Iron Man volume 3 #30
Marvel Comics (July, 2000)
“The Mask In The Iron Man” finale: “Blood Brothers”
WRITER: Joe Quesada
PENCILER: Sean Chen
INKER: Rob Hunter
COLORIST: Steve Oliff
LETTERER: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
The armor has taken Tony to an island in the Bikini Atolls that still isn’t safe to live on but not so radioactive that it can’t use it to torture Tony into joining with it. (It and Venom should form a support group.) Tony still refuses, and when “Iron Man” responds to the call from last week’s New Warriors review Tony manages to free himself. He sets up traps and manages to damage the armor, who despite insisting he and Tony bond has somehow been forming his own internals. Then Tony has another heart attack. The armor sacrifices its power supply to form a new artificial heart and perishes. Tony manages to send a distress call and gives the armor a proper burial as best he can.
What they got right: The fight between Tony and the armor was really good. We got to see Tony use his brains to survive and fight back. I like when a hero can show he or she is more than their powers or gadgets.
What they got wrong: To paraphrase that speech Quesada had to have in every open of the arc (which would have worked better as a bookend for the beginning and end of the arc instead of the beginning of each issue) “and then there’s the problem of his heart”. This could just be me but giving Tony an artificial heart is really a step backwards for the character. It made sense for the MCU to bring it in because it’s part of Tony’s backstory but that’s a new continuity that hasn’t embraced the superscience that led to Tony not needed an artificial heart, and this is just starting 2000 as he wrote this with no idea of the idea returning except maybe in the 90s cartoon and they all but ignored it in season two (the good season). I don’t see any reason to bring it back. It’s not the “core of the character” to have a fake heart and it hasn’t been part of him for years at this point.
Recommendation: A good finale to an arc that’s been a mixed bag really. The story is okay although I saw potential to do something amazing tossed aside. Tony gets to show what he can do without the armor but then they force back in the artificial heart. Mildly recommended but not one of my favorite stories.