Virginia Potts (Rescue)

rescuefilmThe authors gave us a funny easter egg in Iron Man 3: when Tony Stark‘s villa is attacked by the Mandarin‘s forces, he makes Pepper Potts (always portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow) wear his armor in order to protect her, but when he’s about to be crushed by some falling debris, she saves him saying: “I rescued you.” The situation and the line are a clear reference to Pepper’s armored identity in the comics, Rescue, another armored crusader who uses Stark’s technology to fight evil. Let’s see together how, in the comics, peaceful Pepper becomes an Iron Woman.

After the events of Civil War (which saw the superhero comunity split into two sides, one guided by Steve Rogers aka Captain America, which opposed the Superhuman Registration Act, and the other guided by Tony Stark aka Iron Man, which supported it), Stark launched the Initiative, to redistribute America’s superhuman forces under the Government’s counsel. In California, Stark founded the Order, a team of superhumans with codenames inspired by Greek rescuecomics1mythology, and as the head of the Order, Tony chose his long time friend and occasional lover Pepper Potts, who took the name Hera. The Order was short lived, and when the team was completely absorbed into the Initiative, Stark offered Pepper a job in Stark Enterprises, section special projects. With Happy Hogan dead, Pepper agreed, and took the lead of Stark Dynamics in Taipei, willing to start a new life away from everything that could remind her of her deceased husband. Unfortunately, that was the time in which the new Iron Monger (Ezekiel Stane, son of the original one, Obadiah) was seeking vengeance against Stark, and he decided to attack Taipei, where Tony was having a party, destroying the building with Pepper inside. The woman got pretty heavily injured, and some shrapnel penetrated her body, stopping  dangerously near her heart. In order to save her life, doctors implanted her with a Rand Corporation magnet, based on the same one that saved Stark’s life back in Vietnam (or Afghanistan, depending on the retcon). In order to stabilize the magnet, many other cybernetics implants were added to Pepper’s body, and she became some sort of a cyborg, dependent on her magnet to stay alive.

After the Skrull Invasion, Tony Stark, at that time director of S.H.I.E.L.D., was considered the main responsible for the chrisis, and Norman Osborn easily took his place as the new director of what was renamed H.A.M.M.E.R. Pepper became the new CEO of Stark Industries, entrusted by Tony to look after his company while he was going underground with Maria Hill to protect the secrets he was entrusted with. When Osborn’s forces attacked Stark Enterprises, Pepper discovered a room designed specifically for her, inside which there was an armor, based on her biological patterns. The armor reacted to the magnet in her chest, and Pepper suddenly found herself in the rescuecomics2Mark 1616, with an artificial intelligence, J.A.R.V.I.S. (designed after the mind patterns of Edwin Jarvis, the Avengers‘ butler) guiding her in the use of the armor. She managed to escape Osborn’s forces undetected, and started practicing with her new suit. When a large earthquake made a school crumble, Pepper, codenamed Rescue, saved all the students before they were killed in the collapse, but this way she was finally detected by H.A.M.M.E.R. Osborn, curious to see what the armor was really capable of, had a jet be shot down; Pepper fell for it, and caught the plane in mid air saving its passengers, but this way she was caught by H.A.M.M.E.R.’s forces. She was imprisoned and interrogated, but she always denied to know where Stark was, and was let free. Taking the quest upon herself, Pepper finally found Tony in Russia, and the two reunited and slept together, until Madame Masque, who had followed Pepper, incapacitated both of them. J.A.R.V.I.S. defeated Masque remotely controlling the Rescue armor, and Pepper disguised herself as the villainess in order to infiltrate H.A.M.M.E.R.’s headquarters and implant a virus to allow Maria Hill to take the control of the Helicarrier back. After the battle, Pepper finally had her magnet removed, but she asked Tony to be implanted with a new device, similar to Tony’s. Stark (not remembering of their affair because of a “reboot” he did with his mind to protect his secrets from Osborn) allowed her to take the armor, and Rescue became a full-time superheroine, working by herself or with other superheroes to protect normal people from evil doers.

Pepper Potts is much more confident and self-aware the moment she becomes Rescue: she has seen much, and her fragile relationships with both Tony Stark and Happy Hogan have formed her character. As Rescue, she possesses more or less the same powes as Iron Man: the armor gives her enhanced strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, senses, healing and durability, she’s able to fly thanks to magnetic levitation and to create magnetic fields that can be used as an offensive means while channelled into beams or as a defensive tool for Pepper and whoever is nearby. More responsible and less self-centered than Stark, Rescue is an Iron Woman who really wants to use her powers for the better good.

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2 Comments

  1. […] Osborn in almost everyone of his illegal maneuvres: shooting down a plane to see how much powerful Pepper Potts‘s new armor, Rescue, was; hunting public enemy number one Iron Man down to Russia, an […]

  2. […] been an Avengers affiliate much longer than all the others heroes. His services are so needed that Pepper Potts, when she became the armored heroine Rescue, decided to program the artificial intelligence of her […]


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