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Iron Man: A Comicbook Character Analysis


(To the tune of the Black Sabbath song) Is he live or dead, has he thoughts within his head? We’ll just review him here as more movies with him draw near.


Since last month we covered the big, upcoming villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let’s take a look at the character whose movie really started that universe in the first place. He’s red, he’s gold, he’s played by Robert Downey Jr. it’s Iron Man!

First appearing in Tales of Suspense #39, Iron Man was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. His film debut in the MCU was in the 2008 film with his name on it. He has been a hugely influential figure in both the comics and the movies. But could the comics hold a clue as to his future in the movies? Let’s find out!

In nearly every incarnation, reboot, or retelling of Iron Man’s origin, he builds first suit and gains his heroic drive while a prisoner of war. Unlike the Marvel movies, he usually maintains his secret identity longer. His excuse being that Iron Man is actually his bodyguard. Movies 2 and 3 diverge wildly from the source material but hold true to the feel of the Iron Man comics by exploring Tony Stark’s emotional baggage and hang-ups. But that’s all in the past, what might we learn of Iron Man’s future in the comics?

Unfortunately, Stark’s role in the Infinity War comics is rather minimal all things considered. He is merely one of the combatants, not a main player. However, with the Guardians of the Galaxy joining in the fight against Thanos, we may have our answer.

In a fairly recent run of comics, Iron Man left Earth to join the Guardians. While in space, he learns that he has a secret older brother, Arno Stark. He is crippled but just as brilliant as Tony is. Since reuniting, they have begun to build a utopian city together while fighting off the Rings of the Mandarin.

While Robert Downey Jr has said there won’t be any more Iron Man films, we know there are more adventures left for the Guardians. Perhaps, Tony will finally marry Pepper and they’ll leave the Earth. After Thanos is defeated, he might see his work as done on our planet.

However, there is a darker possibility.

In the Civil War II event in the comics, Iron Man is beaten into a coma during a fight. It is this event that leads to Riri Williams becoming his successor and later Ironheart. She is mentored by an AI hologram of Stark who continues to exist alongside the real Tony Stark.

In the movies, Tony’s greatest fear is that he won’t be able to save everyone from the invasion. So, perhaps he will finally succeed in protecting everyone, but in the process die. He could have an AI backup of his personality or not, but it would be a proper, heroic end to the character.

Now, I don’t want Tony Stark to die, but it would herald so many new things in the MCU. It would be the end of an era and a call for the next line of heroes to come forth. Spiderman would be left without a mentor, forcing him to grow up even faster. The Avengers would be left without a financier and Steve might have to step back into the role as leader of the team. He might even do it in memory of his friend. Thanos might be gone, but that just leaves a power vacuum waiting to be filled by brand new villains. New heroes would have to rise in order to face them. Inspired by Iron Man’s sacrifice, they would defend the Earth in his honor.

It would be a fitting end to the hero who started it all in the MCU.

But tell me, what do you think the future holds for our favorite genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist? Who else would you like us to analyze? Please let us know in the comments below.

Brian Lazarow

I like big books and I cannot lie. I've been a fan of all things geek for as long as I can remember and I have a long list of things I need to check out that just gets longer as I get busier. Secretly a dragon.