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How Did Captain America and Iron Man Quash Their Armor Wars Beef?

This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.

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Today, we look at how Iron Man and Captain America got over their big argument during Armor Wars (and then another big one during Operation Galactic Storm).

I'll recap the conflict first (this is basically just an "Our Lives Together" I did last year). Steve Rogers had decided to give up the name "Captain America" because he was not willing to work for the Commission that had been put in charge of the Cap name and the famous shield. So they ended up giving the title (and the shield) to John Walker, the hero who had been known as Super-Patriot when he fought Steve Rogers a few times. Ultimately, though, Steve Rogers couldn't just quit being a superhero just because he wasn't working for the government any more, so he debuted a new costume that was a slight variation on his Captain America costume and began calling himself strictly "The Captain."

In Captain America #339 (by Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer and Tony DeZuniga), Tony Stark makes Cap a new shield...

Tony Stark, meanwhile, was really angry after discovering that the Spymaster had sold Tony Stark's armor technology to the villainous businessman, Justin Hammer. Tony decides that he couldn't live with the idea of people possibly doing evil things with his technology. Since he knew he had no legal claim to stop the various people who had built his technology into their armors (as the technology had been sold to them through multiple different transactions), he just began to use "negator packs" to wipe out the Stark technology in the armors. People could rebuild their armors, of course, but they would no longer be using his technology to do so.

As you might imagine, eventually this was going to lead Tony into some fights with people who were NOT supervillains. In Iron Man #228 (by Bob Layton, David Michelinie and M.D. Bright), Iron Man and his friend, James Rhodes, snuck into the Vault, the prison designed to hold supervillains in it, and they set out to negate the armor worn by the prison guards there, known as the Guardsmen.

When they sent out an alert of the prison being attacked, the Captain was in the area and he shows up to stop the attack, and he is shocked to learn that it is his friend, Iron Man, who is behind it!

Man, Cap's stare could turn things to stone!!

Captain America's side of the fight followed right from the attack...

What Tony failed to realize, though, was that his attack on the Vault led to a malfunction and some prisoners escaped! So Cap tracked them down and brought them to justice.

In the next issue, Cap returned the shield to Tony and tried to get Tony to surrender himself...

After a brief fight (that Iron Man wins), Iron Man takes off, promising to one day make it up to Cap...

About a half of a year later, Tony approaches Steve (who has now returned to being Captain America) in Iron Man #238 (by Layton, Michelinie and Jackson Guice) and asks him to effectively call a truce, as they have to work together as superheroes. Cap agrees, but obviously nothing has been really fixed...

Things fired back up between the two heroes during Operation: Galactic Storm. They complained about each other throughout the war between the Shi'ar and the Kree, but things went to another level in Avengers #347 (by Bob Harras, Steve Epting an Tom Palmer) when the Avengers learned that the Supreme Intelligence had caused a Nega-Bomb to be dropped on his own people, killing billions as part of a plot to kickstart the evolution of the Kree Empire.

Some of the Avengers were thinking that they had to kill the Supreme Intelligence to make him pay, but Cap said no. Iron Man, though, had other ideas...

The "make him pay" group headed off and successfully killed the Supreme Intelligence (don't worry, that dude has contingencies on top of contingencies, so he returned later) and Iron Man just tells Cap to save his homilies. Ouch...

And then when the Shi'ar show up to claim the Kree Empire, Cap gives a big speech about how disappointed he is in his fellow heroes...

Okay, so that leads directly into Captain America #401 (by Mark Gruenwald, Rik Levins and Danny Bulanadi), where Cap is still steaming about everything when Tony seeks him out in a bar (where Cap had been hanging out with Hawkeye, during Hawkeye's brief "super moralistic" period) and Tony essentially begs forgiveness...

Kind of weird to see Iron Man groveling outside of his book, but hey, it got the job done! They were pals again...until Civil War, of course. But that's another story.

Okay, folks, there are tons of examples of major changes being made to characters, seemingly "forever," that were then reversed, so feel to write in with suggestions for future editions of this column to brianc@cbr.com!

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