Iron Man Admits Why Being Kidnapped Truly Changed Him

Warning: contains spoilers for Darkhold: Iron Man #1!

Marvel’s Iron Man is one of the most popular superheroes in the world, just like his namesake Tony Stark in the Marvel Universe – but the Armored Avenger recently revealed exactly what truly made him change while kidnapped by terrorists. Tony’s origin story is a classic tale, often updated with new settings and enemies but retaining the same major events: an egotistical weapons manufacturer has a near-death experience, is captured by the topical enemy of the era, and must build a suit of armor to save himself. But in Darkhold: Iron Man #1, written by Ryan North with art by Guillermo Sanna and colors by Ian Herring, Tony’s armor serves a slightly different purpose, and has a different motivation behind its creation.

The story of Darkhold: Iron Man #1 begins in media res with Virgina “Pepper” Potts narrating to the reader. She, along with Happy Hogan, discovers Tony Stark on the floor of his laboratory, wearing a variant of the Mark 1 Iron Man armor from Tales of Suspense #39 (Iron Man’s debut issue). Tony’s problem in this reality is much the same as the 616 universe: shrapnel is lodged in his chest, and an electromagnet powered by a massive chest piece is preventing it from reaching his heart. Tony quickly sets to work on an improved version of the suit that heals his many injuries.

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Tony now wants to create suits for more people – as a mobile hospital of sorts, regenerating tissue as the occupant travels. As he’s hard at work late into the night, he admits a truth to Pepper concerning his capture. “I don’t think I like myself anymore. “The truth is, I did think I might die in that cave. Even if the suit worked, it wasn’t a sure thing. And all I could think about was my obituary.” He mentions that he would be remembered as an arms manufacturer who only sought profit and didn’t have a care in the world regarding the people whom he had hurt with his weapons.

This revelation that Iron Man thought about how he would be remembered if he died in the cave serves as quite a revelation, especially for MCU fans of the character. In 2008’s Iron Man, Tony realizes that his weapons are in the hands of terrorists and thus he is culpable. But this comic makes the argument that Tony is the villain regardless of who ends up with his arms in the end; he has created weapons that kill, and thus is responsible for all lives lost through their use.

One of Tony’s major flaws is his egocentric behavior and selfish thought process. It is, perhaps, an ego-driven thought when one considers how one will be remembered. But in Tony Stark’s case, thinking about his possible obituary resulted in him creating the Iron Man armor and becoming a hero instead of an arms manufacturer.

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