FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Iron Man II

Siskoid and Shag's coverage of Marvel Team-Up continues with issue #145 (September 1984) by Tony Isabella, Greg LaRocque and Mike Esposito, starring Spider-Man and Rhodey's Iron Man! It's "Hometown Boy"!

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16 responses to “FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Iron Man II

  1. Another great episode Siskoid & Shag!
    My theory on why Marvel changed the villain’s name from Whiplash to Blacklash, is that Whiplash is an actual word and couldn’t be copyrighted. Again that’s only a theory.
    As for Spidey and Rhodes having other team ups, well, I couldn’t find much either. This is likely due to the fact that Rhodes moved to California shortly after taking on the role of Iron Man. This put the entire country between him and Spider-Man, not to mention most of Marvel’s other superhero characters. It made it much more unlikely that Rhodes and Spider-Man would have that chance encounter, leading to a team up. I do want to point out that in Secret Wars issue 3, Spider-Man enters a room where Rhodes is suiting up in the armor to warn him of the villains attack on the base. The room is immediately blown up by Ultron and Spider-Man is knocked unconscious. The “team-up” consists of Iron Man digging Spidey out of the rubble once Ultron leaves.
    It’s unfortunate that Peter Parker and James Rhodes didn’t team up more, especially when you consider how many team ups Parker and Tony Stark had.

    1. Copyright concerns might have been behind the name change (it frequently is), but considering how many of Spider-man’s enemies are simply named for animals (Vulture, Kangaroo, Hammerhead, Tarantula, Puma, Grizzly, Gibbon, Jackal, Ox, Rhino, Lizard, Beetle, etc.), even without throwing in “Doctor” or “-man” to make it distinctive, the problem might have involved a conflicting claim instead of establishing one.

  2. I wonder if the estate of cowboy actor called “Lash”Larue had anything to with the change of whiplash since I’ve read some of “lash” Larue’s comics which published originally by Fawcett comics had any thing to do with it .

  3. Here’s my idea for a cross over James Rhodes iron man meets Grimlock and the Dino bots from transformers and they go on adventure and fight whiplash and some random decpticons . And during that adventure they end up teaming up Johnny 5 and the pro wrestler sting given modified iron man armor from a future Tony stark .

  4. Ok Shag, I am abiding by Sikos stringent rules on you. Can you count my comment now ?

    I loved this issue and would have loved to see this version of Black Lash in an Ironman film

  5. After Whiplash changed his name to Blacklash, another villain was introduced with the name Whiplash. She was part of an all-female villain group called the Femme Fatales. They made their debut in the Erik Larsen era of Spider-Man.

    Why did Marvel change Whiplash’s name? Seems like they wanted to put a new coat of paint on an older villain, so to speak. As Whiplash he wore a doofy purple and orange color combo and we can all agree the Blacklash costume is much sleeker and more sinister. Though as Blacklash he looks a LOT like Killer Shrike. They even both have the long helmet ponytail plume thing!

    I have a soft spot for Whiplash bc he’s one of the first Iron Man villains I encountered, in the trade paperback that collected the first Demon in a Bottle story. Whiplash, Melter, and Blizzard try to rob a casino while Tony Stark happens to be there with Bethany Cabe (Blacklash really does have rotten luck) and the fight that ensues is just great.

    It’ll be revealed that Blacklash is one of several bad guys financed and equipped by Justin Hammer, and it’s in this capacity we kept seeing Blacklash. I like him as a gun for hire. His gimmick is pretty unique and in the comics they’ve convincingly made him a genuine threat.

    As for James Rhodes, I first encountered him in both the above-mentioned trade and in then-contemporary Iron Man comics during the Armor Wars storyline. I always thought he was cool, I like those “normal” supporting characters that are very skilled and capable fighters in their own right (Bethany Cabe was another one). I completely missed the Rhodey as Iron Man era, though! I think I first saw it alluded to in West Coast Avengers annual #1 when they called in some reserve members. I thought it was cool there was another Iron Man (referrred to as the alternate Iron Man in the story) who could suit up and help when needed. Like all of us in the early 90s, I thought Rhodey becoming War Machine was RAD. I tried out the first few issues of his first solo series when it first came out and didn’t dig it. It’s bizarre that modern comics keep killing him off.

    It makes sense that Iron Man and Green Lantern are among the first to get a replacement/alternate person…after all, other people can use the armor or power ring. Other characters it’s a little trickier. A couple others that came to mind as I heard you guys talk about replacement heroes are Eric Masterson as Thor and then later Thunderstrike and Connor Hawke as the second Green Arrow, who simply kept on being Green Arrow even after Ollie came back.

