So I actually had this idea while sitting on the toilet last night. I know, weird, but I tend to get a lot of work/thinking done when in there, so don’t be a hater.
A new post-Iron Man movie title is The Invincible Iron Man, a side-title running alongside the other main Iron Man book Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. Matt Fraction, who wrote the really really good recent run on The Immortal Iron Fist, is writing it, with Salvador Larroca on art. It’s a really good book so far, I’m not gonna lie. Larroca’s art is really good, nice and bright, making the shading/airbrushing sorta thing he has going on look really good. Relatively realistic too, which means everyone with boobs doesn’t look exactly the same. And Fraction’s writing’s turning out great. His Iron Fist storyline was so goddamn awesome it made me genuinely stoked for Marvel stuff again.
What I’ve read of it is great because it’s setting up a unique take on a classic Iron Man conflict. It’s basically a technology vs. technology storyline, but imagine if the distinct possibility of Tony Stark losing came to the forefront? His current adversary is Ezekiel Stane, who’s the son of old-school Iron Man villain Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger.
Look familiar? Look like maybe he’s wearing something like Iron Man lite? That’s because (this is the cover of Invincible Iron Man #5, coming out soon) he basically is. Stane, who’se basically the ultimate science-fiction terrorist, is described as a child prodigy, designing bleeding-edge bioweaponry since he was barely ten years old. He first appeared as the apparent mastermind behind everything going on in the really good Fraction-penned The Order miniseries, but it’s in Invincible that he’s coming to the forefront. He is everything Tony Stark is, upped to the next level, but at the same time is also everything he’s not.
Off-the-grid and self-sufficient, unlike Stark’s connections to technology through his Extremis nano-enhancments and his SHIELD and Stark International bases, he is also mostly reliant on internal modifications he’s done to himself, allowing him to use most of the energy in his body for enhanced healing and energy blasts through his fingertips. He’s essentially streamlined his body, streamlining everything about being an armored superbeing into a more compact and efficient version. Stane is, in Fraction’s words apparently, representative of technology’s usage in the 21st century and how it’s no longer just about cutting-edge and power, but applications and usage. Iron Man still thinks in classic modes of strategy, versus Stane’s very different and almost non-linear thoughts. It is, and I hate to make a political connection/comparison here, very much a take on the way the US Military having to deal with warfare in the 21st century in the Middle East. Conventional warfare is no longer viable and the US is struggling to keep up with how to deal with guerrilla warfare and newer applications of technology like remote control and the Internet in combat/intelligence/terrorism.
In his first true act that we see in Invincible, he thanks a boardroom full of tobacco exectives for letting him use their money for a project, kills them all with lasers from his fingertips, and throws himself out a 40th-story window. He survives, and thrives, thanks to making up for his insane energy usage (due to his enhancements) by eating blueberry cobbler-flavored calorie paste, a tube like toothpaste that’s like 5,000 calories.
No home, no connections to the worldwide web, and no morals at all. The story currently has Stane starting a campaign against Stark by modifying suicide bombers (and unwilling test subjects sometimes) with Iron Man-like technology, resulting in turning their whole bodies into human bombs. Stane is Stark gone underground and with no morals, viewing everything Iron Man has, his high-powered suit of armor, his nanotech-enhanced connection to electronic systems, his backup of a UN-sponsored peacekeeping taskforce, and his experience (read; “age”) not as assets, but as liabilities. He is, in his mind, the homo sapien to Stark’s Neanderthal.
You think Stark’s gonna stand for that?