Iron Man #118-119 (1979)
Writer: Dave Micheline
Layouts: John Byrne
Finished Art/Plot: Bob Layton
Letterer: #118: Joe Rosen, #119: Diana Albers
Colors:Carl Gafford

Having fended off an attack by Spy Master, Tony Stark finds that the villain's weapons hold Stark International serial numbers dating back to when the company made munitions. Stark uses his trip to a NATO meeting aboard the SHIELD helicarrier as an excuse to search for clues on the Spy Master. There he runs afoul of a traitorous group of SHIELD agents who attempt to hijack the carrier and use it to take over Stark International. After nearly crashing into Eastern Europe, Iron Man saves SHIELD and its flying headquarters. Afterwards Stark checks data collected aboard the helicarrier and learns SHIELD owns controlling shares in Stark International. Stark confronts Fury and the colonel reveals that the U.S. government is using SHIELD to gain control of the company so it will produce weapons again. 

  • Continuity Notes
  • Helicarrier features glimpsed in these issues inclue a network of rapid transport tubes and a large confrence chamber.
  • SHIELD is revealed to have bought stock in Stark International to ensure it continues to produce munitions and arms
  • Issue 120 features a flashback to the events in these two issues

One of the most oft-cited stories showing Nick Fury to be less the hero then previous adventures have shown him to be. Artwise the story is a knockout with an especially standout full-page spread of the helicarrier in issue 118 and both Stark and Fury are in their shaggy, 70's hair glory ( Stark quips "If I don't get rid of this five o'clock shadow, I'll be tagged as Nick Fury instead!"). The story is action packed with highlights being a midair quick change for Stark into Iron Man, a Soviet attack on the helicarrier and Iron Man's saving the carrier from being scuttled across the mountains below. 

Nick Fury's characterization here is nothing unheroric until the final act where it becomes a case of 'just following orders, son' justification.  Although its not unreasonable to assume Nick Fury would perhaps have found it necessary to control Stark International, his stating that he places love of country above friendship is slightly out of character. Unless in the most dire of situations, its hard to think Fury would do such a thing and the circumstances did not seem to merit it. Also, in light of the actions taken by the hijackers for the very same purpose, Fury's actions seem especially puzzling. However, there could be a reason for all this...

Subsequent issues dealing with this plotline indicate Fury was just following orders, however its no surprise that Stark would be angry these actions taken by Fury.