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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 

Howard and Maria Stark are no longer Iron Man's biological parents

I know Marvel's staff may have turned him into a half-alien recently, but now, they and Kieron Gillen are turning the joke into a bigger travesty in the 17th issue of the current volume:
In it Gillen brings the long-simmering story to its conclusion with Stark finding out that not only is he -- again, spoilers -- adopted, but that his parents, Howard and Maria, had a son -- imbued with alien technology proffered by the rogue android 451 -- who has been hidden away from the world, laden with unknown abilities and, perhaps, powers.
So the son they speak of is a stepbrother who happens to be a time traveler from 2020, more on which anon. As for Tony suddenly becoming an adopted child, it's incredibly lame how they're attempting to mimic Superman's premise. At this point, it only weakens Tony's origin tale as a guy who was the natural product of two wealthy industrialists. I see no lasting impact in this, beyond the doubtless efforts the incumbent editors will make to keep it in place, much like they have with the erasure of Spider-Man's marriage.
Gillen calls it a new challenge for Stark, one that is closer to home and more down to earth than his normal conflicts, which have included villainous masterminds, god-like alien intelligences and mechanical behemoths, among others.

"What could I do to challenge the characters' core conception of their self," Gillen said in an interview of the revelations which find Tony both accepting of them yet still experiencing a swirl of emotion as the facts of his life come out in full view and meeting his brother, Arno, who has been in a hospital his entire life, wanting for nothing, but an enigma regardless.

"When you discover something about yourself, you reprocess. How does it churn in the gut? How do you re-examine your life?" said Gillen. "It's a completely different prism in how you study yourself."
It only complicates things needlessly, as now, they'll presumably have Tony researching who his "real" parents are, yet even that isn't bound to be impressive. If they wanted to take up a real challenge, they'd have Tony learning his parents had close/distant relatives from Europe or south America who could make for great recurring cast members whom Tony could interact with and they could offer assistance in managing his businesses. The suggestion that Tony is not the true heir to his dad's enterprise is just a cheap way to create drama.
The notion of Tony's being adopted changes nothing about him as a Stark, said Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso.

"When Kieron pitched the story, the bottom line question for us was 'Does this open up the doorway to stories that are worth telling?"' he said. "And it does. Who are Tony's parents? Will he want to know them? How will he feel about Howard? How will this affect the dynamic between father and son?"

That, said Alonso, will enrich Tony and, by extension, Iron Man [...]
Nuh-uh, not with the same editor in charge who not only kept up Joe Quesada's anti-marriage mandate for Spidey, he even let Peter Parker be discarded too for the sake of Dr. Octopus taking over.

MTV has a little more:
OK, crazy comic book plot time: in the book, a hyper-intelligent robot named 451 had been revealed to be manipulating the Starks for dozens of years. First, he promised to help save the life of the Stark's sickly, unborn child in exchange for making the baby into the leader of a technological revolution on Earth. Then in the present, it turned out 451 needed Tony — who he thought was the baby — to pilot a gigantic world-killing suit of armor tuned to his genetic structure... But Tony was unable to do so, and eventually stopped 451.

In today's issue, it turns out the reason Tony couldn't pilot the armor was because he wasn't actually that baby. The Starks had instead hid their natural child in a hospital — he was sick, due in part to the genetic tampering — and instead adopted Tony, making 451 think he was the child destined to pilot the world-destroying armor.

The emotionally charged issue is mostly taken up with Tony's reunion with his brother Arno, who is confined to an iron lung, and unable to speak. (He can only type words on a keyboard, which allows a computer to speak for him.) He's hyper-intelligent, claiming to be even smarter than Tony; and at the end of the issue, is ready to team up with Tony to save the world.

But comic book fans know there may be another path in store. In past books, Arno Stark is the Iron Man of 2020, a ruthless technological time-travelling bad guy who has often crossed paths with Iron Man. So will Arno be headed down this path, or a more heroic one? Given the fluid nature of time in the Marvel Universe, anything is possible.

The other question, of course, is: What does this do to Tony Stark's character? As writer Gillen has stated on multiple occasions, the whole idea of genetic tampering challenges Tony's assertion that he's a self-made man. Now we know that anything he's won, anything he's created, is his and his alone... But what about his adoption?
All it does to Tony is insult him, and the Iron Fans. I don't think it would work with Batman either to imply he was adopted and not a self-made heir to his late parents' own businesses. In fact, stuffing all that sci-fi mumbo-jumbo into the parents' backgrounds does quite a bit to mock their own history too. It also makes it sound like they didn't care about their "son", and so adopted another youngster who'd take the place Arno was too gravely ill to fill. All they're doing is taking time travel elements way too far in an attempt to tie up everything with everything else. Why must a lot of casts be so connected in some way or other?

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Ye gad, this is stupid! One of the dumbest retcons in a while, to be sure!

Really, Marvel? That's the best you can come up with? Man, and I thought Black Cat being retconned into a rape victim was Marvel's stupidest retcon. We have a runner-up!

First, the Ninja Turtles, now Iron Man. Who's next that will be suddenly half or all alien? Boy, I can't wait to find out.../sarc.

My gosh. That makes the Iron Boy storyline of years ago sound palatable by comparison.

Why are people getting paid to write really bad fanfiction these days?

God, Gillen can't even think up original characters or names. 451? That's the designation of the original Kree Sentry. And Arno?? Are you kidding??

Drizzt is right about Iron Boy. And don't forget Joe Quesada's "Sons of Yinsen" where he retconned Prof. Yinsen and Wong Chu (both still alive).

D'OH! The Sentry's designation was 459, not 451. So crow I'm eating. But the rest of what I wrote I stand by.

Someone got paid to come up with that idea. Let me say that again: Someone got paid to come up with that idea.

What happened, Marvel? Why? Just ... why?

This comment has been removed by the author.

That is an extreme origin change. I don't find this story interesting. It's extremely lame and takes away from the character.

Just like you stated, what makes it interesting is the fact he is the product of two normal individuals. I also pick up a "Stephen Hawking" vibe from his brother.

Shock for the sake of shock. I know people who write better fanfiction and journal roleplays than what DC, Marvel, and all of their competitors put together can currently produce.

"At this point, it only weakens Tony's origin tale as a guy who was the natural product of two wealthy industrialists."

That wasn't part of his origin story. That only became part of his back story later, after Lee stopped writing the character, in 1970.

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