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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Preview: Thor #3

So Newsarama's got a preview of Thor up.

Holy crap, is it just me, or does JMS really REALLY not like Tony.

It's funny because I've been reading all those Civil War tie ins that have been actually writing him as a deeply flawed and jackass-like human being.

So it's kind of weird to see him suddenly back to the EEEEVIL version that I remember from Civil War itself. And the way he seems to be positioned in a few of those panels, just past/behind Thor makes him seem very Satan-like.

It's such a shame really. I'd been really looking forward to seeing Thor smackdown Tony, but this guy is more Snidely Whiplash than Iron Man. It takes all the fun out of it.



  • At August 26, 2007 11:56 AM, Blogger tavella said…

    I really don't see them as that far apart; every incarnation of Tony post-CW has had the the same central feel: arrogantly convinced that everything he did and does is necessary and right. He's sometimes expressed regret about the *price*, but he's always convinced that he's right.

  • At August 26, 2007 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Longish rant follows, sorry:

    Tony Stark, in every comic I've read, seems to be of the opinion that a sincere "I'm sorry." makes every bad decision he makes okay. Of course, it totally doesn't but nobody calls him on it. Nobody's even cared about the creepy-as-hell Clone Thor until now (save for Goliath's brother over in World War Hulk), so this? This strikes me as justified. Hell, I want Thor to find and slap around Hank Pym and Reed Richards for helping & then go find Goliath's family and give them all of Tony's money that he can lift over his head.

    Which isn't to say I out and out hate the guy - A friend of mine had a conversation about Iron Man recently and she came to the conclusion that everyone who works with him knows he's an arrogant ass but he's THEIR arrogant ass. He can and does save the world with just his brain, so people let him slip up. He's gotten to the point where he even recognizes some failings - alcoholism, womanizing - and so people are indulgent and let him slide on the egomania and the self-righteousness. It's not right or fair, but that's how it seems to go. He is refreshingly flawed but those flaws are huge.

    For instance, I loved Iron Man: Hypervelocity, which showcased a version of Tony in his full-on unapologetic genius glory. It was a fun, fast read full of mad science and Tony being 007-like. Still, it's hard to reconcile this with a man who lets Norman Osbourne be in charge of a superteam and sees no ethical problems in making a zombie version of his best friend. The only cure for this cognitive dissonance for me is, sorry to say, Tony's an asshole. A nice, well-meaning asshole but still an asshole.

  • At August 26, 2007 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. trade Charlie Knauf admits that, yeah, JMS tends to write Iron Man far more dickish than he and his father would like, but that they don't feel it's fair to ask JMS to add a little shading to to it. Which is horsehockey, I say. But JMS obviously has more pull than they do and will be interfered with less, so here we are.

  • At August 27, 2007 1:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Aw, I'd be happy to see Thor, the Hulk, or even Rick Jones lay a first-class whuppin' on Iron Man and Reed Richards, even if they do seem like pansies when Straczynski writes them. At this point the two of them are no better than the so-called villains they supposedly fight, in my eyes.

    Of course, these characters are so far from the ones depicted for the last four decades that I'd find it perfectly plausible if they both turned out to be Skrulls.

  • At August 27, 2007 4:23 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I hate IronDickery Tony as much as, well, anyone. But that dialogue was ATROCIOUS. JMS used to write comics I truly enjoyed. But both Tony and Random New Orleans Guy's speeches were shit. And I'm sorry, but Thor's angry rant would have been MUCH awesomer in faux Shakespear...

  • At August 27, 2007 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the JMS Iron Man is indicative of a couple of things:

    1. The virtual absense of any kind of overarching editorial control over stories. A strong central editor would have had the authority and balls to reign in elements that stray too far off the narrative's path...the Darth Tony element in the Thor preview being the perfect example. The vast majority of Initiative tie-ins portray an idealistic Tony that sincerely believes he's helping the people of his world.

    2. The hyper-political partisanship of writers like JMS often overshadows the circumstances of the story itself. The current "Bush Derangment Syndrome" gripping JMS and his fellow travelers obviously takes priority over the needs of the story, thus the strongarming, caricatured Tony must mirror the caricatured political outlook of JMS and the barking moonbats he's speaking for.

    Another thing about Civil War that's fascinated me is the retroactive re-writing of Tony's history in the minds of many fans. It's not enough that Tony is currently going down the wrong path, but we're to believe that it's been obvious that he's ALWAYS been a tyrant (despite any evidence my Iron Man comics provide to the contrary). How ridiculous.

  • At August 27, 2007 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    JMS really was the worst of the CW tie-in writers. His Spidey titles put Stark not just on the wrong side of the issue, but placed him squarely in the realm of evil. He was not just arrogant and secretive, but petty and vindictive as well. It was JMS, for example, that had Tony tell Peter that the NegZone prison would be holding heroes indefinitely (and threatening him with the same), that due process was a joke, etc., etc...

