When it comes to mainstream appeal Iron Man is right up there with some of Marvel’s most popular characters. Thanks in large part to being one of the focal characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Robert Downey Jr.’s consistent strong performance as Tony Stark, the Iron Man character has never been more popular. But while Iron Man’s mainstream appeal cannot be denied Marvel has failed to translate that to the character’s comic book sales. That was once again the case with Dan Slott, one of Marvel’s high profile writers, run on Iron Man. Now with Dan Slott announcing his exit from the Iron Man franchise this is the time for Marvel to reboot the character’s entire franchise.
Just like every new Iron Man comic book run I did give Dan Slott a fair chance to win me over with his take on Tony Stark. Unfortunately I just never got into the direction that Slott decided to go with Iron Man’s franchise. A big part of the reason for that is just how convoluted the entire run was from the beginning. To Slott’s credit, he was attempting to continue what Brian Bendis established in his Iron Man run. But in continuing the whole complications with the Stark family history, especially when it relates to Arno Stark, and the is he or is he not dead thing Tony has had going since Civil War II has done nothing for the character.
Now with Slott leaving the franchise after wrapping up the whole Iron Man 2020 story now Marvel needs to simplify Iron Man’s direction. Things for Tony Stark’s world need to be simplified and brought back to basics with Stark Industries at the forefront. Have it be where Tony is dedicated back to establishing his family’s company to be the leader in technology development as most know.
And if Marvel does want to keep the whole Arno Stark thing going there is a simple explanation that can do away with it by using Mandarin. Have the whole confusion with Tony’s family history be something that Mandarin manipulated to cause greater chaos in his enemy’s life. This will immediately add gas to the fire of the rivalry between Iron Man and Mandarin, elevating the latter’s status from the word go. It would all open the door to modernize both Mandarin and the Ten Rings.
In terms of the supporting cast, we should see that be slimmed down as well with Pepper Potts, James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes and Riri Williams. Pepper and Rhodey are iconic parts of Tony’s cast. With Riri being added to that Marvel can use that as an opportunity to have Tony lead the current generation in mentoring the new generation of heroes. Marvel has had a big problem in how to properly develop and present their new heroes to their audience. By having Tony and Riri having an active mentor-protege relationship Marvel and the new creative team can also further develop the Stark legacy that is a big part of the character.
Additionally, the whole Extremis story is something that needs to be put to rest. Extremis is an incredibly important story in Iron Man’s history as it helped modernize the character. Unfortunately Marvel has gone back to the Extremis storyline so often it has lost all its meaning. To take Tony’s vision of how his Iron Man armor should be developed it should be kept simple with the nanotechnology. Have that be the race that Stark Industries and their competitors are fighting for.
With Iron Man being one of the faces of the Marvel brand it is time the power be tapped into so that it can translate to the character’s comic book sales. There are a lot of things that can be done that can both give the Iron Man franchise a fresh start while respecting many recent developments. If making the correct choices Marvel and the new Iron Man creative team can truly modernize the franchise in a way that it joins Spider-Man, X-Men and Immortal Hulk as a top selling comic book.
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