After the world flipping events in AXIS where the Scarlet Witch and Doom attempted to flip Red Onslaught from Red Skulls personality over to Xaviers, all of those present at the event have experienced a change of heart. Villains are now our heroes and our saviors are all out to pull off sinister plots bent on domination. One such hero who has become an icon in the past decade (thanks mostly to Robert Downey Jr’s performances) is Iron Man. Now, it is true that even as a hero, Tony Stark hasn’t always been the most popular Avenger. His arrogance and self centered nature overshadows his heroic tendencies most of the time. But, now that the Axis event has flipped his personality, we have a dilemma and new more dangerous villain.
When Superior Iron Man was announced, I thought it was a cheap attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Superior Spider-Man. But, once I finished the first issue, I realize the title fits and the story arc is a solid one.
The Tony Stark we now live with isn’t terribly different. He’s still self centered and arrogant, but, now, all of that is ramped up. On top of that, there is no morality to keep all of that in check. So, in his attempt to make a better world through technology, he has uploaded an app for the extremis virus. Making perfection available to the citizens of San Francisco for free, he has become their savior. So, what’s the problem, you ask? Well, it’s only a trail offer and, when it’s over, it leaves the people feeling junkie withdrawal. We see the change in Tony. Not only is he hyper Tony Stark; super arrogant, super party animal. But he has a God complex. Well, I guess he always had that, but, now, there is no heart or morals to keep it in check. SO, Superior Iron Man is Capitalism unchecked with a technological ability that can do things that breach the limits of common, reason. There is no stopping to ask, “should we do it?” Above all of that, the motive isn’t to make the world better, although Tony would argue that. NO, it’s all about being the techno-pimp to the world. Get them hooked and, then, leave them needing more.
Oh, yeah…and Tony’s drinking again…heavily.
It has been told us that everything Marvel is doing leads to the Secret Wars. And, on top of that, as a part of Marvel 2015, Tony will be reliving the Armor Wars. So what does all of this “Superior” story line have to do with the goals of Marvel come 2015?
Before I get into the coming Secret Wars events. I need to stop and let you in on something I noticed. At the end of the first issue of Superior Iron Man #1, Marvel had a page of suggested reading. As always, I think these kind of ‘suggestions’ are ways of getting us ready for the coming ‘Wars’.
[ NOTE: That super sleek silver armor makes its premiere in the first issue. It is also revealed that it is infused ENOD-SYM ARMOR infused from extracted 'building blocks from a Symbiote" and is 'completely Psionic".
First question, WHAT SYMBIOTE? And, as Pepper most eloquently put it, "That couldn't possibly end badly."
Could this be the perfect armor? Or another nightmare scenario?]
Armor Wars I & II
The first two series suggested as editor’s picks are a gimme. We already know that, as a part of Marvel 2015, we will be seeing a brand new Armor Wars; it’s one of the guaranteed titles. This also happens in an area next to the realm of Apocalypse (#3) and Egyptia (#4) called Technopolis (#5). In the cover shot, we see Tony on his knees amidst a war of….well…armors. Now, whether they’re manned or not is anybody’s guess. The fact is that it beckons back to 1987’s original Armor Wars 7 issue story arch. It was written by David Michelline with art work by Bob Layton. The story follows Tony Stark upon a discovery that his armor plans have been stolen and replicated across the globe thanks to the Spymaster and Justin Hammer. From there he goes one on one with Armored villains in an attempt to retrieve the stolen tech.
The second Armor Wars was written by John Byrne and drawn by John Romita Jr. and included the Mandarin and loosing control of his nervous system to Kearson DeWitt and the Marrs Twins. Thanks to a little team up with his best bud James Rhodes aka Rhodey, they defeated the Marrs and DeWitt.
The next recommended reading was the BELIEVE story-line from 2012-2013. Written by Kieron Gillen and penciled by Greg Land.
This explains a bit about the Extremis Virus as it was auctioned out at the highest bidder. Stark came into conflict with a group of Neo-Arthurian style techno-Knights called the Circle and headed by a man named Arthur.
Could this have anything to do with Technopolis?
THE SECRET ORIGIN OF TONY STARK
Also included in the recommended reading is the Secret Origin of Tony Stark. Not sure what it is they want to make sure we glean from this series; Iron Man Volume 5 Issues #10-17.
Is it the inclusion of the God Killer Armor from AVX? Is it the insertion of Arno Stark as the first Stark son? After reading it over, I'm still not sure.
RINGS OF THE MANDARIN
The last bit of recommended reading suggested by the editors is Iron Man Volume 5 Issues #23-28 named RINGS OF THE MANDARIN!
The story reworks the legend of the rings of the legendary Mandarin making them not only alien in origin (this was known for a long time) but sentient. They begin to take on names seeing as they held the phantasmal spirits of their alien masters. Not only that, but they began to find their own hosts. In the process, a great struggle for power ensued within the 'Mandarins'. These 'Mandarins' included the Fantastic Four's old villain, the Mole Man, and Thor's old nemesis, Malekith, the Dark Elf.
I'm not sure what all of this has to do with the coming Secret Wars. Not taking into account all of the myriad of Tony Starks running around Battleworld, just looking at Technopolis, it opens up all sorts of possibilities. Are we to expect a struggle over Stark's prize creation, the Iron Man armor? Most definitely. Are we to see a return of the Extremis Virus? It's already in the pages of Superior Iron Man. Does Stark's odd birth and his actions leading to the God Killer Armor become important? Not sure. And will we see a return of the rings of the Mandarin? Oh, I hope so. And I hope for a better story than we got from 'Rings of the Mandarin'.