Why Tony Stark is Secretly Immortal/an Alien/a Mutant: An Analysis of Tony’s List of Injuries/Ailments Part 1 - Youth - IM1 (Updated)
Since this past days I’ve been posting actually illustrated meta - I decided it was high time I did one for Tony, who is, after all, one of the main topic of this blog. At the end of the day, it’s a Tony Stark Defense Squad blog (among other things) not an other-Avengers hate blog (although the two things seem to coincide these days, alas).
So… For my first Tony-dedicated illustrated post, I picked something that has been the topic of much debate. Tony’s huge laundry list of injuries.
In the MCU, Tony takes quite a beating, but MCU medicine being as hand-wavey as ever, a lot of it is glossed over. This is my attempt of a more realistic approach to his situation.
Given the extensive list, this will extend in a series of posts. For the purpose of organization, this one will contain Tony’s youth and the events of IM 1.
With the caveat that I am no doctor, here we go.
Age 1-40: Young Tony and Pre-Afghanistan Era
We don’t have much information on Pre-Afghanistan Tony Stark and what may have happened to him, at least not in the movie-verse, so a fair bit of what will be speculation on my part.
A huge factor in Tony’s young life is his relationship with Howard. Now, in the comics, Howard Stark is depicted as an abusive drunk who not only belittles Tony but appears to be physically violent.
He constantly chips at Tony’s self-esteem, telling he has to learn to be “tough, to be a man”, all the while teaching him how to drink at the age of 6.
MCU Howard is clearly not this guy. Tony describes him as “cold and calculating”, clearly a distant father. It was only years later that Tony would ever see acknowledgment of his efforts – and even that would be fundamentally unsatisfying.
To be perfectly honest, “the my greatest creation” bit always made me grimace. It sounds like he’s talking about Tony like an inanimate thing. But upon further analysis, this is likely Howard’s way to tell Tony that he loves him. A poor way, perhaps, but Howard wasn’t exactly known for being open and expressive with his feelings.
Either way, Howard and Tony’s relationship was well and truly strained, up to the fateful day of Howard and Maria’s death.
This final day is something Tony never truly got over with, as evidenced by the fact that he used BARF to explore the memory.
How would this have affected him physically, beyond the very clear “daddy issues” and personality flaws it gave him?
Growing up, Tony would have done his best to impress Howard. He built a circuit board at four and went to MIT at 15.
We know by now that Tony isn’t all that good with laboratory precautions - he displays that kind of reckless behavior all throughout the Iron Man movies, and I don’t think it’s due to Afghanistan.
A budding engineer gets hurt. Probably minor injuries, but there would be cuts, bruises, minor burns.
There would have probably been some substance abuse. This would have become more pronounced after the death of his parents.
Comics Tony is known for being an alcoholic. There is a whole comic arc called “The Demon in the Bottle” largely dedicated to Tony’s fight against alcoholism during a very difficult period of his life.
MCU Tony does not appear to have this problem… at least, not to such a visible extent. We know for a fact that he was a partier, and he had a “billionaire, playboy” lifestyle, and while he does drink on-screen, it’s never quite in the spotlight.
There was a rumor that this is because Robert Downey Jr. himself had problems with alcoholism and Marvel didn’t want to trigger him. It could be true, but it’s probably also because it’s such a difficult issue to tackle, and very hard to deal with in a movie that should be focused on a more clear-cut battle between good and evil.
Pre-Afghanistan Tony appeared to live by the motto of work hard, party hard. Like in the case of his younger self, I expect he had a hands on approach in the creation of his technology (weapons or otherwise). Even building the bots would have been physical. Thus, again, he would have experienced some minor injuries as a consequence of his activities as an inventor.
Given Tony’s abrasive temperament, logic states that he would have had altercations with people at one point or another. This is never actually shown on screen, but what we do know is that he has training as a boxer. This is never shown in pre-Afghanistan footage, but we do see Happy Hogan in this image from Switzerland, and we may assume that Tony would have received self-defense training from him.
If there is further evidence of physical damage to pre-Afghanistan Tony I don’t recall it. Do feel free to comment - any additions will be made.
Final tally (with the caveat that a lot of it is speculation):
- minor burns, minor lacerations (from engineer work)
- possible broken bones and bruising
- some organ damage consistent with possible substance abuse
Because that, too, is a wish we tell ourselves when people are lost. That they go on. That their name is spoken, and so part of them remains. That the truth of who they were lingers, that what matters will never die.
Three pics of Marc Bolan with his manager Tony Howard. In the larger photo, Tony and Bolan bodyguard and driver Alfie, help Marc on stage at a rollicking 1974 Glasgow concert. Bolan not only tossed the usual tambourines out to the audience but threw one of his guitars as well.
Sorry for the late update this week! Welcome to the 27th installment of the Keen Minds Podcast, where we’re covering the 5th episode of NBC’s The Blacklist: Redemption. This week we’ll dive deep into theories, talk about who we trust, and cover character growth and backstory. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future. Because I’m starting to realize there’s something worse than stepping up and facing your fears – and that’s living as if you’re already dead.