Jon Favreau’s Iron Man came out 10 years ago on this day, May 2nd. To observe this momentous occasion and the starting of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we are going to compare the state of Iron Man comics at the time versus the Brian Michael Bendis run, which is about to reach its 600th issue.
It’s worth mentioning that Iron Man has never been one of my absolute favorite Marvel characters, though Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark is downright inspired. I’ve read the character from time to time and have even found myself wanting to go back and read his books more often in the past year. However, I’ve never been a close follower of his book
Matt Fraction was the writer back in the day, and what I read of his series I did enjoy. The most notable change between then and now is the personality of Tony Stark himself. He was still cocky and swaggering back then, especially in Bendis’s Mighty Avengers, but he was far from the almost childlike character of recent comics. Fraction’s Iron Man was far more serious, to say the least.
That distinction probably turns a lot of people off to Bendis’s Tony Stark, and, in this case, I can’t blame them. While I enjoyed the first few issues of Bendis’s Invincible Iron Man, I would be lying if I said “epic facial hair bros” didn’t make me cringe inside. In the end, I’ve still enjoyed Bendis’s time on the title.
Mark Millar’s Civil War was the story that first formed my opinion on Tony Stark. Some have said that his depiction of the character was ruthless and spite-filled, but I could see it as a possible permutation of the character given the circumstances. I initially hated the character for it, and I almost missed out on the movie for it. Bear in mind, I was 13 at the time.
I’m glad I saw it though, and, as I said, I’ve grown to like Tony Stark significantly more since then. RDJ’s depiction of the character and some of the changes made to his comic book incarnation to fit certainly helped.
I’m still on Captain America’s side in Civil War, though — both the original comic story and the film.