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Comic Book / Iron Man (2020, Ongoing)

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Iron Man is a 2020 comic book series by Marvel Comics, written by Christopher Cantwell with art by CAFU.

After years of drastic shifts in his life, Tony Stark has decided to streamline it. He wants to get to the core of who Iron Man really is, so he's going back to basics. Donning some retro armor and accompanied by Patsy Walker, Tony's personal crisis will have to wait after a dangerous threat emerges. One whose god complex isn't too dissimilar from Tony's.

The first issue was published September 2020.

This series should not be confused with Iron Man 2020 (Event), which it follows on from.

Iron Man (2020) provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Patsy's mother is shown in a flashback to have been happy about her daughter's mental breakdown, even making money off it. It's not clear if this is actually what happened, given the framing device, but if it is, that's very extreme.
  • Aesop Amnesia: While he initially wants to ground himself back to basics and rediscover his humanity by going back to a version of his classic armor, Tony abandons this once he is imbued with the Power Cosmic and resolves to embrace his newly found godhood.
  • Amicable Exes: Tony and Janet split up at the beginning of issue one, both feeling it’s for the best. They do however wish each other well and remain good friends like before they started dating.
  • Arc Words: At one point, Patsy mentions that Tony is his best when he’s “a hero and a friend.” Tony really takes to this phrase and reiterates “a hero and a friend” multiple times in his internal narrative afterwards as the goal he has for himself.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • In issue 17, Rhodey brings up that Tony has been making excuses of "this new development will finally allow me to make a difference" since his first suit, but he has always had the means to do so. As a result, he gives the summation that leads to Tony accidentally breaking his neck.
      Rhodey: So what the hell are you so afraid of?
    • In issue 19, Tony, realizing that was right, pulls the same line on Korvac, daring him to release his powers and be a human being.
      Tony: What I'm saying, stop hiding. Be a #$%& man. For once in your life. Try it. Or are you too scared?
  • Assimilation Plot: Korvac plans to create a "collective aggregate" of sameness.
  • Back for the Dead: Avro-X returns to a Marvel comic after over three years of dormancy following his debut only to die at Korvac’s hand.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Tony and Patsy banter and flirt a bit throughout the first few issues. They end up sleeping with each other.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Stilt Man proves to be capable of reprogramming Ultimos to follow his will, intergalactic teleportation, and some high end manipulation which is a far cry from the Joke Character he usually portrayed as.
    • Tony’s team includes Frog-Man who nonetheless proves himself as a worthy member of the team.
  • Breather Episode: The conclusion of the nineteen-issue “Books of Korvac” arc, in which Korvac takes his own life and Tony checks into rehab for his morphine addiction, is immediately followed by a story in which Tony fights a disgruntled talking gorilla named Chet.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The Demolisher robot is seen briefly in issue 3 after not appearing in comics since 1968.
    • After not being seen in a few years, Blizzard also returns during issue 3. Other Iron Man rogues who haven't been used in ages have also shown up — The Controller, Unicorn, and the Guardsman (or at least a Guardsman) are part of Korvac's forces.
    • On Issue 5 Tony ends up calling for assistance, with Misty Knight, Gargoyle, Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) and Frog Man being his backup. While Misty has been seen recently in tie-ins for Venom (Donny Cates) and its events, Gargoyle, Ben and Frog Man haven't seen too much use as of late.
    • Issue 7 sees the return of Canadian armor user Colin Richard/Avro-X, whose only previous appearance was in 1989.
    • Issue 9 sees the Original Human Torch return.
    • Issue 10 features Stilt-Man, who hadn't been seen much since his unceremonious revival during Dead No More.
    • Issue 11 has a brief but surprising appearance of the Living Tribunal, who informs Tony he needs to stop Korvac and restore the cosmic balance.
    • Issue 16 sees the reappearance of Big Wheel, who had been in a coma since he was thrown off a bridge by Foolkiller back in 2016.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Korvac tries to convince the Original Human Torch to join his quest for godhood. When spurned, Korvac resigns to just using the Controller to turn him into a slave to his cult instead.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tony saves a bunch of people from a strangely villainous Cardiac, who intended to murder them to somehow show the inadequacies of the American healthcare system. The press sides with Cardiac after he's foiled. And the hits just keep coming. Least of all from Patsy Walker, who uses a very "tough love" approach with him.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: In issue #7, Tony's ad-hoc strike team of street level superheroes has a three-page discussion on what "God" is in the Marvel universe.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Tony at one point is transported onto an alien world where other displaced beings across the universe have gathered to form what is basically a hippy commune with Stilt Man of all people as leader. The commune is pretty peaceful but appears to be the homeworld of Ultimo and the community is regularly attacked by multiple copies of Ultimo. Turns out Stilt Man is controlling them to maintain a common threat to unite the commune under his leadership.
  • Cult: Korvac has created one around his quest for godhood to include Iron Man villains the Controller, the Unicorn, and Blizzard. He eventually adds the Golden Age Human Torch to his fold via one of Controller’s control discs.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Patsy, while being Tony's main confidant during this time, does not mince words with him and is more than willing to make fun of him.
