Iron Man volume 3 #28
Marvel Comics (May, 2000)
“The Mask In The Iron Man” part 3: “My Own Worst Enemy”
WRITER: Joe Quesada
ARTISTS: Sean Chen & Rob Hunter, Alitha Martinez & Rodney Ramos
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
As Tony deals with the fact that his armor has gained sentience, Pepper and Happy start questioning if working for Tony isn’t in the way of their potentially getting back together, and an angry Rumiko is dating someone else. However, that someone else convinces her to fight for the man she really loves, which is Tony. Back at Stark’s Whiplash shows up to kill Iron Man, this time with an exosuit that allows him more arms to use more whips. Iron Man (Tony and the armor working together) is more than a match with their new dynamic but the armor has only known anger, pain, and death, and that’s how he treats Whiplash, even after getting him to spill the name of the man who hired Whiplash to kill him, Trevor Donohue. Whiplash begs for his life, only wanting to get his son back, but the armor ends up killing him, dropping his body into the ocean without a second thought.
What they got right: The concept of Tony’s armor coming alive and turning evil is an interesting idea–at least in the short-term but I’ll get back to that. The art is pretty good. There’s a set of scenes between Happy and Pepper, Rumiko and her date Solomon, and Tony and the armor that are well-connected between conversations. Quesada can be a good writer, eve if some of his stories have questionable things about them. Remember, this is the guy who as editor-in-chief killed the Spider-Marriage while he’s trying to put Tony in a committed relationship with Rumiko and that feels backwards to me. No, I don’t mean Peter should date Rumiko but why put Mary Jane in the Iron Man stories? Right, off-topic. Moving on.
What they got wrong: On the other hand, from what I remember about this story arc, he’s wasting a potentially interesting long-term story using the sentient armor. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the Firestorm concept from DC or the approach of the Headmasters in the original Transformers cartoon but imagine Tony trying to teach the armor how to be a hero, or at least understand humanity. There is potential for humor and exploring the human condition that I think was lost in the long-term in favor of a story that science fiction has done before. Then there’s the same opening monologue again and again about Tony’s life and his heart (and I know where that last one is going–if you do too expect a rant when we get there), the direction that Happy and Pepper appear to be going away from Tony thus tearing apart his supporting cast, and if we could please stop putting Jocasta’s head on a sexy human woman’s body when she’s playing virtual therapist I would thank you very much. Also, killing Whiplash as if the S&M gear wasn’t bad enough after making us feel sorry for him.
Recommendation: There are some good technical points writing wise and decent art but I see potentials being squandered and that disappoints me. It might be worth a look though.