INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #169-170 (1983)

We’re here.

james rhodes becomes first black iron man

This is it. Tony’s drunk again, and so we get a black Iron Man!

This isn’t the first time (Eddie March was Iron Man back in the ’60s), but it’s certainly the most important and long-lasting time.

iron man 169 defeating billboards

After last issue, where he beat the crap out of Machine Man for no reason, Tony goes on a rampage, smashing liquor billboards across the city.  Daredevil assumes he has a good reason to be destroying private property.

Yeah, it’s just an excuse to put DD in the issue.  But it’s kinda in-character because you’d expect superheroes to stick together and think the best of each other, given as how they’re so often put in unexplainable, challenging situations.  And perhaps it makes even more sense for Daredevil, whose secret identity is defense attorney Matt Murdock, to make excuses for drunk Tony.  (Still, it’s odd that Daredevil doesn’t even consider that something’s wrong with Iron Man.) 

This is all part of Obadiah Stane’s plot, which also involves Tony’s girlfriend Indreis, to ruin Stark and get his company.

When Iron Man is too incapacitated to fight off an attack on Stark Industries by F-list villain Magma, James Rhodes takes the armor from him.  And finds it’s not so easy to control….

When Rhodey fends off the attack, Tony acknowledges that he’s too far gone to be Iron Man and tells him to keep it.

This is the best Denny O’Neil story for Marvel of all time. Full top 10 here.

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