Tag Archives: Tony Stark

What If Radioactive Man Wasn’t?

This week, we explore the wonderful, murderous origins of Tony Stark, the cool exec with the heart of steel. As we have no doubt discussed before, and if not there was a whole damn movie made about it, Tony builds weapons for the government. While visiting… apparently China although I could swear it used to be Vietnam, Tony is exploded in this amazing panel.

WHOOO!
WHOOO!

Stark regains conciousness back at Evil China HQ with shrapnel on its way into his heart and is forced to work for the villanous and pouch covered Wong Chu (Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar.). Chu sets Tony up with a lab and an assistant and tells him to get cracking building some sort of pro-communist weapon. Instead Stark and his assistant build the original Iron Man armor and luckily for them, Chu doesn’t notice. (“That sure looks like a glove that shoots beams out of it.” “This? Nah. It’s a… bomb. Shaped like a hand. Hand bomb. Super big in the West.” “Ahh, of course. Carry on.) As the Iron Man armor is finally activating, Chu busts in. In our reality, Tony’s assistant sacrifices himself, giving Tony the extra minutes he needs to turn on the armor but here, Chu arrives a little too early, leaving Tony stuck on the table like a… plate. That’s been nailed to a table. Look, similes are hard.

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“You’re dirty, Lips. Ya need a bath.” “No, no! Not the bath, Big Boy! NOT THE BATH!”

After some brief torture, Tony’s shipped to Even More Evil China HQ at the request of Chen Lu (Better known in our reality as Radioactive Man seen here with his eyes safely protected by goggles.).

Chen tortures Tony a bit more because it’s become a very popular passtime in China and then ships him back to the states with a “little” communicator (It’s only coaster sized.) wired into his brain. Chen’s plan is to use the billionare industrialist as a spy and possible assassin. Tony protests of course. For one thing, nobody is paying him. Also he keeps getting tortured for some reason. But Chen activates a device in Tony’s chest plate that deactivates it, forcing the shrapnel closer to his achey breaky heart. Eventually, Tony comes around and gets sent home. After some additional farewell torture.

whatif4803
Apparently Spider-Man creator Steve Ditko did the breakdowns on this. But like… this is some bad fuck-off art.

Back in the States, Tony premiers Iron Man for everyone to see. Of course, he doesn’t tell anyone that he’s the guy in the suit. This was set back in the sixties when everyone had a secret identity, not just Spider-Man. Anyway, Iron Man is welcomed into the brotherhood of superheroes with open arms and Tony spends the next few months doing hero crap and eating Burger King. Problems arise when a pre-eye patch Nick Fury drops by. Fury has this crazy idea that Iron Man’s working for the Chinese, possibly because he read the cover of this comic. Unfortunately, he can’t actually prove it because he has literally no proof. So he mostly just yells and gets angry.

Nick Fury looks good as hell in a thin tie.
Nick Fury looks good as hell in a thin tie.

Soon after, Tony is contacted by some military dude. The government has been working closely with Stark on the formation of SHIELD* and they drop off their recommendation for its first director, Fury. Chen sees this and passes the information on to Hydra who try and assassinate Nick at the eye doctor. (Did you know Nick Fury only wears the eye patch to keep his vision from getting worse? This is the worst trading card fact ever!)

This is the worst origin for Fury's eye patch ever.
This is the worst origin for Fury’s eye patch ever.

Meanwhile, Chen begins observing strange changes in Stark. He’s taken to meditating and touching his belt a lot. “Well,” thinks Chen. “That’s weird but however this dude wants to handle my forcing him to be a traitor to his country is fine by me.” This lax attitude towards meditation will once again be Chen Lu’s undoing.

"Listen, just because you're my exact double doesn't mean you can waste my time."
“Listen, just because you’re my exact double doesn’t mean you can waste my time.”

