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8/29 – Curious Cat Asks…

What is your current opinion of the character Tony Stark in the regular Marvel Universe?



it’s obvious, he’s a skrull.

Poor execution of an otherwise fine story idea.

Stark is being dramatically misjudged as a ‘villain’ by readers who haven’t been paying attention to his book recently. All the reprehensible things that Stark has been doing for the last couple of years, not to mention his odd behavior, can be explained with the Extremis enhancement that he injected into himself.

I’m not guessing or making up an explanation here, this is 100% canon: In Iron Man’s OWN BOOK, issue #7 IIRC, Nick Fury told Stark to his face that the Extremis had changed his personality (and Stark reacted by getting offended and saying that it’s everybody else that changed for the worse, not himself).

When Marvel needs Stark to be a respectable hero again – probably in time for the upcoming movie – that simple explanation will clear up all the misunderstandings and Iron Man will be appreciated once again. I mean, Hal Jordan was forgiven for crimes bigger than anything Stark has done, and Jordan’s explanation was pretty much the same deal: an external force that affected his behavior.

The best thing is that this explanation doesn’t even have to be retconned into place; it was established more than a year ago in Iron Man’s own book. All the folks who are outraged at Stark’s “villainy” have nothing to worry about – Extremis is to blame!

Dan (other Dan)

August 29, 2007 at 9:27 am

Don’t care one bit. Iron Man: the Inevitable by Joe Casey and Frazier Irving was really good, though.

Part of the problem is that, particularly during Civil War, the character was written pretty differently from book to book. While Christos Gage and the Knaufs focused on showing Stark as conflicted but ultimately working for a greater good, JMS, Jenkins and others cast him more firmly as a power-hungry fascist. (Oddly, Bendis seemed to fall in the middle through New Avengers by not letting us into the character’s head at all, even in his own spotlight issue.)

Really hope they don’t blame it on Extremis, both because I like the behavior to stem from Stark’s own beliefs, and because I liked the Extremis arc (and would very much like to see Ellis come back to the character at some point).

Tony Skrull is a Stark

I think without Extremis, Tony Stark’s characterization would be seen as too sharp a turn. Granted, it’s been well documented that he has control issues and will take action without consulting others, but to this level, I dunno if that’s really him. I’d LIKE to think that if he were so certain of his “predictions” in that first “Illuminati” story, he’d have held a meeting with his fellow Avengers to try and figure out what can be done.

I’d like to think it’s the combination of the Extremis virus coupled with the Ultron code in his artificial heart, which has been in his body since “The Mask in the Iron Man.”

WHOOPS! Forgot to actually answer the question :-D

Essentially, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. The above-mentioned Extremis/Ultron code and upcoming movie notwithstanding, Tony is still supposed to be a hero, so there’s gotta be an explanation coming.

More interesting than ever…

so long as Gage is writing him.

But until that explanation comes, he’s the greatest hero turned villian in comics history. It’s just icing on the cake that he is a hero in the court of public opinion and has been handed a position of extreme power as SHIELD director.

More and more things are showing up that suggest that the Extremis might not be completely to blame. EG: Saving a hair that Thor shed early in the Avengers history, ou know… just in case, clearly had villianous potential.

But I agree. In a few years, it’ll all be retconned/explained away and he’ll be a true hero again.

For the first time in forty years, Tony Stark actually HAS a character.

Tony is less of a character lately and more of an extreme point of view. His ‘futurist’ persona is really just someone taking an idea and running with it so hard that it overwhelms everything else. Sure, he may be a skrull–that would be really convenient, even for Marvel. But that same extreme point of view (maintaining superheroics by any means–even outlawing them) is not so drastically different that Batman waging war on criminals by coming one.

Whatever else he is, Iron Man is no longer a hero. Sure, maybe with his power and all he manages to do some good here and there, but he’s used too many methods that are extremely unheroic. In my humble opinion, heroes do things the right way, by being good people and maintaining their convictions even when it would be easier to do otherwise. Everyone talks about all the “hard decisions” he had to make, but what it comes to is Tony saw a power he didn’t think he could beat and curried favor with it by selling out his friends. He then used this betrayal to land the most powerful position he could, maybe curbing the worst excesses of the government forces, but ultimately still its stooge. To me, that doesn’t sound like a hard decision at all. It sounds like the path of least resistance. These days, Iron Man would rather arrest Spider-Man and draft teenagers than catch Captain America’s killer. So whatever he is now, Iron Man is not a hero.


