When Cap Got Caught in the Path of Iron Man's Armor Wars

In "Our Lives Together," I spotlight some of the more interesting examples of shared comic book universes. You know, crossovers that aren't exactly crossovers.

I'll freely admit that this instance is pushing the limits on whether it should count as a crossover or not. I think the main thing for me on whether something is or is not a crossover is whether you need both issues to get the full story. In this instance, they are designed in such a way that you really can just read one of the two issues to get the full story, so I'm counting it as part of this feature about shared continuity.

An amusing part of this story is that it takes place during a period where both Steve Rogers and Tony Stark were going through some dramatic changes in their lives. In the case of Steve Rogers, he 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!!

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