In Marvel’s new Iron Man series, Tony Stark is struggling with his identity, trying to be more grounded. Is he headed to the dark side instead?
Warning: spoilers ahead for Iron Man #3!
Tony Stark is seriously starting to spiral in Marvel’s latest Iron Man series. Seeking to ground himself and temper his ego, Tony has sold his company and bought a brownstone in the city, relying on only one suit to save the day as the Armored Avenger, but it seems as though no one is grateful for his efforts. The internet absolutely hates him, his actions don’t seem to be appreciated no matter what he does, and something may have truly snapped as a result. Is it possible Iron Man will stop caring about the greater good, giving in to the self-centered tendencies he’s been actively trying to resist for so long?
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In this new series from writer Christopher Cantwell and artist Cafu, all of Tony’s efforts seem to have been in vain. Not only is he having a rough time with his public image, he’s also struggling with his identity on a personal level. He’s recently been spending more time with Trish Walker, also known as Hellcat, who’s been helping him readjust his perspectives and priorities in order to be the more grounded person he’s attempting to be. However, Tony is facing some serious darkness and borderline depression, putting himself at unnecessary risk as Iron Man so that he might die heroically, in order to supposedly ensure that no one would see or remember him just by his flaws.
Now, things have taken an even darker turn in Iron Man #3. The issue begins with no one appreciating him in the slightest. Cops seem irritated that he’s saving the public from criminals and “causing a disturbance,” a fast food worker hits him with the internet’s favorite meme, and when he tries to visit some schoolchildren, the school’s administrators feel inconvenienced by his unscheduled arrival. Iron Man doesn’t know what the people want from him, and he’s starting to wonder why he’s bothering at all. Things come to a head when Iron Man finds the Melter, a small-time super criminal in his garage, having melted his car. Iron Man knocks him out with one punch, and carries him high into the air above the city. He then drops him, watching him fall, only to catch him at the last possible moment.
Obviously, this is not the sort of move an upstanding hero who’s in his right mind would pull, and it’s likely Iron Man did it in the first place in order to feel control and demonstrate his true power; showing himself what he could truly do if he just didn’t care anymore. Toeing the line in this way is a pretty dark mindset to have. While Hellcat has been trying to pull him out of these dark places thus far in the series, that may be coming to an end. Tony and Trish traveled together in the issue to check on Tony’s latest investment: a collection of high-tech lightning rods used to collect and create new sources of energy. However, it’s revealed that the longtime villain Korvac is behind the facility, blasting them both with lightning, and he may have just killed Hellcat at the issue’s end.
With Hellcat possibly dead, and the troubled state Tony was already in, there’s no telling what Iron Man might do as a result. Iron Man could be headed down an incredibly dark path akin to that of a tragic super villain, seeking lethal revenge against Korvac and his gaggle of B-list supporters. Fans will have to hope that Tony Stark can continue resisting his darkest urges as Iron Man continues, even if it’s potentially without Hellcat.
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