Title: Captain America: Man Out Of Time
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Jorge Molina
Characters: Steve Rogers (with appearances by Bucky Barnes, Tony Stark, Rick Jones, & the classic Avengers)
Length: 5 issues / 1 volume
Timeline: Early canon, around the formation of the first Avengers team
From Goodreads: “When the Avengers pull a mysterious, tattered soldier from the sea, they unwittingly bring back to life the Living Legend of World War Two - a man whose memories of a life sixty years ago are as fresh as yesterday! How will Steve Rogers, frozen in suspended animation for half a century, adapt to the world of the 21st century?”
Recommended for anyone who wants a modern retelling of Steve’s origins (his actualfax origins with the Super Soldier Serum aren’t explored in any great depth, but this series covers his reawakening and his first days with the Avengers - in a lot of ways, it’s a remix of early Avengers canon told from Steve’s point-of-view).
Mark Waid does a great job of balancing Steve’s confusion and disconnect with his adaptability, and while his desperation to return to the forties is pretty powerful, Steve is allowed to finally find some measure of peace in his new home. My favorite aspect is how much Waid plays up Steve’s pleasure at the societal advances; he isn’t amazed by the technology but by the progress made in combating racism, sexism, and other injustices. This is also the series in which Cap becomes a fan of Radiohead, and it’s probably worth reading for that alone.
(And Tony takes Steve on a man-date to the Smithsonian, so.)
The biggest surprise is that Natasha will drink with him.
Not often, because she doesn’t like giving up that measure of control, and Tony knows all about control. Not self-control, unless you count the sacrifice of such, but the things he does to himself—those are things he’d never let another person do to him.
Sometimes they get drunk and don’t tell each other things. It’s one of the more functional relationships Tony’s managed.
One time, they get drunk and do tell each other things.
“I have nightmares about being alone with Loki,” Tony says. He can’t feel his face.
“I have nightmares about being alone with Bruce,” Natasha says. Her hair is very—something.
“Yeah, good luck with that.”
Natasha snorts. “The Hulk likes you.”
“That’s gonna do me a whole lot of good when he decides to throw me out a window,” Tony points out.
She shrugs, uncaring. “What did Loki say to you?”
“What did you say to him? He looks at you like he wants to make you into a skin-suit.”
“I told him,” Natasha says.
Tony scratches his beard and waits.
“I told him that I have red in my ledger.”
“Yeah? Join the club.”
Natasha slams her hands on the table, and Tony has to flinch. She’s an angry drunk. He likes that about her; makes for a nice contrast.
“Join the club, Stark? How many of those people did you kill personally? Intimately? How many—”
“No, you’re right. It’s so much better that I murdered thousands of faceless people because I didn’t care enough to think,” Tony says. “That’s preferable, isn’t it. No pain, lots of gain. I had a personal touch, you know, like to sign my name to things, but my hands are clean. That what you want me to say?”
“Well. Good,” Tony says.
Natasha looks at him. Says, “Pass the bottle.”
He gets right on that.
Friendly Marvel discussion, woohoo! I’m not actually a huge fan of Tony/Pepper in 616 because Happy, yo, but I think the qualities that keep Tony from committing to one relationship in the comics (focus on his company, inventions, crimefighting, and the Avengers, fear of a future family falling apart the way his family did, struggles with mental health, all that good stuff) are all present in the movies to a greater or lesser extent. Also, more than once those relationships didn’t work out for reasons other than Tony - Rumiko cheated on him and eventually died, Bethany found out her husband was still alive, Pepper married Happy (and, recently, has admitted that even though Tony is in love with her, she isn’t in love with Tony).
Shouldn’t have implied you hadn’t read more of Iron Man, sorry, that was wrongheaded - I just see a lot of people draw too heavily from the Civil War period, which seems like it sets Tony up as a cardboard-cutout villain instead of fully exploring what was a very cool idea in concept, if not in execution. We’ll have to agree to disagree about Tony-the-jerk; he does come across that way to me once in a while, but more often than not I read him as a man who is, while deeply flawed, single-minded to the point of endangering his own health, and occasionally willing to step over lines that other heroes wouldn’t cross (Armor Wars comes to mind, maybe because I’m re-reading that), still much closer to idealist than cynic on that sliding scale.
He definitely has an atonement angle, but I think his crimes were more those of apathy, ignorance, self-abuse, and personal mistreatment of those he cares about than anything more grandiose or dark. Also, back to the movies vs. comics thing - I think you can’t underestimate the impact of the difference in medium. It’s more difficult and takes much longer to change a comic book character, because 1.) there’s no end in sight - Marvel will keep writing about Iron Man as long as he’s making them money, and 2.) they need the character’s “schtick” intact. Iron Man’s schtick is wealthy American industrialist with personal problems / man with fragile health inside an invincible suit. They keep him from having a happy, lasting relationship for the same reason they keep resurrecting his heart problems. The movies, which have the luxury of a beginning, middle, and end, can allow for change and meaningful resolution on a grander scale.
Anyway, hi, sorry, lots of Tony thoughts, always happy to read a differing opinion, have some probably nonsensical tl;dr? I am just so full of shredded wheat and feelings.
(whoops, sorry, meant to answer privately!)
“He’s not an alcoholic in the movies.” - Kevin Feige
I have something that’s driving me crazy, and I need to know. Am I the only person who has a problem with the fact that movie Iron Man is:
- not an alcoholic, and
- in a stable relationship with Pepper?