    • Scarlet Spider is a clone of Peter Parker with all the snark that would imply.
  • Dented Iron: By the time of the battle aboard Galactus’ vessel, Iron Man is suffering from a broken neck that only his armor is keeping together and even notes in mid-battle that he’s pretty sure his brain is bleeding which his suit’s AI confirms is correct.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Tony is clearly going through something and hasn’t fully recovered from his identity crisis. The many changes he’s made are a part of his soul searching.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tony gave the cosmic power to everyone on Earth, expecting everyone to do good with it. But a lot of people wanted to use the power of their own ends, not caring if it was good or evil. Earth ends up a melting pot of superpowered citizens, on the verge of anarchy.
  • Driven to Suicide: Korvac kills himself in issue 19, walking off of a building with no powers.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Following his broken neck, Tony’s armor is augmented to include a morphine drip for him to function. After getting stranded on a distant world, he hacks the distribution settings to give him higher dosages, fully acknowledging his addictive personality will likely succumb to it. He openly admits to anyone who asks that he’s incredibly high during the final battle.
  • Eat the Rich: How the Melter tries to justify him destroying Tony's car. Tony almost murders him in response.
  • Foil: Korvac is presented as one to Tony. While Tony is asking what it means to be Iron Man and how he should improve the world, Korvac has no doubt about it and just... does it. While Tony has people who adore him, Korvac is outright worshipped by his followers.
  • Godhood Seeker: Korvac explicitly wants to invade Galactus’ ship to attain godhood via the Power Cosmic. He succeeds but Iron Man attains it as well and manages to trap Korvac in a dead alternate universe where he can’t hurt anyone with his new powers.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Hellcat recruits Doctor Doom to take down Iron Man when the latter is Drunk with Power over the Power Cosmic.
  • Hero Insurance: Subverted twice: after Terrax is sent into orbit, people complain that their TV is down due to the satellite wrecked in the process, and the communications company adds that their legal team will contact Iron Man regarding the satellite's destruction; and when Tony is forced to get medical treatment, he tells Hellcat that he's been deemed "uninsurable" and will have to pay out of his own pocket.
  • He's Back!: After Tony and Patsy are roundly knocked aside and Tony has his neck broken — with only his armor holding him together — and the onset of more existential dread, after a trip to see Halcyon, he's more than ready to get back to it with his assembled team.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite Frog Man's status as a Joke Character usually, we learn that he knows sign language here.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Dr. Fuller Tielhard aka The Other is really Michael Korvac in disguise.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Patsy Walker organizes a plan to neutralize a cosmic empowered Tony, and makes herself bait as a hostess of a pizza party. It goes okay, until Tony thanks her for seeing he's doing the right thing and not needing to mind control her. She can't swallow that, and ends up raving at him for what he's done, blowing the plan and getting her comrades in the plan killed.
  • Hypocrite: Korvac tries to convince The Golden Age Human Torch to join his cause by accusing Tony Stark of manipulating him for Stark’s own ends in the past which the Torch doesn’t really dispute but when the Torch rejects Korvac for his previous crimes, Korvac resolves to just brainwash him for his own ends.
  • It's All About Me: In Issue #7, Korvac shows Tony and Patsy his vision of a universal utopia in which all life is transformed into crystaline creatures that feed upon other crystals. Tony and Patsy are not impressed by this, and Tony claims that Korvac's utopia is nothing more than his "vanity project".
    • When Iron Man gets stranded on a distant planet, Patsy manages to get in contact with him and lets him know the rest of the team plans to fight Korvac’s cult without him. When Tony objects, citing his own guilt if they die without him there, Patsy calls him out on making this about himself, noting the team is capable of making their own choices and they aren’t going to risk the universe falling to Korvac’s plans just to console Tony’s self-centered feelings.
  • Knight Templar: War Machine accuses Tony of being this, saying he needs to prove himself in the right, far too many times. Given the last Civil Wars that occurred, he's got a point.
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car: Once Tony quits his company, he decides to buy an old muscle car, "put the Iron back in Iron Man". Melter destroys it, and Tony nearly gives him a Disney Villain Death in retaliation.
  • Morality Chain: Patsy Walker serves as this to Tony, as reluctant and snarky as she is about it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In issue 17, when Tony ends up killing War Machine (by punching him in the jaw so hard his neck breaks) and confronts Hellcat expecting a Last Stand, he breaks down in tears and collapses, realizing he's gone too far.
