Volume 5, Issue 28
“The Invincible/Infamous Iron Man”
As expected, Marvel has started announcing a slew of titles for their upcoming “Divided We Stand” publishing initiative, which will see another batch of renumbered series and new titles coming our way. So far we’ve got U.S. Avengers, The Champions, the Great Lakes Avengers, and not one, but TWO Iron Man series: The Infamous Iron Man, in which Victor Von Doom (presumably) takes over for Tony Stark, and Invincible Iron Man, which stars new character Riri Williams as the next person to take up the mantle of the Armored Avenger.
If you can guess, the Internet reacted accordingly.
Now I’m the first person to admit that I’m completely bored with Marvel’s new “season approach” to their single-issue comics. While everyone can claim up and down that it’s more accessible to new readers, that’s not really the case when there aren’t clear delineations between volumes on the covers of the different series. A customer could walk into a well stocked comic book store looking for Amazing Spider-Man #7, and see TWO different versions of the comic, and be immediately confused. Not to mention that new readers could be really into a certain series, and then be turned off by the fact that the story they were following has now been renumbered and “doesn’t count” anymore.
But I digress. Of course once the Internet learned about Riri Williams, a young black girl who is in every sense of the word the opposite of Tony Stark, the usual comments came up about it. And again, I wonder how many of those people who reacted that way have any idea how comic books work. If Tony Stark is dead, like we are probably assuming, is that permanent? Was Spider-Man’s death permanent? Hell, was Superman’s? NO. This is Marvel, and one of their classic stunts. I think it’s safe to say that she won’t call herself “Iron Man” (please be called “Iron Maiden”), and in all likelihood, she’ll probably be the focus of Invincible Iron Man for about six months (which will probably be when the next Marvel relaunch will be). However, with Bendis writing her, there’s a good chance that Riri Williams will become the Miles Morales to Tony Stark’s Peter Parker: a character with connections to a legacy character, but is strong enough to stand on their own. Morales’ Spider-Man adventures didn’t effect Peter Parker’s at all, so the same can probably be said for Iron Man.
The flipside of the Iron Man coin is Infamous Iron Man, which is ALSO being written by Brian Michael Bendis, and featuring art by Alex Maleev. Taking the place of International Iron Man (a slow burn of a comic in every sense of the word), this series is basically the Iron Man version of the Superior Spider-Man, where Doc Ock took the place of Spider-Man. Whereas that story was met with a ton of controversy and initial hate, it actually ended up being really awesome. But now it seems like Marvel is looking at that run (which was about 2 years ago), and saying “well, let’s try it for Iron Man”. It’ll be interesting to read Doom as Iron Man for sure, and this is one of the few “Divided We Stand” titles that I’m actually intrigued by, but at the same time, it’s hard not to look at this announcement and accuse the “House of Ideas” of running low on the latter half of that statement.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicking ass and taking names left and right in pop culture, you’d think that maybe, just maybe, Marvel would want to try and make it so their comics were more accessible and appealing to new and old readers. Well, I’m not sure what Marvel’s plan is, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, the more and more announcements that Marvel makes for “Divided We Stand”, the further they seem from making comics people actually want to read. With the exception of these two Iron Man series, none of the current stuff they’re promoting sounds very interesting. I mean, a Foolkiller series? Really?