There’s another “event” being produced by Marvel this year spotlighting Iron Man, and as this interview with Christos Gage on Newsarama confirms, “Arno Stark” remains the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark, while Tony remains retconned into an adopted orphan. And he’s far from the star of this upcoming idiocy either, though with such pretentious writers behind it, is probably a good thing:
It’s 2020 – and despite hitting a milestone year in Iron Man lore, Tony Stark isn’t exactly around to see it. Instead, as in the classic tale, Arno Stark is Iron Man 2020 in a new event from writers Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage and artist Pete Woods.
But that doesn’t mean Tony won’t be a factor in the future of the Marvel Universe, as Arno attempts to unite A.I. for a coming crisis. In January 15’s Iron Man 2020 #1, that campaign begins in earnest with multiple tie-ins and side series launching in the coming weeks to celebrate the arrival of a long foretold moment of Iron Man lore.
Even that “long foretold moment” reeks of a blur between fiction and reality, by hack writers who can’t tell the difference. As far as Tony’s concerned, this is no reassurance. If it were ever possible to breed a successor to Tony who could take up his career just as Wally West inherited the Flash role from Barry Allen, the catastrophic scripters in charge of superhero comics today ruined such possibilities long ago. Come to think of it, they even ruined everything for 2nd Ant-Man Scott Lang, the one Marvel hero I know of who inherited an established role plausibly from Hank Pym, as he’d taken on the role of Yellowjacket instead, all due to terrible writing in the past 20 years. Now here’s some items from the interview itself:
Newsarama: Christos, Iron Man 2020 plays off of a classic “future” story that has since become sorta contemporary thanks to the disparity of time in comic books and real life – and Tony Stark seems to be in dire straits as this story kicks off. What can you tell us about where Tony and Iron Man are at going into 2020?
Christos N. Gage: It’s not going to be the same world we saw in the old-school “2020” stories…that’s an alternate timeline. Part of the fun now is seeing what elements of those stories show up in “our” 2020, and in what way. But you’re right, Tony is shaken up by revelations he’s faced in the last few issues of Tony Stark: Iron Man…things that rock the very core of who he is and how he sees himself…and it’s all had a tremendous effect on both his viewpoint and his role as a human being and as a hero.
Luckily, Arno Stark is there to pick up the slack for his brother as the Iron Man of 2020. But what’s Tony doing…? Read and find out!
Sorry, but no sale, and despite his claim to the contrary, the art doesn’t look very impressive either. Besides, there’s that little matter brought up previously that’s destroyed Iron Man’s plausibility:
Nrama: A different version of Arno Stark was the original “Iron Man 2020” in the classic tale – but how does he fit in now?
Gage: Arno Stark is the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark, but due to a potentially fatal illness, he was essentially raised in a bubble/iron lung for much of his life. Now he’s out. He’s as smart as Tony – maybe smarter – but due to a lack of human contact, people often confound him, and he can be a bit removed in how he relates to them. Dan compares him to Mr. Spock or Sherlock (in the BBC series) and I think that’s a perfect example. But one thing about Arno – he has a mission to save the world, and he is going to stop at nothing to do exactly that.
Well, there you have it, this fraud’s “origin” is still solid in place, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to change it any time soon, no matter how Tony Stark was depicted in the Marvel movies till now. Almost 7 years already and this is another bad direction they’ve adamantly kept in place, much like DC kept Identity Crisis’ premises in place for several years, and Marvel erased the Spider-marriage, kicking Mary Jane Watson to the curb for nearly a dozen years.
And then Gage has the gall to suggest Arno is “smarter” than Tony, which is putting down the original protagonist as not good enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if, based on the description of Arno as lacking ability to relate to other people at ease, he also lacks personality. Which proves the hypocrisy of anybody who complained the Silver Age Flash and Green Lantern lacked one.
Nrama: You’re writing this series alongside Dan Slott, who you’ve worked with many times over the last decade. What’s it like teaming up on this, now? How do you find yourselves balancing your individual views of Iron Man and Tony Stark?
Gage: Dan and I are, as always, really in sync. He finds plotting easier and I find scripting easier, so we’re like Jack Sprat and his wife…we each get to do what’s most fun for us. It feels a lot like the way we’ve worked together in the past! If there’s anything I’ve noticed it’s that at first I tended to make Iron Man a little too quick with jokes sometimes, even in dire situations…I think that’s carrying over from my work on the Iron Man VR video game, where he’s more like the movie version than the comic book version. But that was a minor adjustment – Dan helpfully let me know when I was going too jokey – and as we’re going into Iron Man 2020, I think it’s pretty well worked out.
So, he worked on a video game based on IM? I think there’s a computer game we can avoid too, even if, by sharp contrast, Tony Stark’s origin is kept in place, though it’s entirely possible Marvel’s been ruining even that much since, just like DC did with the Flash in the Injustice video game, which is notorious for putting Superman in the role of villain.
Nrama: Iron Man 2020 isn’t stopping at just one series – there are a host of tie-ins. What can you tell us about how those side stories play into the main narrative?
Gage: I’m not sure how much I can say, but I’m writing one…and it’s got me doing a lot of fun research, looking at the work of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko! Basically, we’re structuring it so that readers can just read Iron Man 2020 and get a full story, but they can pick up any or all of the tie-ins and get a look at the bigger picture.
What’s the point of researching Kirby/Ditko if they don’t respect the original setups for the heroes? Besides, IIRC, Don Heck was the first IM artist in 1962, not those two, even if they did have their share of credits on succeeding stories. Gage’s defense that you wouldn’t have to read all tie-ins is no excuse for keeping such an insulting retcon to Tony’s background in place, and it’s clear there’s nothing to celebrate anymore. IM was rusted beyond repair years ago, and Slott/Gage are the latest bad writers to mangle the armors up in the scrapyard.
Originally published here.