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January 29th, 2006

Note to Marvel Comics continuity nerds.

Just picked up Iron Man #171 (Vol. 1); this is the June 1983 issue, written by Denny O'Neil, pencilled by Luke McDonnell and inked by Steve Mitchell, and is the second issue featuring Tony Stark's pilot and friend, James Rhodes ("Rhodey"), as Iron Man, since Tony was determined at this point to stay off the wagon after Marvel's answer to Lex Luthor, Obadiah (oblah-dee, oblah-dah, whoooooaa...) Stane, pushed him off. Rhodey fights one of the Wrecker's Wrecking Crew, Thunderball (supposedly the intelligent member of the group, though you'd be hard pressed to tell by the way he acts here...), in this one.

Never was a huge fan of Denny O'Neil's work, but I liked his run on Iron Man better than I did his stint on Daredevil. I liked his tenure on IM enough to pick up a couple of issues he'd scripted when I spotted them at a comic shop for a nice price.

Got a real shock when I read this one, though. No, not that Tony Stark was busily pickling his brains for the second (and more realistic) time. Not that Rhodey was still struggling to master the Iron Man suit with the help of a nerdy new hire at Stark International, Morley Erwin. Not even that Morley had an even brainier, and much better looking, big sister named Clytemnestra ("Cly") Erwin, who makes her first appearance here, or that Thunderball's diction was uncharacteristically no more elevated than that of his erstwhile partners in the Wrecking Crew.

No. The real shock for this recovering Marvel Zombie is the fact that Tony Stark hooked up, for this one issue only, with Heather Glenn.

Yes, Heather Glenn: the ditzy, zany, perky, and incredibly annoying Heather Glenn introduced by Marv Wolfman when he wrote Daredevil as one of ol' Hornhead's love interests; the Heather Glenn whose industrialist daddy Maxwell Glenn was controlled by the Purple Man, jugged for nefarious corporate misdeeds, and ordered to commit suicide so that the cops (and Daredevil) couldn't walk the cat back to purple puss's lair, when Jim Shooter wrote DD; the Heather Glenn whom Frank Miller dumbed down and sexed (and boozed) up during his first run on the title as writer and penciller, and who finally committed suicide under Denny O'Neil's watch since Miller had Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Heather had learned DD's true identity when Jim Shooter wrote the comic) destroy her financial independence and her sense of worth on a whim while fending off another old flame, an especially hot-to-trot Black Widow, and trying to prevent a band of evil ninjas called The Hand from resurrecting another paramour, the (then) very much deceased Elektra. Heather Glenn: the bob-haired minx who once told a roomful of would-be suitors: "At ease, men. I'm a flirt, not a gymnast."

That Heather Glenn.

Talk about your toxic relationships....

I was reading Daredevil at the time, even if I'd begged off of Iron Man for almost a year. (I dropped IM from #169 -- Tony's last stint as Shellhead for a couple dozen issues or so -- until #179 -- the start of Rhodey's first fight with the Mandarin -- partly due to difficulty getting to a store to buy the new issues but also partly because I wasn't too jazzed with where Denny O'Neil was taking the book. I had a subscription to DD at the time [DD Vol. 1, #195 hit the stands the same time that IM Vol. 1, #171 did], but let it lapse before the 200th issue [which featured the return of Bullseye, all souped up with adamantium-laced bones, á la Wolverine].) But, man, I sure don't remember Heather mentioning that she'd had a highland fling with Tony Stark, the "cool exec with a heart of steel."

Tony and Heather. Oh, let me count the ways in which that was not such a good idea for either one of them....

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