Iron Man volume 3 #72
Marvel Comics (November, 2003)
“Vegas Bleeds Neon” finale
WRITER: Robin Laws
PENCILER: Robert Teranishi
INKERS: Eric Cannon, Rick Perrotta, & Norm Rapmund
COLORIST: Tony Avina
LETTERER: Randy Gentile
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Now with Iron Man infected with the nanoplasm, Mo mentions that another infected can draw it out. As the nanoplasm tries to convince Tony to join with it, he confronts Vicus and learns that he’s planning to use Hughes’ old cropduster to spread the nanoplasm virus across Las Vegas. Iron Man takes the plane and tricks Vicus into taking all his nanoplasm, but Vicus evaporates (only to show up later in the desert to be picked up by an unsuspecting person). While he considers buying the now available casino hotel he decides that it may not be in his best interest after this and that he shouldn’t pursue a relationship with Saige when his situation with Rumiko is still up in the air.
What they got right: I’ve been complaining about a lack of supervillains, but this is also the kind of threat Iron Man’s dealt with in the past. It is a satisfactory ending, even without a big final battle. I don’t think Vicus shows up again after this arc but I’m not sure if he’d make a good recurring threat or not to be honest, so this is a decent compromise.
What they got wrong: The story tries to blame Howard Hughes decent into madness partially on his having supposedly found the nanoplasm virus being and fighting back against it when he was infected. I don’t like when stories do this. It seems like it’s trying to take away the actual tragedy of Hughes’ life even while discussing the two “phases” of his life (the young, healthy man versus the old, messed up man). I’m not really a fan.
Recommendation: Overall “Vegas Bleeds Neon” was a decent story. It’s not a must-own arc but not a bad read either.