Stark decided he must do whatever it took to reacquire -- or destroy – the stolen technology. Thus, armed with “negator packs” designed to completely disable Stark technology, he set off as Iron Man to confront the designated armored enemies. The problem was, Iron Man was willing to do whatever it took to stop those with his tech, including extralegal means. This was most evident when Iron Man went after government agent Stingray and unfortunately discovered that the negator pack did not affect Stingray’s armor! (Stingray never was the beneficiary of Hammer’s machinations.) In addition, Iron Man’s incursion against the Controller led to the inadvertent death of one of the villain’s mental slaves, not to mention later on a class action lawsuit filed by the Controller’s followers for “infringement of freedom of worship”!
As the government (and the Avengers) began to put heat on Stark for Iron Man’s actions, Stark announced that Iron Man was fired, and he would assist in bringing in his rogue employee. (The public did not know at this time that Tony Stark and Iron Man were one and the same.) Stark’s feigned assistance led to him fooling S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury, and thus Iron Man was able to disable S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Mandroid armors, beneficiaries of Stark’s stolen tech.
Perhaps most significantly, Iron Man launched an assault on the Vault, the super-villain prison. The Guardsmen protected the Vault, but they had Stark’s tech incorporated into their armors. While in the process of defeating the Guardsmen, the Captain appeared and attempted to stop Iron Man. He was unsuccessful, but the fight left a rift between Steve Rogers (Cap) and Tony Stark.
The US government, if it wasn’t angry enough at Iron Man for his actions, was now livid. Unfortunately, Iron Man next resorted to international violations of law as he traveled to the Soviet Union in an attempt to dismantle the armors of the Crimson Dynamo and the Titanium Man. He succeeded with the Dynamo; however, the Titanium Man grabbed Iron Man in an unbreakable grip and seemingly had the Avenger beat. But Iron Man opened his boot-jets to maximum thrust, and the super-heated exhaust ignited the Titanium Man’s armor, killing him! This event led to the Avengers demanding Iron Man’s resignation, and the US government enlisting Stark business rival Edwin Cord in developing an armored operative to defeat Iron Man.
This operative, known as Firepower, also had stolen Stark technology incorporated into it. This was the lure that the government needed to bring Iron Man to battle the armored giant. Firepower soundly defeated Iron Man, severely injuring Tony Stark in the process. Stark rigged his armor to fly off by remote control, making it appear as if he was fleeing. Firepower launched a mini-nuclear missile at the armor, thinking it really Iron Man. The nuke destroyed Iron Man’s armor, and the world believed the rogue Avenger has been killed.Believing that Stark’s company was now defenseless due to Iron Man’s death, Edwin Cord began to use Firepower to terrorize Stark’s business interests. Reluctant at first to revive Iron Man, Tony Stark eventually constructed a new set of armor, went after Firepower, and defeated him soundly.