Marvel Cinematic Universe may be soaring high and breaking records at the box-office but its comic-book division has been reeling under losses and is consistently behind DC comics for quite a while now. But since Marvel is raking in serious dollars from its movies, it didn’t make much efforts to launch great titles or come out with cool issues.
Well, it realized that it needs to amp up its game and started investing in writers, designers, visual illustrators, graphics specialists etc. and the results started showing in the sales.
The Invincible Iron Man is one of the best story arcs in the recent history of Marvel Comics lore. After giving back to back bombs like Marvel’s Civil War 2, the pointless Secret Wars and the unsellable Marvel Legacy Relaunch issues, it’s good to see that Marvel is finally getting its mojo back.
The Invincible Iron Man series is having a dream run at the comic-book stores. It has definitely helped Marvel gain lost ground in terms of sales of its recent issues. Just recently, at the end of comic-book title Civil War II, we learned that Tony Stark will be stepping out of his Iron Man suit and a character named Riri Williams will be taking over the mantle.
So who is Riri Williams? Believe it or not, she is just an African- American teenager who is a science prodigy. She went to MIT (the same school where Tony went) on a scholarship at the age of 15. Guess what, she reverse-engineered Iron Man suit in her dorm room and that’s when she came to the attention of Tony Stark through an AI.
At that point of time, Tony Stark’s personal life was in ruin and imploding as he came to know about the fact that Howard Stark is not his real father, his best friend Rhodey/ War Machine had just died, his company Stark Industries is filing for bankruptcy, and to top it all an in-human is on the loose and ‘The Avengers’ now led by Captain Marvel doesn’t trust him.
Hence, Tony Stark endorsed her and she became the youngest Iron Man but her journey has been far from perfect. She is struggling to take down bad guys as she has got the brains not the temperament for the job. But she is learning fast. She is even speculated to make her debut in future phases of MCU as Tony leaves it for good.
Hence The Invincible Iron Man issues have been all the rage for comic book lovers of the Marvel side of the Force. Maybe because Marvel is doing what it does best in this series – Shock value for the readers.
DC has been working its ass off making one of the most riveting storylines of the 21st Century while Marvel has been generally seen slacking off in the comic stores. Its sales are at a record low and writers and artists have been leaving the pavilion for better prospects elsewhere.
The storylines have been an absolute mess as of now. In a bid to capture the essence of Marvel’s original essence of storytelling, it has succumbed to what matters to it the most as a comic book based industry – Fan hype.
Now we are not saying that Marvel Comics is beyond saving. For God’s sake, it has the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is protected by the freaking Mouse House. Disney Studios alone can bail the comic industry out whenever it will find itself in dire straits.
While DC Comics is working to make sure that its storylines meet the fans’ demand, Marvel is experimenting with its story arcs. The latter can afford it while the former is playing it safe. And judging by the current comic book scenario, I say it is DC that is making the better choice.
It is not to say that DC does not experiment. But it only does so when the time and place is right. Unlike Marvel Comics, It does not have the Disney Cushion to save itself when it falls. Warner Bros. only owns DC’s movie rights. Disney owns the entire Marvel Comics. People often criticize DC without knowing the full facts while they have a soft corner for Marvel despite all its flaws.
And yet with all the equations favoring Marvel, it has consistently faltered to garner more readers and expand its fan base. Marvel needs to be called out for its failings in the comic-book segment while it deserves to be applauded for its exemplary efforts of building a vast cinematic universe. We are doing just that.
Part of the reason is that Marvel still has qualms about killing off major superheroes and core characters. There have been 16 Marvel movies till now and how many Avengers have been killed…. freakin nobody… Loki, the God of Mischief can bring the entire Chitauri army of alien fighters to New York and all the six people survived, the AI Ultron and his army destroyed Wakanda and is terrifying as hell but still, the rank and file of ‘The Avengers’ left unscathed. Fans are hoping at least Thanos will kill few Avengers.
Death can be used as a resourceful plot device when used judiciously. But Marvel does not even care about Death having any sort of value in the Comic book universe. The recent Invincible Iron Man issue is a testament to the idea.
The arc was going well. Lots of sacrifices and lots of plot twists were inbound. Then came another twist that forever twisted the ante. The one thing that made the arc better than most recent Marvel ventures was made to look like it never happened in the first place. Tony Stark is back from the dead. And he looks just like his father.
Invincible Iron Man #595 saw a shadowy figure in an undisclosed location walk into a containment unit and wear one of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits. The figure is assumed to be Tony until the shadows move away to reveal an old, bald figure.
The figure is then confirmed to be Tony when his own mother addresses him as such. It is then that the truth about his sorry state is revealed – Tony’s body chemistry has changed. After the disastrous effects from the events of Civil War 2 and using the Iron Man armors for so long, his body has changed its own chemistry to cope with the pent-up stress over the years.
How did his body do this you ask? Tony did that to himself. He performed an experiment on his own body that made it able to repair and modify itself to better handle the strain of wearing the Iron Man armor. The events of Civil War 2 ended with a fatal attack on Tony. So his body essentially rebooted itself which led to Tony becoming frail, bald and old.
The interaction with his mother turns out to be a hallucination. Tony is still in the suit and is essentially daydreaming all this stuff. But the issue does end with one startling revelation about his father – Howard Stark.
His mother claims there was something about him Tony does not know. If Tony is dreaming all this then Tony already knows. What is this secret that the Stark Family is hiding?
Invincible Iron Man #595 is already in stores. Don’t miss this one.