Iron Man volume 3 #15
Marvel Comics (April, 1999)
WRITER: Roger Stern
CO-PLOTTER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILERS: Sean Chen, Salvador Larocca, & Terry Shoemaker
INKERS: Eric Cannon, Mark Morales,Larry Stucker, Harry Candelario, & Scott Koblish
COLORISTS: Steve Oliff & Kevin Somers
LETTERER: Wes Abbott
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
Tony tests out his completed new Iron Man armor, now with extra shielding to protect him from the armor’s energy fields. However, now it’s too big for his briefcase, meaning he has to call for the armor portion while wearing a special suit underneath his clothes. That armor gets put to the test when Nitro The Exploding Man is hired to kill Tony Stark (in case you forgot that was still an issue) during a meeting with local groups to see how the Maria Stark Foundation can benefit and to unveil a new community center. Some people aren’t sure about all this but as Iron Man has to stop Nitro Happy is able to convince them that he’s on their side. Meanwhile, Iron Man uses Nitro’s own exploding powers against him and defeats him. Over in London, Rhodey’s search for the man he’s sure is the fake War Machine continues but he has friends in the way.
What they got right: Again we see Iron Man (Tony) using his brains rather than just his spiffy new armor. We also see Happy stand and deliver when it comes to promoting the Foundation and defending Tony. He’s a good friend and doesn’t deserve what later writers did to him. And for all the different artists involved they’re similar enough that it isn’t a jarring break to see a different art style or artist involved. Also, Nitro is introduced to new readers in an organic manner that tells you how dangerous he is without unnecessary exposition.
What they got wrong: Including the above indictment of the event that triggered that stupid miniseries, in the teaser for the next storyline we have a kid looking at a statue in an old Asian curiosities shop. (Think the store from Gremlins.) But while the owner/worker talks like an old Asian man, when we see him he’s actually a blond-haired white man? Somebody messed up somewhere.
Other notes: I’m neutral enough on the new Iron Man armor that I decided it didn’t fit into the “got right” or “got wrong” category. It doesn’t look bad, and you can see the direction the armors were going to reach the one non-comic fans would know thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and more recent animated fare. I’m kind of partial to the thin costume-esque armor myself and this look (necessarily given the backstory) is more bulky-looking. Still, I can appreciate the thought put into it and that Marvel tries to be closer to the real world than DC (or did, more on that tonight) even if dodgy science is nothing new to the Marvel Universe (the movie’s repulsors-as-propulsion idea makes more sense than somehow storing enough rocket fuel to fly in that thing) and not having the armor with him all the time due to not fitting in the briefcase anymore could make for some good tension. Plus now he can call it if he’s separated from it, something the briefcase armor lacked. It just looks too much like armor, if that makes sense to you.
Recommendation: Another good Iron Man story worth checking out. And Civil War can still stuff it!