- By the way, Director Stark... Sub-director Dugan and I have a little bet going about how long it'll be before you assume direct operational control of this mission.
- -- Maria Hill
Appearing in "With Iron Hands (Part I of IV)"
- Lieutenant Crater (First appearance)
Synopsis for "With Iron Hands (Part I of IV)"
Russia asks S.H.I.E.L.D. to investigate potential bomb threats on behalf of the neighboring nation of Kirikstan. Iron Man leads a team of armored Alpha agents and deploys them from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier over Kirikhstan. The team uses Magnometers to triangulate the possible location of several target sites. One of the agents, Gomez, comes too close to one of the targets and a low-yield nuclear weapon explodes. While the other Alphas converge on Gomez's coordinates, Iron Man finds another bomb. He uses atomic force microscopes housed in his gauntlets to disable the weapon, but he is amazed at how technology advanced the miniature nuke truly is.
Back on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Sub-director Dugan and Commander Maria Hill receive a broadcast message from the man responsible for planting the bombs - Nasim Rahimov. Rahimov wants revenge against those who killed his family and mutilated him. Hill transmits the broadcast into Tony's armor and he recognizes Rahimov's face. Tony blames himself for the reason why Rahimov is carrying out these terrorist threats.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Nicolas Weir uses his security level clearance to gain access to sub-basement 4 of the Pentagon. Escorting him throughout the facility is Lieutenant Crater. Crater brings him to a room containing an old Cold War weapon – the Overkill Horn. Weir's true motives quickly become apparent as he releases a Nanomolecular Assembler Cloud into the room. The nanites bond with the Overkill Horn, reconfiguring it to Weir's exact specifications. The machine transforms, grows in size and physically engulfs Lieutenant Crater. Alarms sound and armed soldiers race down to the sub-level as Nicolas Weir makes his escape.
- This issue shipped in the United States on May 21st, 2008.
- Tony Stark makes reference to a woman named Bethany in this issue. This would be Bethany Cabe, a former love interest and the one who first helped Tony deal with the effects of alcoholism during the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline from series one.
- The Overkill Horn is a weapon of mass destruction originally built by Hydra. It was a major plot device used in the "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." vignettes from the mid-late 60's run of Strange Tales.
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
- A common misconception is that the Pentagon is located in Washington, D.C. as shown in this issue. In the real world, it is actually located across the Potomic River in Arlington, Virginia.
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