    Just terrible treatment for one of my favorite morally conflicted characters.

  • At August 27, 2007 10:32 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Of course nobody every calls Stark on his asshattery. He's RICH! He's POWERFUL! He thinks that he can get away with anything! A couple of moments of faux regret don't minimize the fact that he's a jerk.

    Which makes his eventual comeuppance all the more delicious.

  • At August 27, 2007 4:02 PM, Blogger tavella said…

    If people want to complain, complain about Millar and Jenkins. It's their official-sanctioned revamp of the Marvel Universe that made him a monster. Don't blame JMS for not ignoring it.

    He put friend and heroes in a hell prison for *marketing purposes*. Because the government would pay more money to imprison heroes than they would villains. He cloned one of his oldest friends to turn him into a weapon to terrorize other friends and then _used it again after it killed_. He murdered people to terrorize the US population further so they would support every more extreme actions. He used some of the worst villains in the Marvel Universe as his nano controlled attack dogs.

    (And "Bush Derangement Syndrome"? Idiot.)

  • At August 28, 2007 1:39 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Tavella: Honestly I disagree with you. Sure Jenkins and Millar STARTED the evil!Tony trend, but most of the the tie-ins like Casualties of War, Civil War Confessions, Fallen Son and even most of the main series writers like Brubaker, McDuffie and company have all made sincere efforts to humanize the Millar/Jenkins Tony.

    JMS might not have created this evil Tony, but he's definitely backsliding him. That makes him fair game for criticism where I stand.

    (Much as it pains me as I do so love Babylon 5)

  • At August 28, 2007 4:01 AM, Blogger Carla said…

    I saw the art work, but didn't know they threw the words in, too. I'll be nice and reserve judgment until I see the whole issue, but it looks to me as if they wanted to get to the fan-demanded smackdown as soon as possible so they can sweep it under the rug and let JMS get to writing about... well, whatever his point on Thor really is. At Comic Con, they said Thor wouldn't become a major player in the MU until about June of next year, so as much as we want to see Thor take the hammer to the man (especially with such hollow dialog), this is going to rush to a resolution.
    After all, Tony has to get a beatdown in WWH, too, so....

  • At August 28, 2007 8:50 PM, Blogger tavella said…

    Sure Jenkins and Millar STARTED the evil!Tony trend, but most of the the tie-ins like Casualties of War, Civil War Confessions, Fallen Son and even most of the main series writers like Brubaker, McDuffie and company have all made sincere efforts to humanize the Millar/Jenkins Tony.

    But that's it: they made him a monster, and had him do monstrous things, and now they are simply going "Being monstrous is good. Doing evil is justified. In fact, it makes you more of a hero than people who try to act according to virtue. In fact, you should feel sorry for him, not for the people he destroyed." The same goes for Reed Richards, whose family kowtowed to him and agreed that he had to right to do any evil thing he wanted, because he was so much smarter than them that he magically knew every possible future.

    Which is why I'm done with Marvel for the most part; but I'm not sorry if JMS also declines to go along with it (not that I'm particularly confident that we won't get a rerun of the CW ending where Thor feels bad for blowing up more of New Orleans.)

  • At August 29, 2007 12:24 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Tavella: I never got the "being monstrous is good" message at all from any of the tie-in comics.

    To me the impression was pretty clearly supposed to be: "Sometimes human beings make the wrong choices for the right reasons."

    Tony in main series IS a monster, but in the tie-ins, he really isn't. He's a guy who made a lot of bad choices which the series themselves do not condone.

    (Disclaimer: I also always thought, despite interviews, that we were SUPPOSED to come out of Civil War thinking the wrong side won. Hence Cap had to die, as the martyr to the true cause...It makes sense in my head.)

    The problem isn't that Straczynski "isn't going along with it". The problem is that he's being outright lazy. His vision of the character does NOT fit the predominant Marvel image of him.

    A character can be portrayed as human AND as someone who made monstrous choices and is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

    That Straczynski isn't bothering isn't some kind of statement of righteous rebellion here, it's sheer and utter laziness.

    Especially since Straczynski's proven time and again that he CAN write this sort of character. A guy who is very self-centered and ego-driven, who makes monstrous choices because he thinks they're best even though he is clearly WRONG, has betrayed friends and enemies alike and doesn't try to mitigate that fact. But at the same time, can be portrayed, if not sympathetically, then at least as a three dimensional human being. One that is haunted by his decisions and feels remorse, and is, at least theoretically redeemable.

    The man who created and wrote Babylon 5's Londo should be able to write an Iron Man who isn't Snidely Whiplash.

    (Besides, if the man can't deal with stupid editorial fiat, what the heck is he DOING writing for Marvel?)


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