“I shouldn’t have hired J’onn as my contractor.”

Iron Man volume 3 #52

Marvel Comics (May, 2002)

“Jane Doe”

WRITER: Mike Grell

PENCILER: Michael Ryan

INKER: Sean Parsons

COLORIST: Arsla Rozegar

LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos


EDITOR: Tom Brevoort

Iron Man manages to escape with Abby but she dies at the scene, the paramedic sure she was murdered. The investigating detectives know about her history as a prostitute but Tony insists she didn’t go back to that life. Then a put-up assistant of one of Tony’s investors is killed, with a rather weak suicide note. Tony investigates and gets Shelly’s help in setting a trap for the real murderer, which turns out to be the same guy who attacked Abby all those years ago, or rather his wife trying to hide his fetish for young girls to protect his run for the Senate. (The assistant was killed because she wanted to blackmail the couple.) She decides to kill him and herself.

What they got right: The story itself is quite good. The investors are suspects to the audience simply because they matter so much to the story but it’s still a surprise when the killer is revealed. This isn’t a mystery the audience can join in on, but more watching Tony ferret them out. The reveal could be inspired by Bill Clinton’s infidelity and Hillary ignoring it for her own political goals, if you subscribe to that theory, but if you don’t the villains are still villains and not necessarily a commentary on same. In other words they hold up as villains apart from “current events” or political leanings. I miss those days. The best scene is easily when Tony looks at the pictures of what little memory Abby had of her attacker and the slow burn of rage to a release, followed by Shelly still in the room unseen by even Tony until she speaks up. Tony gets to show his human side and I have no problem with that.

What they got wrong: Granted the story isn’t one for Iron Man to show a whole lot of action but this slowly becomes the norm during this run rather than the exception. Odd use of a Superman reference. Also, what are the odds (and this is one of those necessary plot holes that still gets added to a Cinema Sins counter) that Shelly would get the right guy during her undercover assignment presumably on the first try? (Or did she actually have a few clients she either turned down or went along with for her cover? I’m not sure Tony would be okay with that.)

Recommendation: A good two-part story, and something different for Iron Man as it’s more about Tony Stark doing the hero stuff without the armor. Too bad it didn’t stay different for awhile. You’ll see what I mean but otherwise worth looking into.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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