  • Nasty Party: A non-fatal case, where as soon as Tony decides to leave his party full of CEOs and stuck-up people with Patsy Walker, he also ignites an EMP to fry the electronic devices of the guests.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Korvac succeeds in attaining godhood. Unfortunately for him, Tony does as well and uses it to strand Korvac in a dead alternative universe.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In issue #2, Tony breaks his arm saving civilians from a villain. In hospital, he tells his new crimefighting partner Patsy Walker that he can't get health insurance and will have to pay out of his own pocket for his medical treatment.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Iron Man gives one to Korvac and the reader after he and Korvac receive the Power Cosmic, noting that he’s one of the greatest thinkers of Earth if not the entire universe and will act like it. Subverted in that he’s likely Drunk on the Dark Side.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In issue #17, Hellcat invites Tony to her house in order to lure him to a trap that will strip him of his new powers. However, Tony's arrogance and need for validation continually grate on her until she snaps and gives away the plan.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The team that Tony puts together to help with Korvac. He can't risk Korvac finding out if he contacts the Avengers or anything, so he puts out the call to a bunch of less prominent characters. Besides Hellcat, the team consists of Misty Knight, Ben Reilly, Halcyon, Gargoyle and... Frog-Man. Avro-X joins his quest on Issue 11. Tony eventually dubs this team the “Space Friends.”
  • Ramming Always Works: An iron sphere laced with vibranium and adamantium withstands repulsor fire just fine. Iron Man flying at full speed to punch it, on the other hand, opens a hole (and breaks Tony's arm).
  • Red Shirt: Avro-X dies in the battle against Korvac’s cult aboard Galactus’ ship.
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: Issue #3 features Tony briefly facing several of his lesser known rogues, like The Demolisher, Night Phantom, Madame Masque, Gladiator and the Melter.
    • Korvac’s cult includes classic Iron Man foes Blizzard, Unicorn, and the Controller.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Korvac initially was a villain to the Avengers in general. Here, he’s specially Iron Man’s enemy and flashbacks to the Korvac Saga emphasize Iron Man specifically in the Avengers’ conflict with Korvac at the time.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Tony isn't impressed by Korvac's demonstration of a "perfectly harmonious" universe:
    "This is all about you. It's obviously—cringingly—about you. It's a vanity project, if you worked for me, I'd fire your ass."
    • Later when both are empowered by the Power Cosmic, Tony notes that Korvac’s plans are simplistic and stupid and than he’s already thought up a million better ideas on what to do.
  • Snap Back: Tony gets rid of his higher tech armors in favor of an updated version of his Model 4 armor, feeling that such armors as Extremis and beyond were causing him to lose touch with his humanity.
  • Social Media Is Bad: Issue 1 has Tony getting bad reactions to his Twitter posts until he deletes it. There's also a brief "Readit" thread calling him out on buying a car.
  • The Stoic: Halcyon is a street racing mutant whose power prevents his heart from going above 70 bpm, making him almost supernaturally calm, even during intense competitions or supervillain attacks.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: While Korvac is powerful, there are quite a few heroes who could stop him. However, the time limit on his plan are specifically mentioned for why the Guardians of the Galaxy don't show up, while the team that Tony assembles has its roster specifically because they're low enough on the list that Korvac wouldn't know if they were used, compared to, say, Thor or something.
  • Super-Empowering: To assure all his friends and allies that he's not going mad with power cosmic, Tony gives everyone in New York intelligence on par with his own. They tentatively allow it to run its course, though Reed does say that he feels he might be dumber.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Thanks to Moondragon, Patsy develops stronger psychic abilities that allow her to throw off Korvac.
    • Iron Man himself gets imbued with the Power Cosmic.
  • Two-Faced: After Tony and Hellcat fight Korvac, one of the villain's electric discharges causes Patsy to get an "insane fractal burn on my face".
    • Korvac also wears a smooth plate over half of his face to cover up the half not covered in flesh.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Tony's group has two females, Patsy Walker and Misty Knight.
  • Übermensch: Korvac. Although, being constantly criticized by the Jerkass citizens of New York briefly causes Tony to snap and almost kill the Melter for destroying his car, mentally ranting about how how strong he is and how he could just ditch the whole hero biz in a heartbeat.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The population of the Marvel universe apparently reverted to their 2000s depiction here. They are constantly bashing Tony on social media no matter what he does.
  • Villain Ball: Korvac makes a point of gunning for Tony due to how he was integral to tracking him down once, seemingly succeeds, but doesn't stick around to check if the energy attack he hit Tony and Patsy with actually did the job.
  • Villain Team-Up: Blizzard, Unicorn, Controller and Korvac team-up against Tony and Patsy.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Tony is easily knocked aside by the villains. However, his armour is intentionally less powerful and useful than the armours he's worn in the last few years.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Halcyon, a street racer Tony meets early on and loses to. It turns out he's a mutant, with the ability to... have a steady heartbeat and no adrenaline. It means he doesn't ever panic, no matter the pressure, though Tony does build him a suit to give him some adrenaline for his own safety.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Patsy does this a lot for Tony, as part of her Morality Chain role the story gives to her.
    • Firstly, she calls Tony out for treating her like his self-help guru, because she's going through her own shit — particularly dark thoughts after a failed suicide attempt — and he hasn't even bothered to think about that.
    • She also scolds him when he objects to the team fighting Korvac when he’s unavailable to be there, noting the fate of the universe is more important than Tony’s wounded guilt over the team maybe dying to save the universe without him.
    • And when he uses his cosmic power across Earth and plunges it into chaos, she calls him out for not thinking the move through and for expecting everyone to be happy with it.