Iron Man volume 3 #26
Marvel Comics (March, 2000)
“The Mask In The Iron Man” part 1: “A Boy And His Toys”
WRITER: Joe Quesada
PENCILER: Sean Chen
INKER: Rob Hunter
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
After the events of Iron Man #1/2, which you could only get if you picked up the right issue of Wizard magazine (which I didn’t) Tony and Rumiko have been going around having fun. In Miami for New Years, a guy tries to get a little too close to Rumiko and Tony gets punched trying to stop him, with Rumiko punching the other guy out. Later at a convention (the other reason they’re there), Tony and Iron Man (via programmed responses) show off a new bit of tech called S.K.I.N. (Synth-Kinetic Interfacing Nano-fluid) for a company called Askew, who Tony helped out as part of Stark Solutions. Part of the demonstration gets him in trouble with Rumiko briefly but not as much as when Rumiko tells him she’s in love with him, in front of witnesses at yet another club, and a dumbfounded Tony can’t say anything. Taking a flight in his armor to clear his head, only to get attacked by Whiplash, who damages the armor but hurts himself in the process. As Iron Man crashed to Earth the armor seems to be calling for help, but when Tony wakes up he’s in a hospital room…and the headline in today’s paper is “Tony Stark Is Iron Man!”
What they got right: Even though Busiek was replaced with Quesada I don’t know if Busiek just wanted to move on or if that joke in the credits about Quesada using favors to get the gig is actually a joke. The S,K.I.N. idea is interesting technology and we’ll see how it’s used later on. Tony’s identity being revealed had been done before this but there some potential for a story there.
What they got wrong: Although as memory serves it won’t be, and it’s more the fault of the next writer failing to properly build on Quesada’s story, but then Quesada is guilty of that as well. The Busiek/Stern penned previous issue seemed to settle the whole addiction angle but Quesada wants to bring up his alcoholism and numerous heart issues and there’s more to Tony Stark than that to be explored. Also he amps up Whiplash’s recent BDSM fetish, which isn’t his idea but still stupid, up to Fifty Shades Of Grey levels and no thank you. It was dumb before but it’s downright disturbing now.
Recommendation: It’s not a bad start but I remember where this story is headed and that makes recommending it a bit difficult.