August 29, 2007 at 10:35 am

I’ve never really been a big fan of Tony Stark and I think this story line has highlighted why.Iron Man is a d*ck.Although I do think it is funny how much Marvel is highlighting this point right before his movie comes out.As with all the titles of theirs that have been turned into movie the just don’t seem to want anyone to crossover from liking the movies to buying the books (atleast it seems that way to me).

For better or for worse, I like the idea of Marvel making major changes to major characters. Iron Man isn’t exactly timeless like Superman – why should it be blasphemous to fuck with him like they’ve been doing? His character arc over the last 3 years isn’t totally nonsensical so what’s the problem?

On the one hand, I love everything I’ve heard about Tony, since I read the Ellis Extremis arc, which set up everything that has since happened, a story which clearly marks Stark as a victim of his own hubris first, which caused him to inject Extremis.

On the other hand, I’ve completely stopped reading new issues of Marvel comics recently, because of all the tedious crossover nonsense, among other reasons.

i was totally pro registration so the whole ‘iron man’s a bad guy’ bruhaha meant squat to me. the shield thing feels forced tho and i don’t like the creative team a whole bunch, but i figure marvel will step up to the plate and throw some money at the book before the movie rolls round. personally i wish iron man was the next millar hitch project, seems like a better fit for both talents than the fantastic four.

ooh, just to add: last time iron man was good was extremis so i’m looking forward to the granov fing fang foom mini

I think Tony should spend a little more time actually running SHIELD, and a little less time stealing all of Wolverine’s guest spots.

And also, while I completely understood his reasoning going into Civil War, and part of me even suppoerted him, it seems like most Marvel comics are trying real hard to convince me he’s a bad guy now.

Oh, I feel like we should also mention “Armor Wars” – the last time Tony saw something he didn’t like and went balls-out nutso trying to contain it.

(Oddly, in that story he tried to fix an information leak by punching at it, and in Civil War he tried to fight people in costumes by supporting legislation. Tony Stark is a bizarro-futurist.)

And maybe we should mention “The Crossing.” Actually, no. Nobody should ever mention “The Crossing.” I’m so sorry.

Right now, Stark is a very complex man, and is more of (hero/villain) than ever. He is on a complicated campaign to regulate superhuman activity because of (the Stamford Incident/his ability to see the future).

Stark is dedicated to ensuring that the world stays safe by making sure that all superheroes are (highly trained professionals/ordinary civilians/mindless cyborg clones/insane serial killers being commanded by another deranged killer with bad hair), but he has always shown his willingness to (compromise/toss powerless vigilantes into extradimensional prisons without trial or legal counsel).

He is particularly haunted by the death of his former friend Captain America, and has decided to (create/not create) a new Captain America in his memory.

Ultimately, what is most important is (upholding the law at all cost/violating the law in the name of protection). Also, warmongering.

What is consistent is this: Tony Stark is willing to violate whatever civil rights are necessary to keep the world safe. That, and he’s pretty much a manslut, and sometimes Stark is a naked woman.

I’m with “The Mutt” here. Tony Stark is finally interesting and multi-layered, at least for the first time in several years. There has long been an inclination anyway to have him “walk the line,” as it were, whether it be against alcoholism, against those who have his technology (Armor Wars), against his early role as a weaponsmith, against capital punishment (killing Supreme Intelligence), or just flat out against his friends (the Crossing). Being head of SHIELD and the pro-SRA forces (especially in the wake of Extremis) is actually the most logical, in-character choice I’ve seen for him in a while. He’s not a villain, and he’s not a megalomaniac. (And, hopefully, he’s not a Skrull.) He’s a genius actively looking to make change even if it requires hard choices.

Is he a warmonger? Could be, at least inadvertently. Is he skating on thin ice with civil liberties? Most likely. That’s INTERESTING. I don’t condone it, but it also doesn’t make him evil.

