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Who is Obadiah Stane?

Who is Obadiah Stane?

Obadiah Stane made his first appearance in October 1982, in Iron Man #163. Or at least, his hand and his voice made an appearance. His first full appearance didn’t come until #166. But readers soon learned that Obadiah suffered a troubled childhood. Only his father, Zebediah, was ever introduced, and he was portrayed as a man who couldn’t quite make it in the world, one who had some drinking and gambling issues. One night when Obadiah was still quite young, his father won a large sum of money gambling and became convinced that his luck had changed. To prove it, he gambled once more by playing a game of Russian roulette with himself: he aimed a loaded gun at his head and pulled the trigger, committing suicide right in front of Obadiah. This event would stay with Stane for the rest of his life.

From then on, Obadiah went into the care of foster homes. As he grew up, he acquired a love for the game of chess. The ability to exploit his opponents’ weaknesses was another trait that he would carry through life. But at times, he took the methodical logic and intricate strategy of the game too far. He was to play another talented chess player from his school, Bernie Devlin, in a match. To ensure that he won, Obadiah killed Bernie’s dog, making his opponent too distraught to put up a good fight.

Stane made his first million by the age of 25 by preying on the weakness of his boss, his love for his wife, and taking over the company. Showing his boss falsified photographs of the young wife with another man destroyed his boss’ morale, which left an opportunity for Stane to take over the ranks. He built the company up into a multinational munitions dealer, assembled a crew of bodyguards whom he dubbed the “Chessmen,” and intended to form and lead an organization of European and Oriental industrialists to buck antitrust laws.

But who should get in the way of this ambition but Tony Stark, head of Stark International, a large American electronics and manufacturing corporation. Knowing that Stark was a recovering alcoholic, Stane began his attempt to take him down. He had the Chessmen attack Stark International and Jim Rhodes, a close friend of Tony’s. Stane’s company managed to block Stark’s corporation out of a number of valuable business deals. Obadiah even had Indries Moomji, Queen of the Chessmen, seduce Stark into falling in love with her, only to turn around and reject him. Tony fought as Iron Man against the Chessmen and eventually learned that Stane was behind it all. He tried to confront Stane, but with all the strain of heartache, his business shaky, and his friend being attacked, Tony Stark fell into despair and off the wagon.

As Stark fell deeper into his alcoholism, Stane was able to take over Stark International, where he found some notes on the Iron Man suit. With the help of a team of scientists, Stane was able to develop the Iron Monger battlesuit. While in the depths of his drunkenness, Stark befriended a pregnant woman and helped to deliver her child. He vowed that he would care for the child, and this responsibility pulled him out of his alcoholism.

He founded a new company called Circuits Maximus, which develops the more advanced Silver Centurion version of the Iron Man suit. Of course, when Stane hears that Tony Stark is back, a battle ensues between the two, both armed in their respective super-suits. What Stane doesn’t know is that the new Silver Centurion suit is far stronger than the Iron Monger. When he realizes his coming defeat, he removes his Monger helmet and fires a repulsor ray blast from his own armor at his head, ending his own life.

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