Tony Stark’s Iron Man is easily one the most popular character in the Marvel movie-verse. Once the Secret Wars smoke clears, Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez are tasked with making him just as popular on the comic page. It’s not going to be easy.
Before Secret Wars mixed up the Marvel Universe, Tony Stark’s Superior Iron Man was the world’s most sinister in-app purchase salesman. While most of Marvel’s heroes recovered from having their personalities inverted during the AXIS storyline, Tony Stark, super-genius managed to shield himself from the re-reversal, remaining the same self-centered asshole he always has been, only with a side of evil. When last I read, he’d infected all of San Francisco with Extremis technology that would keep them healthy and beautiful as long as they paid $99.99 a day via in-app purchase.
I enjoyed reading Superior Iron Man. I loved the all-white armor he was rocking. However, I hated Tony Stark. He was not a hero. He wasn’t much of a human being. He was totally a dick.
Revealed today at Marvel’s “NextBig Thing” panel at Special Edition: NYC and detailed in an article at USA Today, Marvel’s bringing in the big guns for the return of Invincible Iron Man.
The new book will be picking up eight months following the end of Secret Wars, with Tony Stark wanting to be a better man. He’ll make new friends. He’ll explore a new relationship with a woman markedly more intelligent than he is. He’ll don a new suit of armor. He’ll begin building a new rogues gallery of villains. He’ll even find out who his real parents are, following up on the revelation that he was adopted famously penned by Keiron Gillen.
Brian Michael Bendis will be writing the series, and for once the popular scribe’s penchant for heavy dialogue might have found the perfect mouth to match. Bendis has written Iron Man in several books, but this is the first time he’s tackling Stark’s solo book. Expect technobabble and snark to flow.
Artist David Marquez has collaborated with Bendis in the past, most famously on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. His crisp lines look lovely on the new Iron Man suit, featuring a new technology that allows it to transform into different configurations—“It’s like a brand-new kind of technology but it still brings out the classic Iron Man. You just get all the Iron Mans at once, plus some new ones,” Bendis told USA Today.
I’ve loved Iron Man since the early ‘80s. It was one of the first comic books I subscribed to. My high school notebooks were littered with armor sketches. I loved the idea that anyone could be inside that metal shell.
Marvel just needs to figure out how not to make the man inside the armor a complete asshole. Tony’s been through a lot, much of it making him come off as a jerk. He’s been an abusive drunk. His crusade to recover his stolen technology in the “Armor Wars” arcs did more harm than good. It got so bad that he was killed and replaced with a teenage version of himself. Once that nonsense was retconned, Tony spent years and years picking the wrong side of fights, taking on responsibilities he couldn’t handle and just basically making himself into a giant asshole all over again.
Hopefully Bendis can pull it off.
Invincible Iron Man ultimately is “this adopted child’s journey of finding out who they really are,” (Bendis) concludes. “When you find out what happens at the end of the first issue, he has to make a choice on what he’s willing to do as a superhero to fix things for real.”