Fury drops by the Fantastic Four’s appartment to let them in on the fact that Iron Man might still be up to something so a poorly drawn Ben and Johnny swing by Stark Industries where they get into one of their hilarious fights. And then secretly bug the place. They quickly learn that Tony is indeed working for the bad guys and Sue Storm invisibly informs Fury. Unfortunately, Chen has also bugged Fury because espionage is complicated. He sends Iron Man to kill Mr Fantastic at the  Baxter Building because throwing away your top secret super hero spy on a hit mission is a great fucking idea.

Could this be the worst drawing of the Thing I have ever seen? No, because I have attempted to draw the Thing.
Could this be the worst drawing of the Thing I have ever seen? No, because I have attempted to draw the Thing.

Iron Man arrives at the Baxter Building, easily disabling the security. Luckily for him, Reed knows he’s coming and has sent the rest of the four to see a movie. It’s that version of Terminator 2 with Sylvester Stallone from the Last Action Hero because alternate realities are weird. Tony and Reed fight some before Tony escapes, leaving a tape behind for Reed to find. Reed plays it and discovers that it’s a super slowed down message from Tony. Turns out Tony’s meditation has actually been extremely slowed down words begging for help. Reed realizes that Tony’s not actually a traitor, just a prisoner and lures him into some super magnetized room that shuts down his armor.

What the fuck is actually happening here?
What the fuck is actually happening here?

Tony lives but he’s completely paralyzed for some reason. Meanwhile, Reed loads the Iron Man armor with TNT and fires it at China, blowing Chen Lu up. Yeah, seriously.

And that's how America won the war.
And that’s how America won the war.

 

 

*Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

 

What If Ghost Rider Battled The Pope? Also: Something About Daredevil or Whatever.

Everybody who’s anybody remember the time that Hell’s Spirit of Vengeance, the Ghost Rider was separated from his host, stunt bike racer and mullet-haver Johnny Blaze by the evil red wizard, Azaziah, right? Like, I don’t have to go into details about how this Merlin-looking motherfucker deposessed Johnny in an effort to take the Ghost Rider for himself? And Blaze and the Ghost Rider realized they were both far weaker without one another and reunited and it felt so good? Good, I can skip all that boring crap and get straight to the blasphemy.

I literally just noticed that Ghost Rider is pointing like he has something to say but can’t because the Watcher won’t shut up.

In this new reality, Azaziah knocks Johnny on his ass and gives himself the power of the Ghost Rider easily. Then it’s an easy thing to summon Ghost Rider’s hellcycle and go out to try and take over the world. I’m a little delighted by the idea of an immortal wizard turning into an Evel Knievel style stunt racer but I guess thing about different hosts making different looking Ghost Riders hadn’t been written yet. Shame. I’d kill for a bearded skeleton riding around in a flaming wagon like Satan’s own Santa Claus.

“So long, suckers!”

Azaziah takes his motorcycle across the sea, heading straight for Vatican City in Rome. His goal: To murder the Pope! For by sacrificing the pope, Azaziah will be able to control the minds of every Christian on Earth. Or all of Christendom, as he repeats over and over and over again.

Not seen: Ghost Rider doing a sick jump off a whale.

Back in America, Johnny regains conciousness. Remembering Azaziah’s words about planning to attack “the pearl of Christendom”, Johnny realizes that this was the name people in the middle ages gave the “seat of papal authority”. Which is pretty good for shit-kicking hick in need of a haircut. Friggin’ hippy. Johnny realizes his chances of biking to Rome are pretty low so he steals a plane and gives chase.

Johnny Blaze: Theology Major.

 

Meanwhile, Azaziah has rampaged through Rome, openly mocked the papal guard for their ridiculous uniforms and taken the Pope to one of Vatican City’s many ancient torture chambers.

Every single Pope panel is hilarious to me.

Johnny finally arrives on a stolen Vespa but he busts his leg trying to jump the circle of hellfire surrounding the Vatican. Nice one, buddy. I thought jumping over fire on a motorcycle was literally the one thing you were good at. Azaziah quickly finds him and chains him to a wall, knowing he can’t kill Johnny without killing himself as well. Wonder if that’ll come up later.