  6. Thanks for entertaining coverage of an enjoyable comic, Siskoid and Shag.

    I always liked Rhodey, for all the reasons you mentioned. I also appreciated that they made him a bigger guy in the comics, like someone who would’ve played fullback at a Division II college, and a Marine to boot. He didn’t need the suit to be intimidating, and he didn’t need million$ to get a date. I thought Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle each did great work in their own way, but neither was the Rhodey I had imagined. And you would think I would appreciate their making him Air Force (and part of me did), but it didn’t seem quite right. A Marine helo pilot is grittier duty, and that would work for Rhodey (although we would appreciate his slickness in the Air Force). Maybe a cross-commission?

    Regardless, I’ve heard RUMINT that our (the Air Force’s) Public Affairs office went out of their way to accommodate the Iron Man movie makers. If so, it paid off in spades. Best two-hour recruiting commercial in years!

  7. Another fun episode!

    One possible “why don’t you patent this instead of going into a life of crime” could be: Reed Richards probably already has a patent on it. A story of a constantly frustrated inventor who can only find success in a life of crime is a story which needs to be told for many of these characters.

    “Why the unibeam and not the repulsors?” Could this story have taken place during the subplot in the Iron Man issues where there were problems with the repulsors and he was wearing fake gloves so enemies didn’t know he was slightly weaker? (I can’t find my copy of this issue and don’t know if he used them at all in this story.)

  8. My first Iron Man comic was 197, so I’ve very familiar with Rhodey being Iron Man and the computer start-up that Tony was working with at the time.

    The only reason that I can think of with changing Whiplash to Blacklash is that you can’t copyright the name Whiplash, as it’s a common term.

    If you need me, I’ll be waiting by the phone for when you get around to issue 113. 😉

  9. Like Shag, my first real Iron Man was Rhodey. I had read a hardcover of Demon in a Bottle (with a gorgeous BILL SIENKIEWICZ cover (copy/pasted for spelling!(parenthesis in parenthesis?))). Which I had borrowed from my local library before I started to really collect comics. But by the time I was a weekly comic store kid Tony was out and Rhodey was in.

    I collected Iron Man for a while after that, and I really enjoyed the dueling storylines in that one where you followed James Rhodes as Iron Man and an ongoing subplot with Tony Stark on his road to recovery.

    I also felt that Iron Man 3 called back to this run because there was an issue where Tony had to fight some villain because Rhodes was away and he used scraps in the toolbox to make weapons and a functioning costume. Sort of similar to the MCU moment where he had to prove he was more than a suit of armor and raids a hardware store. That scene always had me think back to this era of Iron Man. Insert PTSD and panic attacks in the place of alcoholism and the story arcs are very similar.

    I loved the story in this one and it holds up so well. I feel like Marvel in the mid 80s gave us a few of these kind of utility super villain POV as they struggle with their career path as bad guys. The original Frog Man, Sandman, Molecule Man, Stilt Man and Gladiator are a few that I can remember being the “main character” of a story like this one.

    My only thought on the Whiplash/Blacklash controversy is that a whip and a lash are the same thing and maybe an editor or writer thought that was redundant.

  10. This era of MTU was such a delight. In this issue, we get TWO heroes with major changes to their status quo: a different person in the same costume, and a different costume for the same person. That concept alone made this team-up essential before the series wrapped.

    I knew Tony was Iron Man starting with the Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons, and then in Avengers comics. I hardly ever read his comic before this era, mostly because my collecting hadn’t started in earnest yet. But I saw the armor switch mentioned in Avengers #232(?), and that story hinted Cap would appear in an upcoming Iron Man issue. So I got that one and read a few of Rhodey’s early adventures, which were great fun. Spinner rack fickleness didn’t let it last, but I enjoyed seeing Rhodey in West Coast Avengers, during my big Iron Man collecting era, and into War Machine and Force Works, because Force Freaking Works!

    So, my thought on Blacklash’s original name: the word whiplash is not a weapon, but a neck injury. Maybe some writer or editor thought it was wimpy or insensitive to use that for a villain name. But in today’s comics, that’s exactly the kind of name villains or antiheroes would use, like Fracture or Cardiac.

    I got a kick out of the stories by David Michelinie where he’d have Justin Hammer team Blacklash up with other villains like Beetle, Blizzard, and Boomerang, for what he’d call his B-Team. 🙂

    Always a pleasure, Team-sters!

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