If you ask any reader/writer/publisher/critic what is the most important arc in the Iron Man books the higher majority will answer ‘Demon In A Bottle’.
Tony Stark has fought many battles in his 50 plus year run but none has been so hard, so dark, so bone deep grueling as his battle with alcoholism. It is something he struggles with daily. He hurt not only himself but those he loves. And Tony holds those he loves very close. His acts of emotional aggression against Jarvis, Steve and his team are scars on his psyche that will never heal.
Tony’s first drink was forced on him by his father when his small hands could barely hold a glass. He knew intimately how alcohol can affect a man. He saw it up close and personal in the shape of Howard’s hand print burned on his skin. In the way his mother became a shadow. In raised voices and broken promises. He experienced the 'Demon’s’ ultimate kiss of betrayal when he was orphaned at a young age and alcohol was implied to be the siren driving that car. And yet still, the son followed the father.
The greatest testament to Tony’s character isn’t that he survived the cave or that he built and pilots the armor. It’s that he took the 'Demon’ down and held it there.
Held it down through some of the toughest times of his life.
Through losing his identity. His company. Through Happy’s death. Through losing his family. Through seeing the man he holds as a brother gunned down and bleeding out on the steps of the very courthouse Tony sent him to. As he says, despite it all he 'never once took a drink’.
And yet now he is drinking again because he feels like it? Bullshit.
Tony being a recovering alcoholic is as integral to his character as his blue eyes, suit of armor and trademark mustache. It is a part of him. To take it away is a huge disservice to the fans, to the writers who took Tony on this journey and mostly to the character himself.
Marvel greenlit the Demon in A Bottle arc at a time when superheros were flawed yes, but not overtly so. To take on a social issues such as alcoholism was a huge risk for them. One that paid off. It gave people someone to look up too. Readers may not have a suit of armor, they may not be billionaires but by giving Tony a very human flaw, by having him struggle to hold it at bay, by having him want to get better it made Tony human and accessible.
Tony has fallen off the wagon before (Fear Itself) but not without consequence and remorse. This blatant disregard for fans, for prior writers and for Tony’s history has taken the hero that Tony fought through his own near death, death of his loved ones and constant self doubt and daily struggle to become; and has turned him into as much of a shell as an empty suit of heroless armor.
Marvel’s big announcement on last night’s Colbert Report was that Sam Wilson, a.k.a. the Falcon, would be taking up the mantle of Captain America.
Sam Wilson was Marvel’s first African American superhero, and has long been a major player in Captain America comics. He’ll be taking over in issue #25 of the current Captain America, after Steve Rogers loses his supersoldier powers during a fight with a supervillain. Writer Rick Remender explained on Marvel.com that Steve Rogers would still remain a regular character in the series, providing “strategic support” for his replacement.