Look back on AP’s 30 years with us with the hashtag #AP30
AP 174 // January 2003 // #AFI –THE MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES OF 2003
“Sure, we could go on forever about how rad 2002 was for new music, but we’re too psyched about next year to care. Check out what’s in store in ’03 from AFI, Saves The Day, Thursday, Dashboard Confessional, The White Stripes, Thrice, The Mars Volta, Alkaline Trio, Godsmack, Andrew W.K., CAVE IN (official), The Dillinger Escape Plan, Poison the Well, The Locust and many, many more. Plus, we sneak-peek 2003’s most anticipated movies, dishing out exclusive dirt on T3, X-Men 2, Daredevil, The Hulk, two new Matrix movies, and others you’re waiting for some pirate with a camcorder to upload so you can see them early.”
in 2002, tony stark renews his contract with the government of the united states and becomes the single largest arms provider in american history. at the party afterwards, he opens a bottle of the most expensive champagne known to humanity with a grin on his face. everyone in the room congratulates him on how many lives he’s going to save.
in 2003, the u.s. rolls their tanks and their rockets over the sokovian border in pursuit of the enemy (it does not matter who this enemy is, only that they die) and begin firing. Or: in 2003, the tanks roll over the border to help, request of the current leadership. to quell unrest. Or: it’s not america at all, it’s someone else who looks at the killing machines tony stark has created and thinks, i’m going to take that and i’m going to use that. the reason doesn’t really matter in the end, only that wanda and pietro maximoff, age ten, watch the floor swallow their parents and wait for a shell with the name ‘stark’ painted in blue paint to end their lives. they in breathe in so much dust it feels like they’re suffocating. after a day and a half, it starts to smell like rancid meat. (their rescuers cannot spare time on dead parents and neighbors, only the two living children within.)
in 2004, tony stark is drunk on power, drunk on destructive science, drunk on girls, drunk on wine. only now does obadiah stane look at him and think, i deserve more than this. he starts making calls, opening with “hey i heard you like big guns…” he knows he can play the long game. (sokovia in 2003 was not his doing)
in 2005, the sokovian people topple the current regime. it is bloody; many lives are lost; but their corrupt government is gone; but the americans do not leave. stability, they say, peace. no one believes them. the maximoffs sleep in bombed out buildings.
in 2006, there is no bat and bar mitzvah for them. there is no party, no food, no celebration. there is no one who would come - their mother’s brother’s family, across town, died in the same strike their parents did. there is no rabbi, no synagogue anyway. it does not matter, wanda tells her brother, we do not need it. twelve minutes later, he will do the same for her.
in 2007, the maximoffs have part-time jobs in exchange for a shitty one room apartment. sometimes, they go to school. other times, they are suspended: for cussing out the american teacher who refuses to address them in the language of their country, for taking pocketknives and carving out the stark industries logos printed on their math and science textbooks. disrespect and defacement, their mostly u.s. installed government calls it. the maximoffs and many of their classmates yell back, pride and justice.
in 2008, tony stark announces the halt of weapons production. (he has learned. he takes responsibility. he knows the truth now, but it is too little, too late) in a basement, pietro says, this is not enough. later, tony stark stands in a conference room and says: i am iron man. people start calling him hero. wanda maximoff says to the man at the repair shop, the one missing a leg and a daughter: i threw my radio at the wall. he tells her: you are not the first to tell me that today.
in 2009: pietro tells wanda, these elections are rigged. wanda tells pietro, did you know that an american company just opened a new oil refinery. they tell each other: our government is not ours; our government needs to go.
in 2012, shield stops next to pietro maximoff as he walks alone. they tell him, in english, to get in the vehicle, so they can discuss. he tells them, in his own language, to fuck off. then, he demands to know who they are, in english. they tell him and he says: your homeland, maybe, but not mine. later that year, tony stark is the man who saves a city, saves the world. but the maximoffs do not forget. they agree: if he wanted to undo the damage he is wrought, he could have started by saying sorry.
in 2013, the maximoffs are approached by a man who reeks of malice. he offers them a deal, sitting across from them in a cold room, hours after they have been arrested. how much do you want to see the end of the avengers, he asks. he says he is shield, but they see the lie. they know he is a snake. there is something about him that says: you will accept this offer, or you will leave this room in a bag. they look at him and they see the same kind of man who rounded up their great-grandparents. with a glance, they communicate: first they will destroy the avengers. they will avenge their parents, their neighbors, their city and their country and their people and their friends. then, and only then, will they go after this threat.
in 2014, they wake. he wakes first, moving in light years, slamming against cell walls (that is what it is, no matter what you call it), his hair a different color, balancing on the knife’s edge between terrified and exhilarated, everything a too-fast blur. twelve minutes later, like clockwork, she wakes, and she sees everything. it will take time for her to understand and sort through this new power, but when she does, she will understand. she will understand everything, and she will whisper into her brother’s mind: when we are through with the avengers, we will burn hydra to the ground three times over.
in 2015, baron von strucker does not think they are ready. he is wrong.
they have been ready for this fight since they were ten.
You knew the Soldier, James, sat at one of the windows of the old
industrial building across the street, his rifle assembled and ready
for use. You peered out the window of the hotel room you were waiting
in, across the snowy street and into the dilapidated concrete
building; you located where he was, fifteen floors up and six windows
from the right. True to form, he was hidden from your view. You were
used to being on dangerous missions, often alone. Knowing he was
there, with a straight view and a clean shot, made you feel safer.
Safe wasn’t something you felt often, but it was a feeling that was
beginning to creep up whenever James was nearby.
You waited, silently, in the hotel. The mark, a man named Luke
Cage, was supposed to check into the room adjoining yours. The
Program, Hydra, Alexander Pierce, and the SVR all wanted this man
gone for some reason, and had sent the two of you to do it. You’d
read his file; he seemed like an okay guy to you, but he was a threat
to someone. You’d once again resolved yourself to do your job and
not ask questions; information that was above your rank had led to
him being next on your hit list.