Azaziah returns to normal (or “Old Man in a flowery dress form.”) and prepares to sacrifice the Pope, summoning a huge scarlet scimitar to stab him with. Gotta say, the pope’s taking all of this surprisngly well. He spends a lot of time just hanging out.

See? Here he is again, just being the Pope on a giant stone altar while Ghost Rider rubs his sore foot.

Luckily, Johnny’s able to pick the locks on his chains. By which I mean he pulls them out of the wall. Lousy shoddy ancient masonary. He’s then able to snatch the scimitar away before it can commit papalcide. Azaziah returns to Ghost Rider form but Johnny bonks him on the skull with the shattered masonary and then stabs him with the scimitar. This final act of heroism kills them both, leaving a very confused Pope wondering just what the fuck has happened.

“God be with you, hick who saved me from Alan Moore in a dress.”

Next we go to our backup AND cover story, an actual Daredevil comic by Frank “I’m not crazy yet” Miller! This one starts off simply enough with Daredevil’s usual origin: Kid saves blind man, kid gets hit in the face with chemicals, chemicals fall down storm drain, chemicals mutate four baby turtles and a rat, turtles and rat form media empire that lasts thirty years. Simple!

 

This time around, we learn that the chemical truck in question belonged to Tony Stark and Stark’s been following it across town to keep an eye on it. When Matt Murdock’s face gets splattered, Tony bustles the kid into his awesome flying car and takes him to the best medical facility on the planet: the SHIELD helicarrier on a rare day when it isn’t crashing.

Maybe you could also do something about that GIANT FIRE, Tony.

Unfortunately, all of this has been noticed by an agent of HYDRA who had been following Stark following the chemical truck. (You know, I’ve read a lot of Daredevil origins and I never remembered the truck accident being this BUSY.) The Hydra Agent figures an acid splattered teenager might be worth having for some reason and sends a Matt Murdock doppleganger robot over to Matt’s father’s gym. The fact that they have a Matt Murdock robot just kicking around raises the question of why they would want a human Matt Murdock who also can’t see at all but whatever. Robo-Matt kidnaps Matt’s father and then disappears from the story.

“I was replaced by a robot” is probably the absolute last thing Jack Murdock expected when he asked Matt how his day went. Runner-up is probably “went blind, got super powers.”

Up on the Helicarrier Stark and Fury have discovered that the chemicals have enhanced all of Matt’s senses. And dehanced his eyes significantly. Matt’s pretty bummed but Fury thinks that his new powers will make Matt a perfect SHIELD agent and begins training him right away.

“We swiped this technology from Professor X’s danger room, kid. Hope you survive the experience.”

About a month passes and Matt starts asking Fury about his father. Matt’s been missing a while and he suspects his father is worrying. Unbeknownest to Matt, Fury’s had SHIELD agents looking for Matt’s dad since they picked Matt up and had no luck finding him. Fury lies to Matt, making some lie up about Matt’s father being sent on a completely legitimate cruise or something but Matt realizes he’s lying and quits.

Matt’s just wondering how he’s going to locate his father when he’s approached by the shittiest double agent ever to work with SHIELD or Hydra. She offers to take Matt to see his father and the two of them try to escape the Helicarrier. It takes about three seconds for them to be recaptured by Fury who tells Matt that they’ve located the Hydra base Matt’s father is stashed at. Which is really handy considering an hour ago, nobody had any idea where the hell he was. Also if you’re wondering who the double agent was, what side she was actually on and what happened to her, join the club. She too disappears from the story.

“Let’s just say I’m the world’s worst double agent and I’m willing to blow my cover to a kid who’s worked here for a month.”

Matt approaches the underwater Hydra base, easily defeating the guards in some really damn sharp Frank Miller action sequences. He quickly rescues his dad from the pole in a giant empty room he was strapped to and then they escape. Fury also shows up to kill some people. Hooray!

I don’t have anything to say here, I just love this fucking action sequence.

Safely back on the Helicarrier, Matt finally tells his father what’s been going on and takes a job with SHIELD. Matt’s father celebrates that his son has found a good, useful career. And Robot-Matt and the SHIELD Double Agent have a Vegas wedding.