This is Iron Man:
This is Iron Man:
This is Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man:
The first Iron Man movie was absolutely perfect. Flawless, really. The darkness, guilt and obsession in the character were evident (“There’s the next mission and nothing else.”). The awkward sexual tension with Pepper was there. It had just the right amount of humor. The best part was that it subverted so many cliches of the superhero genre flick. There was no getting-the-girl moment. He had no secret identity. It was great.
Ever since Disney bought Marvel, though, I can’t help but feel like they’re making the character more bland. Iron Man 2 had the typical get-the-girl ending and was of little consequence. The character defeats two lame villains in Hammer and Whiplash, and what? His mission is over? He doesn’t need to work hard to atone for his past anymore? He just has to complain about his daddy issues and we’re good to go? He shows up in The Avengers and he’s feeling just peachy.
Tony Stark is an antihero through and through. He’s a manipulative bastard. The means to his ends are questionable, at best. And his struggle is never over. If it’s not alcoholism, it’s his armor trying to kill him. If it’s not that, it’s his company being bought out and him being left destitute. His relationships never work out. All of that? I find myself longing to see that darkness in the character again.
That’s not to say that Robert Downey Jr. isn’t awesome. On the contrary, he’s such an amazing actor that I want to see him get the chance to play a darker Tony. There was a brief glimpse of that after [major character death] in The Avengers. Does anyone think he wouldn’t knock the alcoholism out of the park? He absolutely would.
I’m not saying they should make his movies into The Dark Knight. He’s not Batman. But Iron Man needs to stop pretending to be a hero. I’m desperately hoping Iron Man 3 will bring the character back to his roots.
I don’t agree with this, actually. Mostly because it seems to depend heavily on the idea that MCU!Tony should basically be a 616!Tony clone and that’s…really not possible, at this point. Their histories are different in a lot of ways (many things that happened to 616!Tony never happened to MCU Tony, who became Iron Man at a later age, and many things are never going to happen for the same reasons).
And we really have no idea at all that he’s suddenly going to stop trying to make up for the harm he did before he became Iron Man so I don’t know where that came from. Part of Tony’s growth as a character was always going to necessitate that he take the fucked up things he’s responsible for and use that as motivation. That’s the point, that’s why he became Iron Man, and just because he doesn’t mean spend every second of every day angsting about it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten it. It’s still going to be what motivates him.
Iron Man 2 was kind of a mess of a movie but it still demonstrated that he carries a lot of issues and is still a darker character. I guess I can see why people think he’s magically moved past his issues in The Avengers because they didn’t really touch on them as much but there just wasn’t room in an ensemble movie for scenes and scenes discussing that Tony has issues. And his relationship with Pepper doesn’t magically mean he’s gotten over them, either. It just shows that he’s started to manage them - which is really the entire point of Tony in every universe. He’s damaged, yeah, but he deals with it and tries to do something better with his life. (And him suddenly being in a stable relationship doesn’t mean he’s suddenly fine and dandy either. People can still be messed up emotionally and in relationships, and we have no idea what Tony and Pepper’s relationship will be like in IM3. We saw only glimpses of it before anyway.)
“But Iron Man needs to stop pretending to be a hero.”
Except that he is. I really don’t know what to do with this because that’s basically the entire point of Tony Stark - it’s the fact that he tries to make up for things that motivates him to be a superhero to begin with. The fact that he has all of these issues but tries to put them aside because he finally realized he has things to make up for is really the entire point of his story. If you really don’t consider him a hero then I really don’t know what to say because then we aren’t talking about the same character at all.
Tony being an alcoholic wasn’t his only issue. In fact he’s an alcoholic because he couldn’t cope with all of the emotional trauma he’d been through all of his life. I get being upset that something that’s been associated for him so long isn’t true in the MCU, but both movies he’s been in have shown pretty clearly that he’s fucked up and has a lot of shit he has to work through. I don’t know why not making him an alcoholic magically removes all the “darkness” from the character because his alcoholism was a symptom before it was anything else. He did a lot of messed up things while drunk, but he didn’t start drinking for no reason and his drinking isn’t the main reason he’s considered a “dark” character anyway. It’s everything in his past - the deaths he feels responsible for, the childhood he can’t get past, his inability to connect with people.
All of these things are still present in MCU!Tony. You want “darker” Tony? Stick to the comics. They are two different versions of the same character; I don’t see anything wrong with liking one better but I don’t think MCU!Tony should become 616!Tony because of that. I like that they took the basics of the character and instead of doing nothing but driving him into the ground and overplaying ridiculous, OOT drama like the comics, they made him realistic. The things that 616!Tony has been through would destroy a real person, which is true of everyone in comics.
But MCU!Tony is a person that could very easily exist in the real world. He’s just like every person who had a shitty childhood and did a lot of things they regret and is awful with people and who still has to figure out how to navigate the world and make connections and still try and make their life mean something. I don’t see how that makes MCU!Tony not true-to-character or even a lesser character, I really don’t.
b.) Feige and I have very different definitions of the word “alcoholic.”
c.) 616 Iron Man is quite capable of committed, monogamous relationships (see: Rumiko).
d.) Tony may be a traumatized, addictive, egotistical control freak with daddy issues leaking out his computer ports, but he is, at his core, both a good man and a hero - in the comics and in the movies - which makes me wonder if OP has only read the Civil War mini.
e.) The first movie was better than the second, but BRIEFCASE ARMOR.
f.) Sometimes I like to whisper softly to my cereal before I eat it.