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Quote1.png I turned my back on someone who needed me once before, and I've had to live with it ever since. Quote2.png
Bethany Cabe

Appearing in "A Man's Home is His Battlefield..."

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Synopsis for "A Man's Home is His Battlefield..."

The story opens in Justin Hammer's Villa, where Iron Man blasts away the army of super-villains. Iron Man asks Justin Hammer himself, what is a businessman doing with a goon squad like this. Hammer replies that the explanation is quite obvious. Iron Man's foes need money to develop their weapons, to pay for their bail, to replace broken equipment. He offers sanctuary and financial aid to these gentlemen and ladies, in exchange for 50% of their profits.

Stiletto is the first villain to recover from the attack, and he starts counter-attacking. He throws as many knives as possible to Iron Man. He is aware that his knives can not penetrate Iron Man Armor Model 4, but he is counting on some of the knives going through the holes in Iron Man's mask. Warned of Stiletto's intentions, Iron Man lowers Plexiglas shields over his mouth and eye slits, making him invulnerable to Stiletto's attack. Discus next attempts to take Iron Man down by throwing discs at him. Iron uses reverse-magnetism to throw the discs back. The discs take down Stiletto and Discus.

Justin Hammer concludes that none of the villains can face Iron Man alone. He orders them to attack en masse. The villains obey his command and join forces against Iron Man. Iron Man uses physical force against the crowd of assailants, and he is secretly pleased with this opportunity. He has been through enough frustrating and humiliating experiences lately, and he is taking out his frustrations on the villains.

Iron Man suddenly starts flying, transporting the surrounding villains with him. He flies through a wall and to the open ground outside. He then turns his attention to the Beetle. He grabs hold of the wings of Beetle Armor MK I and removes them. Now unable to fly, the Beetle calls for help. The Leap-Frog responds to the call and attempts to rescue the Beetle. Iron Man takes control of the Beetle's tentacles, uses them to swing the Beetle around, and forcefully throws the Beetle to the Leap-Frog. The two villains collide in mid-air, taking them both out of the fight.

Hammer orders the Water Wizard to use his powers against Iron Man. The Wizard questions Hammer's sanity and attempts to escape instead. He mentions almost getting killed while fighting in the Vietnam War, while his only opponent was an army. He uses his powers to create a surf-scooter to use as his escape vehicle. He acknowledges that he still owes Hammer money for the bail he paid, but promises to eventually send him a check to settle the debt. Hammer is angry because of the Water Wizard's lack of gratitude. But he takes note that he and his operatives might need to escape the Villa. He instructs Spymaster to alert the Villa's navigator that he needs to prepare the lift pods.

As the battle continues, the Blizzard and the Melter combine their powers for an attack against the Iron Man armor. They fail to even scratch the armor. Iron Man grabs both villains and causes their heads to collide. They are both out of the fight. Constrictor then traps Iron Man in his coils. Man-Killer interferes and instructs Constrictor to leave Iron Man to her. She comments that the hero is just a man. In response, Iron Man uses his image projector on her. Man-Killer sees herself surrounded by Iron Men and starts fighting them. She does not realize that all eight of them are illusions, since the real Iron Man has still not escaped the coils of the Constrictor.

Iron Man tells the Constrictor that he has read information about him. He has read how the Constrictor stuns people with his electric coils. He informs the villain that Iron Man operates on electricity. He can absorb the Constrictor's electric attacks and use their power to boost his own strength. He uses the additional strength to stretch the Adamantium coils of the Constrictor and to slip right out of them. He then grabs the coils and uses to swing the Constrictor around. He sends the villain flying towards Man-Killer, taking them both out of the fight.

The next villain to challenge Iron Man is the Porcupine. He considers the Constrictor and Man-Killer to be mere amateurs, while he is a professional. He comes equipped with mini-grenades, with enough of a concussion to stop Iron Man. Iron Man uses his fists to shut down the grenade launcher of the Porcupine Armor, preventing the grenades from escaping. A worried Porcupine notes that the launch process had already begun, and the grenades are still going to explode. The grenades explode within the Armor and destroy it. A shocked and injured Porcupine finds himself still alive, but with his Armor gone. Iron Man taunts him.

With the super-villains either defeated or missing in action, Justin Hammer orders his armed guards to hold off Iron Man. The guards are suddenly attacked by machine gun fire. The attackers are the Monaco Police, which is operative five helicopters and flying above the Villa. They ordered the guards to surrender. Iron Man flies up to greet them, and discovers Jim Rhodes aboard one of the helicopters. Rhodes explains that he had trouble convincing the police hat the real Tony Stark had been abducted. He wants to know the whereabouts of his boss. Iron Man claims that Tony Stark was safely transported to the shore. He notices police boats surrounding the Villa. He wants to get to Hammer before the police does.

