Iron Man: The Iron Age #2
Marvel Comics (September, 1998)
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PLOT ASSIST/CO-SCRIPTER: Richard Howell
PENCILER: Patrick Zircher
INKER: Bob McLeod
COLORIST: Glynis Oliver
LETTERER: Emerson Miranda
DESIGN: John Marrsigan
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Brian Smith
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
The previous issue was from Pepper’s perspective, of her early years working for Tony Stark. Now it’s Happy Hogan’s turn. After saving Tony from a burning race car wreck, Tony gives him a job as his chauffeur, where Happy begins his romantic pursuit of Pepper Potts. However, events are about to make things interesting for the former boxer, beginning with the forming of the Avengers and Tony offering his mansion in New York as their headquarters. While the man who is supposed to be gaining Stark Industries’ assets for Republic Oil & Natural Gas sees this as a benefit to his plan, his colleagues aren’t so sure. Later that night Happy sees Iron Man let a sabotage team, the Dogs Of War, escape he thinks something is up. This is confirmed to him when he sees Iron Man meet with the bad guy. But Iron Man brushes him off and Tony (or Pepper, who at this time doesn’t know Tony is Iron Man) brushes him off. Then Happy gets caught up in the plan to discredit Tony, which will allow Republic to take over his contracts. When Iron Man moves in to expose him Happy ends up helping expose the plot and clear Tony, while Iron Man is forced to reveal his knowledge of the SHIELD Helicarrier. To keep the secret identity Iron Man is revealed to have always been a Stark employee. The bad guy is killed by Republic to cover up the scam and changes it’s name to Roxxon.
What they got right: The two issues stand alone and both tell a good tale of Iron Man’s early years from the perspective of two people who at the time didn’t know they were the same person. There’s actually a storytelling opportunity here for an original concept if some writer can do it right. The story is quite good and although we know everything that’s going on, watching Happy slowly learn it is still interesting. It worked for Colombo, right?
What they got wrong: It could just be my memory but I thought Iron Man was always considered Stark’s bodyguard from the start?
Recommendation: While you don’t need both issues (even though they are connected) I do recommend getting both. They’re good tales on their own, spotlighting Pepper and Happy while still giving us a good Iron Man tale.