no but i spent the morning thinking about world war hulk and post-CW 616 tony in general etc and do you know?? what annoys me?? is that the Gray Solution is not tony’s first and most desirable option. the difference between him and someone like steve (or hell, any other superhero who’s treated with dignity) is not the idea that he’s somehow more ~comfortable~ living outside standard morality (he’s not, hence crushing regrets, guilt, self-loathing, etc), but the fact that tony will do the gray thing if the calculus comes out in favor of his doing the thing and there are no other options available. i have no trouble believing that tony would sell out his own principles if he’s pushed far enough. the problem is how ridiculously often it’s been happening over the past few years, and how ridiculously contrived and artificial those plots have become
all of those “no way out” plots?? fuck it. of course there’s no way out. the creators gave him no way out. it’s been like what?? ten years since he’s consistently gotten narrative opportunity to make personal sacrifices specifically so he can pursue the right solution. these days it’s all about sacrificing his identity for the lesser of two evils. which yeah, i get, it makes for really fucking painful stories that i do enjoy reading occasionally – the whole idea that tony is one of the few people who’s willing to sacrifice his soul for a cause. but oh my god. ten years. it’s been ten years. like. tony will sacrifice his soul yeah i get it
and with this sort of thing becoming common place, it’s just like?? it’s spun as either gratuitous torture and angst porn, or presented as downright amorality on tony’s part. as if each one of those choices aren’t personal tragedies. and jesus christ. i’m just tired of this shit. i’m so fucking tired. it’s one thing to present the extreme scenario every so often, but oh my god this has extended for ten years. people literally hate tony for every single thing he’s done in group arcs. and what are you gonna tell those people? go back ten years? read this select number of recent, bearable iron man-centric stuff? it’s ridiculous.
i mean, i do think there’s some narrative value in the way comics are currently set up, especially from an iron man perspective – for instance, it is interesting to me that in the group arc for world war hulk we get tony saying and doing this thing, and then in the iron man tie-in we get the exact same scene with added inner monologue by tony – this difference between how things are and how things appear to be, conflicts and misconceptions of his public figure, etc, those are all real iron man emotional linchpins that i adore. and i think that the very set up of current comics favors and validates so much of tony’s personal narrative. but if it’s gotten to the point where tony can be literally psychically inverted for kicks and the series will get a pass at existing within the 616 universe because apparently the world at large can’t tell the difference between “normal” tony and batshit evil tony anymore – no. fuck off. because those conflicts aren’t just meant to be about how the public negatively perceives him via tabloids, they’re also supposed to be about how visibly different he is from what the tabloids say. it’s about the way his reputation precedes him, and the different ways he establishes that reputation, and the ways he fulfills and the ways he breaks people’s expectations of him.
but of course, for any of that to work, you need a consistent character, and fucking god, all we get these days are creators conflating tony’s reality and his facade, MCU and 616, it’s a god damn inconsistent trash show of a mess worsened by the fact that the single thing that remains constant is tony’s ~group plot-relevant~ willingness to Do The Fucked Up Thing, which in turn opens doors to all of those undignified narratives of tony as the perpetual Unholy One, the Ruined, like. fuck off. everybody and their mothers know that this is how tony perceives himself when he’s at his worst, but it’s fucking disgusting how marvel has been crafting those sick stories that confirm tony’s fucked up perception of self and place him in this position where he is required to eternally pursue redemption so he can ~deserve his current place as a publicly regarded hero, instead of giving him the opportunity to pursue his core drive toward heroism for what is is – a genuine, self-generated, altruistic drive to help others and better the world – and not just as a miserable, groveling road of patching up mistakes and striving to ~become someone who ~deserves the title of avenger or steve’s friend or Good Person, etc.
like oh my god. i’m so tired. tony’s a good person. i just want comics to let him be who he wants to be