iron Man's skirmishes with Spymaster are reminiscent of his first battles with Hawkeye, a criminal newcomer who at the time was seeing his own spy (the Black Widow) and who often gave Iron Man a run for his money. No one likely thinks that Spymaster will be our next reformed crimefighter; despite being collared once in awhile, we can honestly assume he enjoys his work* too much to change his spots.

*And, needless to say, his bonuses.

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