Or, why I won’t be finishing The Invincible Iron Man.
I’ve decided that’s where this run ends for me.
Issue 500.1 is what really solidified this for me. It’s a sidebar from the main plot of the run and focuses on Stark attending an AA meeting. He’s telling the group about his alcoholism but mostly about his addiction to using women.
Stark being an alcoholic is one of his more interesting traits, something that makes him stand out from the other billionaire super heroes. But I don’t like to see it as an excuse for his extremely shitty behavior.
Every time I complain about Stark someone tells me that I’m not supposed to like him. That he’s written that way on purpose. Sure, that makes sense for some characters but why am I reading Iron Man if I really can’t stand him? He never experiences consequences for his terrible actions and I think I’m supposed to still be happy when he saves the day but I would far rather it be someone else.
I like damaged heroes, don’t get me wrong. But they need some redeeming factors! Stark embodies rich, white, straight, cis male, who gets everything he wants without any trouble. Fuck that guy. I hate that guy.
A the AA meeting Stark describes how he would get drunk and take home strange women consistently. He seems to be ashamed of the drinking but proud of the women. He talks about them like they were trophy kills he’s mounted on his wall.
Every time he discusses the women it’s coy and skeezy. He doesn’t appear to have any remorse about that aspect of his downfall. These nameless women are given no consideration outside of they were a way for this billionaire jerk ass to validate himself. He makes no effort to personify them in any way and I’m certain he will never apologize for using them.
This is very clear at the end of the book when Stark comes out of the AA meeting and calls Pepper Potts. I thought for a brief moment that he was going to make things right!
He asks her out on a proper date. Finally! After two volumes of having some weird flirtation with her! She informs him that before his memory wipe he slept with her and Maria Hill within the same day and she was hurt by this. (Rightfully).
Instead of offer to talk this out he just verbally stumbles and hangs up on her. Real mature.
And then, then, he goes immediately back into the AA meeting and picks up the first body with a vagina he sees! You learned nothing you cad!
All of his whining to AA, saying how ashamed he was and how he wants to change, that was all a lie. He’s an egomaniac who uses people and will continue to do so until he finally dies.
He hurts people. People who are close to him. People who he claims to care for.
So why in the world would I continue to read this book? He’s one of the most despicable characters in the Marvel universe, including actual villains.
Stark is one of the least evolved characters that comic books have to offer. He’s a remnant of an age where men could take what they wanted without consequence and he needs to be put to pasture. I do not want to continue seeing him act without consequences.
So I will not be finishing this run and I doubt I’ll attempt any others. Stark is a reprehensible character who I cannot encourage.