…But it bears remembering, not all birds are ducks. Today’s quibble: the mischaracterization of Iron Man in Marvel’s Civil War – but, not necessarily the kind of mischaracterization you think! Because it’s the word futurist that I have a problem with, you see.
Said problem being: it doesn’t mean anything.
Well, not unless you count always being wrong as meaning something.
Fact: there are no good futurists, if we measure “good” by a record of predictions coming true, because everyone who’s ever called themselves a futurist has missed the boat by about a mile every time they’ve lunged for it. Futurism is humbug; futurism is balderdash. Futurism is spoon-bending. Futurism is less predictive than the worst of science fiction. This is not the way the world works, at all: there are no “futurists” worth the name, unless by futurism one means something very much the same as mentalism. Yes: though it’s sad to say so, having plants in the audience is the only way to create that particular illusion.
Eh, Mark Millar?
But what there are, occasionally, are visionaries, and this no one can deny.
Ladies and gentlemen: Tony Stark, visionary. Tony Stark the brilliant engineer, Tony Stark the brilliant businessman, but most importantly Tony Stark, the brilliant engineer and businessman who owns the biggest and most advanced foundry in the world.
And the Iron Man suit is just a knock-off of his particular genius, see…
Because, sure: Reed Richards is a crazy polymath beyond understanding, but do you think he hand-machines all his equipment himself? He does not: he orders in specialized miniaturized manufacturing components from Tony Stark, the world leader in mass-production (and occasional custom-production) of revoltingly high-end super-scientific machine parts, and he puts them on account just like everybody else does. And, where would Reed be without Tony’s vision, of a world where such a stratospherically high-tech manufacturing company could turn a profit? Unless you’re already selling crateloads of those bits and pieces of mad-scientist Lego, you could never afford to make them: Reed’s Radical Cube probably would’ve cost fifteen billion dollars to hand-tool, and he would’ve had to buy half of California just to get started with the wrenches. Not that he couldn’t. But Tony already has that well in hand. Fifty million tops, Reed…but for you, twenty million. No, don’t ask me to go any lower, I’m already cutting my own throat here. Well…okay…hey, if I don’t help you, who will….tell you what, let’s work something out…
It’s serious business. Remember that Michelinie/Layton Iron Man/Dr. Doom thing? Where Tony’s outraged to discover that Stark Industries is still selling the full contents of its catalog to Latverian purchasers? Those were components for Dr. Doom’s time machine for heaven’s sake, people! You think there would even be any time machines in the MU if not for Tony’s youthful, visionary ideas about how to take his father’s company into the next century? Doom would still be building the deframmulator, trying to get it just right. He’d be Tesla by now: a crazy man. AIM would have already killed ten thousand “volunteers” trying to create a MODOK out of cast-off X-ray machine parts and rusty carburators and spit…and Professor X would have spent six hours trying to get his home-built Cerebro off his head so he could go to the bathroom. SHIELD’s helicarrier would still be sitting on the runway at Groom Lake, slowly denting under its own weight. No wonder Nick Fury was pissed that Tony got out of the munitions business! No wonder every supervillain worth his salt (including the U.S. government) has wanted to co-opt Tony Stark! The man is a global treasure!
A true visionary!
But, not a futurist. A futurist only tries to predict, and fails…but a visionary gets it right, and then swiftly gets bored with mere prediction: because a visionary decides to make the world a better place out of their own efforts, and so heads off an unsatisfying future, by replacing it with a little of their own imagination. And then, if they find they have enough power, they start heading off bad futures that haven’t even happened yet: like Tony Stark, making Iron Man the beta-test of munitions technologies that aren’t even going to go to market. What a citizen! And, how I wish I owned a copy of Steve Englehart’s “Big Town”!
Iron Man: is he connected to the whole world, or what? Iron Man: an awesome character filled with edifying moral conflict, and with many stories left to be told about him. A disguised idealist; a figure full of…yes, I’ll say it…irony. Someone whose change of heart has changed the world. Man, this character is so great!
Maybe we’ll see him again in a few years. I hope so. As I’ve said before, I’d want it to be Steve Gerber and Michael Avon Oeming, but we’ll see.
And, I miss the good Tony.
So get it together, Marvel, you idiots!
This Iron Man post dedicated to the return of 2 Guys Buying Comics, the blog that thinks Iron Man is awesome.
Who am I to disagree?