Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Avengers Dream Team #3

Iron Man

Money, technology, a ridiculous level of firepower and the guts to wield all of it while tanked on bathtub gin…that’s Tony Stark, the invincible Iron Man! As Tony Stark, Tony is a multibillionaire, the owner of a multinational company and an inventor of military grade technology of world renown. As Iron Man, he’s his own bodyguard (one of the lamer secret identities, in my opinion, even if it does explain why they’re always near the same place at roughly the same time) and a human being wrapped in enough ordinance to take on a couple of Balkan nations without breaking a sweat. What Thor is up close, Iron Man does at distance and if it comes to a technological problem, Tony’ll have it fixed and patched into his armor before the Mad Thinker gets off his coffee break. Sure he’s wildly promiscuous and a dipso, but I think that just adds a little unpredictability, and who doesn’t want that when you’re fighting Dr. Doom or Ultron?

I used to like Iron Man quite a bit, but over the years my love affair with ol' Shellhead has gone the way of the dodo; while I'd be hard pressed to pinpoint at what time I started to drift away from the Iron Avenger's fan club, but I know what might best sum it up: the aformentioned issue of Busiek's run, when Cap tries to get Tony to break Morgan's control but Tony is too caught up in being a high-and-mighty knight to be able to do so. That inherent snobbery which has pervaded his characterization over recent years has made me distance myself from Mr. Stark.


Yup, that's right: instead of an alcoholic snob, I instead opt for a mentally disturbed wife-beater. Who says I don't make bold choices? I think one of the reasons I like Hank Pym as a character is that he does have all of these obstacles to overcome, and has successfully regained the trust and respect of those he once let down (Chuck Austen's horribly out-of-chracter run aside); after all, the infamous "wife-beating" aspect of Earth 616 Hank (as opposed to the rabid jackass Ultimate Hank) took place when the man was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He's repented, atoned, reformed, and healed: as John Astin said on many an episode of Night Court, Hank's "feeling much better now." Out of all of Pym's many aliases, the one which I've always enjoyed the most is Yellowjacket, which has always struck me as the most interesting variation, both visually and in terms of abilities. Plus, I'm sure it doesn't hurt that this was the identity he was using when I first started reading the series.

I love the Yellowjacket outfit, Hank had a real look going there. He's also a scientific genius, so I can't argue against that since that's a selling point of Iron Man as well. But COME ON, as Yellowjacket he's essentially the Wasp without the hotness! Sure, he's done bad and made good and that's a major theme of the Avengers (they have a lot of ex-villains in the ranks, no wonder the MU USA wants to register them), so there's something metatextual there. I'm thinking this might come down to a pick of Yellowjacket because he makes for interesting reading while I would replace him with the Wasp because she's more interesting to look at. I don't think this qualifies as shallow so much as good marketing. Think of the covers, man!

1 comment:

Chris said...

See, I as an Iron Fan place Ol' Shellhead's decline a bit later.

At some point (we'll call this the Mike Grell year) Marvel went ass over elbows and decided that Tony would reveal his secret identity, sell the company (and then get it back again), and then become the Secretary of Defense (which was the first good idea they've had for Tony in years, only they weren't ballsy enough to go through with it).

Stupid Marvel.