The Iron Man impostor, Pt. 2

When we left off, Tony Stark’s day teetered on catastrophic.  A fake Iron Man murdered his ex-girlfriend and board of directors (both equally heartbreaking).  Now, the government decides to slaughter all Iron Man — a safety issue, y’know?  Today, enjoy the second half of Iron Man #86-89, volume 3, written by Mark Ricketts and drawn by Tony Harris & Scott Kolins, as Stark battles his impostor.  Luckily, fake Iron Man blew up his house before the real Iron Man’s facemask could be put on — so the one with the mustache is the one you’ll be rooting for.

Oh, by the way, the fight’s not going well:

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Fake Iron Man brings up a good point, and pretty much a major argument covered in the third movie. Bad guys tend to be jerks, and that means they have no problem assassinating loved ones to get back at their assigned hero.  When Spider-Man revealed his secret identity, Aunt May got sniped and his marriage dissolved.  Daredevil, after his secret identity leaked, had practically his whole life in ruins for a good decade of comics.  And now Stark, who’s been about half-and-half with the secret identity stuff, just paid the price with his company, loved ones, and good name.

Supergeniuses make mistakes too (though Stark tends to make more than most), and now this impostor will feel Iron Man’s mechanized retribution.

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Well, in a minute.  So want the big reveal?  Who’s the baddie brazen enough to impersonate our hero?  Norman Osborn?  Magneto?  Dr. Doom?

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Okay, so you don’t know who he is.  You’re not supposed to.  Sure, the past few issues gave clues that I’ve declined to show you, but if it makes you feel better, even Stark’s perplexed about this moron:

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Clarence Ward, who only appears in this arc, is supposed to be unknown.  Shows how even the little guy can cause horrendous trauma when there are no secrets to protect.  Also, if you want to know just how tough Iron Man can be, this next scene should sum it up quite nicely:

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Equal powers aside, what gives the advantage to Stark?  His support characters for one.  That and his Batman-esque ability to plan for every scenario and situation.

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Allow Pepper Pots to end this fight before anything regretful happens.  Don’t worry, it’ll be dramatic. Plus, Stark makes a delightful metaphor.

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Poor Stark realizes the fatal flaw of all supergeniuses — too much time spent on genius, too little time focusing on family and friends.  And oh boy, when that lesson’s learned, it’s a doozy.  By the way, did you forget about the whole premise with the military?

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What you’re about to hear is a grandiose speech about superhero ideals and beliefs.  Yes, you’ll be able to point out numerous contradictions (like say, Wolverine), but it still speaks an important message: superheroes are our betters.  I mean, the idea that anyone can put on a costume and save the world burns brightly in our optimistic hearts, but let’s be fair — most of us can’t fight crime no matter how much Cheetos dust we wipe off our pants.  And not just the decades of martial arts training either.  Being a superhero requires a thinking practically unachievable by ordinary men and women, which probably contributes to superheroes being fictional in the first place.  Because when Stark walks away from this monster — who murdered the love of his life, his entire company, and shattered what’s left of his reputation — he’ll be back in fighting shape by next issue, and that’s insane.

While the speech is silly, but the message isn’t.

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Ward being a pawn, it’s only fair I reveal to you the man pulling his strings, right?  See?  Everything comes full circle.

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Go see Iron Man 3.  The Mandarin is portrayed radically different, but the explosions aren’t.



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