Pepper Potts doesn’t have to cut off the head of Hydra – she just has to outsmart it, something she has less trouble accomplishing than the Iron Man.
Warning: SPOILERS for Rescue 2020 #2
Hydra has been a thorn in the side of the heroes of the Marvel Universe for decades, and they keep coming, as evidenced by their motto “If a head is cut off, two more shall take its place.” In the conclusion of the two-issue Rescue mini-series, however, Pepper Potts uses brain over brawn to take down the latest incarnation of the organization.
Previously, Pepper Potts aka Rescue had undertaken a mission to retrieve the DNA of Tony’s biological parents in order to truly resurrect Tony Stark with the help of long-time Iron Man ally Bethany Cabe. After saving Tony’s birth mother, Pepper must know track down Jude, Tony’s biological father, and a high-ranking Hydra member.
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Hydra first appeared in Strange Tales #135 back in 1965 as a criminal organization countered by SHIELD. Since then, the organization has undergone several iterations over the decades. As seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, Hydra does have ties to Nazi Germany and was at one point led by Captain America’s foe Baron Von Strucker. Hydra has its tentacles in businesses and governments throughout the world, and even in SHIELD, which it regards as an intelligence asset. Because of this, Hydra is one of the most persistent threats to the heroes of the Marvel Universe.
Even equipped with the Rescue armor, however, Pepper Potts chooses to infiltrate Hydra rather than charging in with guns blazing. Posing as a lowly assistant, Potts is able to gain access to Hydra HQ after Bethany disables their facial recognition software. She befriends a young Hydra recruit named Robbie Fleckman. At the HQ, Hydra unveils a new line of tentacled Hydra-Bots, which turn on their creators, as robots inevitably do. After saving Robbie, Bethany dons the Rescue armor and confronts Jude. The Hydra-Bot interrupts their confrontation, intent on eliminating “lesser beings”. Robbie tries to disable it with a knife but accidentally cuts Jude instead (presumably giving Pepper her much-needed DNA). Pepper then talks to the Hydra-Bot, who recognizes Rescue as the superior being, making it the lesser being. Rescue then flies away as Hydra retreats as the Hydra-Bot self-destructs.
Though only two issues long, Rescue succeeds in showcasing Pepper’s unique skills. While the first issue establishes Pepper in her familiar role as Tony’s long-suffering assistant-turned-superhero, the second issue succeeds by allowing Pepper to use her interpersonal skills and improvisation to complete her mission. Hopefully, this Iron Man 2020 tie-in serves as a launching point for Pepper, who based on the showings her, could thrive in her own Rescue solo title.
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