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I respect you Brian Michael Bendis, hell I’ve really liked a lot of your work. I know that means a lot coming from me, random Internet someone, but there’s something more. Something we need to talk about. When Marvel switched to their All-New, All-Different line up they made a lot of a hubbub about Iron Man being their new mascot.
You were then given the flagship title, Invincible Iron Man, with top notch artists to match. For the most part, I was neutral to this. I mean, I haven’t read an Iron Man title in forever. The character never did a whole lot for me. Then, in some articles, you mentioned that this title would be a futurist’s take on the character. I got excited.
It’s never really been done before. Iron Man’s “futurism” has been mostly about better or different suits. This suit is bigger, this suit is more connected, this suit is for space, this suit is stored in his bones, this suit is self-aware, this suit is liquid metal/symbiotic. However, a “speculative fiction” Iron Man, one that expands on his role as an inventor and futurist, one that’s bigger than the suit would be fantastic.
And ya messed it up.
What’s so futurist about this Tony Stark, Bendis? You put a lot of emphasis on the new armor, “it combines all of his armors, it’s by far the most advanced!”, but you don’t explain any of it. This suit is “magic”. It does whatever the plot needs it to, even when it doesn’t make sense.
How is this Stark Industries more future-minded than any other past version? We don’t see the company do anything, we don’t see any fancy future tech. It’s just a vague background reason to explain why Tony has unlimited resources and money. Just like all the other ones that have come before.
What’s futurist about the current plot line? It’s literally the opposite of technology, it deals exclusively in magic. It’s basically a bunch of magic people doing magic things with Tony in the background. Was this a mandate from Marvel? Are they setting something up? Because when I think “bleeding edge technology”, I think magic Madame Masque too.
It’s not even like we need “hard sci-fi” plots (I get explanations aren’t important re: “this is how the suit works and it just does, shut up“). Stuff like experiments gone wrong, dangers from the very limit of technological advances. Cyborgs, nanotech monsters, human-minds-in-computers run amok. Pulp, almost. Stuff that friggen Spider-Man is dealing with. Spider-Man!
You seem to be open to changing the Iron Man mythos: Mary Jane is his assistant, his new AI is Friday, he seems unaware of his womanizing reputation. That’s great! Marvel has a bunch of villains that could skew toward the futurist bend! All of Marvel is just open to you!