In short, Tony would be the most sterling, respected member of the Authority or Planetary. Too bad he’s in the MU where shaking the status quo is equated with villainy.

I’m not paying attention to most of the crossover silliness at Marvel these days, but from what I have read, Tony Stark is doing what he thinks is right, and screwing everything up along the way. Sounds like a classic Marvel hero to me.

Right on, Apodaca.

Actually, given the few Marvel comics I read and how long it’s been since I’ve made it to the comic book store, as far as I “know” Tony Stark is currently an evil naked woman and/or dead.
Or a Skrull.
Also: Hawkman.

I’m going out on a limb here and saying that I still like Ironman and that the current interpretation seems more like him than he has been in a LOOOOONG time.

In the early Avengers issues (not too familiar with his early issues) there is a lot going on about the greater good and making a difference. Tony has always had strong opinions and ideals that he has wrestled with (A weapons manufacturer that hated weapons, an incredibly powerful hero that is useless out of his armor, etc.) but NOW we’re seeing that play out universe wide and I couldn’t be happier.

He IS a hero. He makes the hard decisions for the right reasons.

“I’ve never really been a big fan of Tony Stark and I think this story line has highlighted why.Iron Man is a d*ck.Although I do think it is funny how much Marvel is highlighting this point right before his movie comes out.”

Doesn’t it make perfect sense that they would do that, though? Iron Man has a movie coming out next year and the character is currently in a place of prominence that he’s never seen before in the Marvel Universe (for better or worse). By the time the film comes out, they’ll parlay that prominence back into a more heroic position (at least as far as the public is concerned) and use that prominence to (hopefully) sell more tickets.


Actually, I’m betting that they don’t even bother with all that. I mean, the people who know Tony’s status in the comics don’t need to be advertised to for the movie. They’re already gonna see it, or if not, they at least already know about it. The people who need to be sold on the movie aren’t gonna be reading the comics anyway, and probably aren’t going to go looking for them after seeing the flick.

The only people I’ve ever seen go look for comics after a movie’s release are children, and they don’t really care that much what’s going on in the grand continuity of things, they just want to see Iron Man fly around and shoot lasers at bad guys. And for all they know, Luke Cage IS a bad guy.

Well personally I never even liked the whole alcoholic angle so in some ways I feel like he’s been out of character for a looong damn time. He already had the heart condition, just how much more angst did he really require?

..but that aside for a moment I would say the character as currently presented is a jackass. However, the problem with Civil War in general is that it is so very dependent on heroic characters being out of character for the story to get where they want it to go. Which is hero vs. hero. That’s not to say that superheroes, especially Marvel ones are above having friction but at the same time this whole bloated event requires even Reed Richards to start acting like a total dumbass just so they can milk the controversy cash cow.

Tony’s fine, it’s the Marvel Universe that’s screwed up.

Tony is the best freakin super hero in the whole comicdom
He is a real hero, unlike all the anti regs
He is not a villian, (even though marvel is trying very hard to make him one :x)

Most successful supervillain ever. “I’m in charge of every single super-hero in the United States, my enemies are either dead or locked in a prison in the Negative Zone, and the public sees me as benevolent and kindly. I’ve interpreted the Super-Hero Registration Act as ‘being a super-hero is doing whatever I tell them to do,’ and SHIELD is backing me up on it–oh, and I’m complicit in the death of Captain America. I rock.”

They’re going to have to do another ‘Heroes Reborn’ style total reboot of his character and personality within five years.

And this is not, by the by, entirely Mark Millar’s fault; he has said he tried to write Tony as a sympathetic character in the core ‘Civil War’ series, albeit one who does some bad things for the right reasons, and he did. But when the guy before you writes a scene where Iron Man slams through the wall and body-tackles Spider-Man for the “crime” of wanting to move his family out of Avengers Tower, it’s not going to help matters when you write Iron Man as saying, “Why are you acting so irrational, Peter? I just want to talk!”

