While Pepper is being introduced to her new armour (which is run off the miniature arc reactor in her chest and has an onboard computer called Jarvis, very movie), Tony drops in to see an old friend from the Order and say goodbye. Of course, in Tony’s wake, H.A.M.M.E.R. comes calling and interrogates everyone.
Worried for Tony after his visit, his friend sets about contacting Jim Rhodes through a contact system Tony setup incase things went wrong (this gets established during a flashback scene to Tony as Director of SHIELD introducing the system to everyone, as he’s preparing incase everything goes wrong, which we now know it did). Jim’s got no problem tracking Tony down, as Tony’s currently in the Busiek-era armour, which is no match for the technology in Jim’s more modern War Machine suit (or probably even Jim’s cyborg parts).
Of course, while Jim is just worried about Tony, Tony doesn’t want Osborn to see Jim associating with him, so immediately goads Jim into a fight in order to through Norman off the scent. Its a nice scene, with Tony obviously outmatched by the War Machine, Jim trying not to pull his punches, and Tony eventually out-thinking Jim, taking a hit that sinks him but breaching Jim’s armour in the process so he can’t follow him into the ocean.
Norman, of course, is watching all this via satellite. He contacts Namor and asks him to kill Tony.
Its a good issue. I was initially dreading another War Machine vs Iron Man confrontation, as I couldn’t really see why they would be fighting (unless Norman was manipulating Jim, which could’ve tied into current events in the War Machine title). However the way it was played here made total sense.
I’m interested to see where they’re going with Pepper in her own suit of armour. We know from Matt Fraction’s recent Newsarama interview that its going to be more of a rescue suit than the weapon-focus of the Iron Man or War Machine. However given that Pepper’s supposed to be saving Stark Industries, it’ll be interesting to see how this plot develops.
The big thing about this story line for me, is that I can’t really see a way out of it for Tony. Matt Fraction’s been up-front with the fact that what Tony’s doing to himself is irreversible. And we know he’s going to end up wiping a lot of his mind before this plot wraps up (since in the same Newsarama interview Matt Fraction also says Tony will be working his way through his old armours as he’s progressively less able to cope with the levels of sophistication. With everyone in the world gunning for the information in Tony’s head and Tony’s intelligence being completely wiped I really wonder how this will end. Maybe Extremis eventually reboots and will somehow restore the wiped information? Or, being the ultimate strategist, will Tony eventually discover he kept a way to restore himself hidden away (and possibly wiped from his own memory)? He does plan for everything afterall.
It’ll be interesting to see exactly what Tony’s status will be by the end of this storyline. Will his intelligence and memories be completely restored? Ok, its an easy guess he’ll get his intelligence back, as its a defining feature of the character, but how much of his memory will he also retain? Will he still be modified by Extremis, or will that also be permanently gone, returning Tony to a normal human being? Presumably we’re going to see an armour redesign as well, especially if Extremis is indeed toast.