Meanwhile, Hammer prepares an escape plan. The entire island villa begins rising on a cushion of jet-powered air. The Villa flies away at an ever-increasing speed. Iron Man realizes that the flying island is heading towards international waters, which would allow Hammer to escape police custody. He prepares to attack the Villa. His attack splits the structure in two pieces, while Hammer's agents struggle to escape the ruined building. Phillip Barnett finds himself in the waters below, and has never learned how to swim. He calls for help, and is rescued by Iron Man. Iron Man wants him to testify as a witness in court. Barnett fears double-crossing Hammer, but then realizes how much Iron Man can hurt him. He offers his confession by either writing or on tape.

Later on the docks of Monaco, Tony Stark and Jim Rhodes converse. Justin Hammer was not among the people captured by the Monaco Police and he apparently escaped safely. The police claim that they have enough evidence to use against Hammer in court. Stark thanks Rhodes for his help, and Rhodes claims that he was only doing his job. As they smile sincerely, the warmth of their friendship is re-assuring.

The story skips ahead for several days, to a television news broadcast. A special judiciary committee has acquitted Iron Man for the murder of Sergei Kotznin. There was overwhelming evidence that his armor was being controlled by an outside force, during the murder of Kotznin. Iron Man is briefly interviewed by a reporter from CBS. He claims to feel fine about his exoneration. He does not tell the reported that he still feels guilty about the murder. He keeps seeing Sergei Kotznin's face in his sleep.

Mayor Ed Koch returns to Iron Man the version of Iron Man Armor Model 4 which was in police custody. Koch explains that there will be no charges pressed against Iron Man for disobeying orders and using his spare armor. Iron Man then meets Mr. Pithins, head of Stark International's public relations department. Pithins does not seem happy. Even with the exoneration, the press is not though with coverage of Stark International. Iron Man was still involved in a murder and the company still lost the Carnelian contract. Public confidence on them is down.

As Iron Man steps outside the CBS building, there is a crowd of New Yorkers outside. He notices that a blonde little girl has dropped her doll. He retrieves the doll and offers it back to the girl. The girl is terrified of him, since she saw him kill Kotznin of TV. She calls for protection. Her mother promises to not let the bad man hurt her daughter. The embarrassed crowd disperses, including the crying little girl. Iron Man suddenly feels alone. He later blames his Iron Man armor for terrifying little children. He angrily shuts it in the armor case.

Later, Tony Stark is drinking alone at a nightclub in Forest Hills. He feels disgruntled and even a century-old brandy fails to cheer him up. Renaldo, a staff member, brings him the phone, as there is someone asking for him. The caller is Bethany Cabe, who wants to arrange a meeting with him. Tony tells her that he will write a reminder on a napkin. He is already quite drunk and obviously slurring his words. Bethany realizes that something is wrong, though he does not admit it. She asks him to meet her at 914 Lexington. He accidentally writes down 419 Lexington, before the phone call ends.

The following day, Tony Stark waits in vain at 419 Lexington and gets angry at Bethany for snubbing him. Meanwhile, Bethany waits in vain at 914 Lexington and feels that Tony no longer cares about her. She feels that Tony is on a path towards self-destruction, but does not know if she can stop him. The scene shifts to Avengers Mansion. Jarvis is cleaning the dishes, after cooking dinner for 7 Avengers. He is pleased that they liked his mother's recipe. He hears laughter inside and is alarmed. With the exception of the Vision, who is on monitor duty, all the Avengers should have left by now. Jarvis goes in search for an intruder, and hopes that there will be no violence.

Jarvis finds a drunk Tony Stark with his new date, Amber Sunrise. The two of them are in a computer room. Tony Stark is showing off his latest gadgets to Amber. She calls them "cute". Jarvis reminds Stark that this equipment is classified. He also reminds Stark that showing it off to a stranger would upset Henry Gyrich. Tony thinks that Jarvis is pushing him around and gets angry. He tells Jarvis that he is a butler and a mere servant. He will have to remember his place and respect his superiors. Jarvis answers with a "yes, sir", but he can barely contain his anger. As Jarvis withdraws to the kitchen, Tony briefly feels regret. But then Amber convinces him to show her more gadgets. He is too drunk to feel there is anything wrong with that.

The following morning finds Tony Stark sleeping in his Long Island office. He is waken up by Bambi Arbogast, who tells him that Jarvis wants to see him. He tells her to send him in, though he is no condition for a proper meeting. Jarvis delivers a resignation letter to Stark. He is unhappy with the way Stark treated him and unhappy with the direction the Avengers team has been taking lately. He feels that the Avengers have become a large collection of unhappy individuals, simmering in their own stew of repressed anger, resentment, and frustration. He has had enough.

After viewing a disappointed Jarvis exiting the office, Stark's mind clears and he finally understands something. He has been blaming all his troubles on the Iron Man armor, an inanimate suit. But the armor was not the one responsible, nor was Iron Man the one who belittled Jarvis. The root of the problems is himself and his drinking problem. He helplessly calls: "God help me". The image shifts to a bottle of whiskey. The story ends.



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