And it’s also not entirely inconsistent with Iron Man’s past performance. For decades, he’s been a guy one step away from totally losing it, frequently less–he murdered Spymaster in cold blood, he went on a long bender and was replaced by someone else, he fundamentally does not have a moral compass and tries to cope with its absence by reasoning out a logical course of action for people. (But that’s my problem with Civil War in a nutshell. Cap is the moral compass of the Marvel Universe. If Cap was anti-reg and Iron Man was pro-reg, the very fact that Cap was anti-reg would sway most people. He’s Captain America. He caught the man who nuked Washington DC and beat him up. He fought Hitler. There’s no way people would side with an alcoholic lying murderous douchebag over him.)

Belongs in jail.

1) Against federal law to clone a person using federal funds.

2) Illegal to engage in insider trading, whatever altruistic purposes you intend to put your profits towards. Mr. Stark, there’s a man from the SEC here to see you…

3) Treason to attempt to foment a conflict with a foreign power (Atlantis) by secret means, both because it violates the elected government’s role in dictating foreign policy and because it risks national security.

4) Obstruction of justice and civil rights charges in exiling (the Hulk) or holding prisoners without access to legal representation or due process. Arguably, use of cruel and unusual punishment added to the civil rights charges due to things like surrounding the highly flammable N’Kantu with a ring of fire.

5) Given that he had control of Norman Osborn during the events of Front Line, where the Goblin killed multiple Atlanteans and tried to the kill the Atlantean ambassador, he should go down for first degree murder, whether defined as using Osborn as a weapon or murder for hire.

If the law is the law, then Stark must be screwed.

Tony Stark is undeniably turning into the best kind of villian. He is convinced that everything he does is good because he acts with the best of intention and people who oppose him just can’t see things the way they really are.

For Stark the ends absolutely justify the means.
Violating the civil rights of everyone who doesn’t agree with him? They just need to be rehabilitated.
Locking people away forever in an alien dimension? It is for the greater good.
Designing a doomsday device that could be used on Manhattan? Only as a last resort.

If you can’t see the logic of his actions you are just not a “futurist”.

“Scott said …
Belongs in jail.”

Brilliant. I, for one, would start buying Iron Man just to watch it happen.

he murdered Spymaster in cold blood

Errr..where and when was this?

Iron Man is a comics success as he is the one character in the entire MU who readers truly enjoy seeing defeated. You cheer when Hulk knocks him around, when Thor comes back and puts him in his place, or when he falls and fails in any other way.

The simple fact that people actually care about Iron Man should tell you what you need to know. Civil War was badly executed, but the follow up has been, on the whole, pretty good.

Titanium Man, sorry, not Spymaster. Back during the Armor Wars. Then he told everyone that “Iron Man did it, not me, and he died in battle, so you can stop hunting him down.”

And yes, I totally forgot about the fact that he had an ambassador of a foreign power shot in order to foment a war between the United States and said foreign power, all because he believed that people rally around the flag in a time of war and it would let him get away with violating people’s civil liberties.

To put it simply, If I wanted to read about a douche every month, I would buy Iron Man.

Wow. It’s almost like Tony Stark is a thinly veiled allegory for

George W. Bush

So.. GWB has been going at it since 1962? That’s when Stark burst on to the scene. So, how can it possibly be an allegory? There seems to be close to a 40 year gap there.

You can’t really argue that Tony Stark has been the same character for over forty years now. I think it’s pretty obvious he’s talking about the current incarnation.

“In short, Tony would be the most sterling, respected member of the Authority or Planetary. Too bad he’s in the MU where shaking the status quo is equated with villainy.”

Dave, if you think that, you’ve obviously never read the Authority or Planetary.

First off, Snow and co. aren’t really superheroes. They’re idealist archeologists who believe people have a right to know thigns as opposed to, say, their main enemies, The (*cough* Fantastic) Four, who horde technology mankind isn’t read for (there’s more, but y’know, spoilers).

As for the Authority, if they existed in the same reality as Tony Stark, they would probably kill him. The Authority are hard-line liberals working for progressive change while Tony Stark, at present, is a conservative trying to restrain society. They’re at a completely opposite end of the spectrum from Stark.


I wonder how much money Jordan has made from his shoe line? Probably in the billions!

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