How IRON MAN 2 is an Amazing Comeback Story

Posted by No_name_here (1247 posts) - - Show Bio

 Don't call it a comeback!

When I was writing about IRON MAN 2’s blockbuster grosses yesterday, I couldn't help seeing this whole thing as being a comeback story on several levels. Unequivocally, Iron Man's really ascended the levels of Marvel’s pantheon to really be one of its biggest characters next to Spider-Man and Wolverine. Kids want Iron Man toys for their birthdays and Iron Man costumes for Halloween. Mainstream entertainment magazines describe these movies as hip and fresh. “Normal” friends of mine with no interest in the comics have been loving these flicks to bits.

This will be pleasantly ironic to anybody who’s read IRON MAN for more than a few years.

See, I remember a time in the mid-90s when IRON MAN was on some pretty hard times. The title had come off a very unpopular storyline, THE CROSSING, wherein Tony Stark had gone insane and evil, and the Avengers had to recruit a teenage version Tony Stark from an alternate reality to stop him. Tony died, and the ensuing “Teen Tony” period was very unpopular. At the point, you almost felt like IRON MAN was being kept around only out of tradition. The subsequent HEROES REBORN reboot proved to be even less well-received and I recall Kurt Busiek and Sean Chen having quite the mess to sort through when they launched Volume 3 during the HEROES RETURN event.

Basically, they took the “ultimate” approach and went tabula rosa, giving the character a back-to-basics fresh start. They eventually sorted out what happened to Teen Tony and evil Crossing Tony, but you didn’t have to bother with any of that to enjoy the title. It was very new reader friendly, it was well-received (as I recall) and it effectively streamlined and updated the character for modern audiences. I really think that’s what started the upswing we’re experiencing, now.

Iron Man’s story is really about a guy making a comeback, anyway, right? The callus playboy industrialist rediscovers his conscience, gets back in touch with his roots and saves the world? Robert Downey Jr. talked a few times about feeling some empathy for Tony and I see the similarities. It’s almost just as surprising now to see the actor be the major box office draw that he is. Not that he isn't a great talent. He’s always been an amazing actor, but he was away for a long time (in jail even, at one point) because of a lot of personal problem that he’s subsequently overcome.

Hell, this is even a comeback story for Marvel, as they were going through bankruptcy - - Chapter 11 bankruptcy - - around the time of “Teen Tony”. Now, the corporation’s putting out event pictures grossing hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of days. 
Maybe this whole "comeback" vibe is why Iron Man, of all characters, has captured the zeitgeist in America. Anybody agree with me, here?

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on

#1 Edited by obscurefan (297 posts) - - Show Bio

Hmm, I had thought a little about this, but not in such details, interesting theory.

#2 Posted by E.I.S.A.M. (365 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, Iron Man 1 did that, but I don't see why everyone on this site is sucking Iron Man 2's d*** for god sakes.  
But I do see where you're coming from as far as Iron Man 2's box office grossing are concerned. It is great to see RDjr. Back on top.

#3 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3627 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been a big fan of Robert Downey Jr. ever since I first saw him in Chaplin, though I later remember seeing him in Weird Science. I really enjoy his take on Sherlock Holmes.
Despite how much I enjoy he movies. It really doesn't change my thoughts on what an A-hole the comic Tony has become. Even what they did recently felt like a complete cop out. He just happen to lose all those memories from right before he screwed up a lot of people's lives. I thought there was going to be a real chance to redeem him from the past few years action, but they took such a pathetic short cut.
I enjoy the Iron Man movies separately, due to my admiration for Robert Downey Jr.'s work. I could care less about the comic version of Tony.

#4 Posted by UnclePappyWolf (160 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the future successes of all Marvel Produced films is good for all comic book lovers. It really is the first film company to have vested interest at getting at the heart of the source materials. So I wish RDJ and Marvel all the best. Perhaps we  will finally get a film company that after two films doesn't try to write the story from the accounting office rather than the vision of someone who gets the source material.

#5 Edited by Marius138 (94 posts) - - Show Bio

Any comic book movie that raises the standard from Fox's X-Men movies gets two thumbs up from me.  God how I wish Marvel could get back the rights to do a proper X-Men movie.

#6 Posted by Green ankh (1083 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree 100% Iron Man is both a great comic film and a grat popcorn movie. Downey Jr . Is a couple of years older than i and i grew up watching him movies.  I reamber how he blew me away in  Chaplin  and thinking he just became a major player in Hollywood. It didnt happen then.  But i am happy for him that it finally has.  
I read Iron Man in the 80's and i didn't really think of him as a big gun then.  Things really do change.
#7 Posted by dondasch (931 posts) - - Show Bio

The majority of my experience with Iron Man comes through the extreme good work that Robert Downey Jr. has done with the movie character and I applaud him for bringing such energy and downright enthusiasm to this role.  It really does seem to fit him professionally and personally from having read interviews of him in various magazines such as Rolling Stone.
In regards to the comic book Tony Stark, well, the most endearing image I have of him was during The Infinity Gauntlet when the remaining heroes had gone to Thanos's domain to fight him and Tony was subsequently ambushed by Thanos's girlfriend who then removed his copper top which you saw bouncing along in the next panel.  
Well done Robert, very proud of the work you're done.  And as for you, Mr. Pinchuk, keep up the very good summaries you've been putting out lately.

#8 Posted by Blindside002 (227 posts) - - Show Bio


I dunno about Tony being an A-hole, he certainly made mistakes after the Civil War, but I think that is where alot of people still retain that "He's an @$$" vibe from. The Civil War though I don't believe he has anything he needs to redeem himself for, what is done is done and he should be working on the future not trying to make a futile attempt at getting everyones trust back. I don't even think he needed to redeem himself when he DID remember what he did.

#9 Posted by MichaelBach (67 posts) - - Show Bio

Interresting article. Will be exciting to see Iron Man 3 and Avengers!

#10 Posted by doordoor123 (3810 posts) - - Show Bio
@Marius138:  agreed
#11 Posted by ImperiousRix (1144 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article, and it's interesting to think of it in that manner.  To be honest, I can't say any of my non-comic book fan friends would have even mentioned Iron Man in their pantheon of favorite heroes before all this movie stuff.  
Oh, and that Heroes Reborn armor was HORRENDOUS.

#12 Posted by danhimself (21320 posts) - - Show Bio

ohh man I loved "The Crossing" story arc....LOVED IT

#13 Posted by Hellos (8870 posts) - - Show Bio

Very true on all accounts. Jr really came back into the spot light as Tony and at the same time gave us super film that didn't revolve around an overly dark hero brooding around everywhere.
#14 Posted by Jim Halpert (62 posts) - - Show Bio

I've never read the Heroes Reborn books but I had no idea Marvel tried to pull a DC and tried rebooting their characters during the 90's, probably one of the reasons why it failed since one of the reasons Marvel fans read Marvel books is because it's not retcon messy like DC.   
Good to know it only lasted a few months and back to normal.

#15 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19148 posts) - - Show Bio

Robert Downey Jr is back in full force

#16 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29886 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting observation!

#17 Posted by HaloKing343 (1355 posts) - - Show Bio
Good article
#18 Posted by Tony Rogers (95 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man 2 is THE BEST MOVIE....EVER!

#19 Posted by HaloKing343 (1355 posts) - - Show Bio
@Tony Rogers said:
"Iron Man 2 is THE BEST MOVIE....EVER! "

I wouldn't go that far, but it's totally great

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