Iron Man can create sentient AI, stop the Sun from exploding, and save the Marvel Universe from Thanos, but he can’t make social media be nice to him.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Iron Man #1
The Marvel Universe is known for giving its heroes harsh treatment, but trolling Iron Man on social media takes things to a new level. Internet comments tend to pack a lot of vitriol, regardless of the topic or subject, and billionaire celebrities don’t get an exception, whether they’re an Avenger or not. In the first issue of Tony’s newest comic series, Iron Man #1, the beleaguered hero learns that his armor does nothing to deflect getting ratioed in replies.
Iron Man #1 is written by Christopher Cantwell (Doctor Doom), with art by CAFU, coloring by Frank D’Armata, and lettering by Joe Caramagna. The series comes on the heels of Tony Stark: Iron Man, a storyline about the Armored Avenger dying and returning as an AI, giving him an existential crisis. As Cantwell and CAFU take over, Iron Man is secure that he’s the real Tony Stark, but his faltering confidence isn’t sure what worth that carries anymore.
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In Iron Man #1, Tony is in a full PR tailspin. In trying to get “back to his roots,” he liquidated his own assets, but then immediately reinvested them, causing a minor financial crisis from the sheer amount of money he was moving around. He’s getting chewed out by the media and dumped by his girlfriend Janet Van Dyne. His only real relationship left is Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, who seems to be standing by him only because she knows one of the voices calling him out needs to be a friend.
The Greek chorus that is social media, predictably, piles on. Whether Iron Man is giving updates on villain fights or posting inspirational quotes, the responses are the sort of treatment you’d expect from Twitter and Reddit equivalents on the Earth that gave readers The Daily Bugle. Tony commemorates his efforts to find himself with a line from John Muir: “The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” A user whose avatar is a frowny face with a clown nose — or maybe a queasy Anpanman — replies, “cool take a hike then.” The responses range from very specific callouts, such as, “says the guy who made the internet have emotions,” to the concise and conclusive, “no.”
After a botched apology for destroying a priceless Gutenberg Bible, the backlash is fiercer than ever. An edit of the tech magnate to make him look cartoonishly obese, captioned, “fat tony in da house,” is the capper, and Iron Man tosses his entire account in the trash. And that’s the best course of action for the superhero. Tony Stark is acting insecure, erratic, and even vaguely suicidal. That’s a bad mix with the oftentimes toxic environment of social media, so it was probably the smart move.
Iron Man #1 is available now from local comics shops, Marvel Comics, and Comixology.
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