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How Did Tony Come Back From That Whole 'Murdering Avengers' Deal?

This is "Walkin' Backwards," a new feature where I look into how superheroes who turned to villainy were walked back from their heel turn and turned into superheroes once more.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Tom A., we look at the time that Iron Man became so evil that the Avengers had to replace him with his younger self. I have written about this story an astonishing amount of times, so I'm mostly regurgitating myself here, but here we go!

The Avengers crossover known as "The Crossing" was really bad, but there was so much bad stuff in there that I'm going to just look at the whole "Iron Man went evil" storyline.

The big hook in this storyline is that many years ago, Kang came back in time and basically brainwashed Tony Stark in the early days of the Avengers. You might ask, "Huh?" and then you might ask the follow-up question, "Seriously, huh?" and then the follow-up follow-up question, "If Tony Stark has been under Kang's control for all of these years, then why didn't he use Tony's help any of the times that the Avengers, you know, defeated Kang?" The answer to that, of course, is...I don't know.

Adding in an extra bad idea to the mix, the notion is that Kang only turned to Tony after Hank Pym didn't work out, which is why Hank had mental problems, as he was responding to Kang's brainwashing attempts...

Anyhow, Tony's brainwashing is revealed in The Avengers: Crossing #1, where he murders the female Yellowjacket and, at the end of the issue, Crystal's nanny...

That was actually a pretty well-written death, honestly (by the way, as an aside, The Crossing was advertised as "Two Avengers will die!" The Avengers ended up being the female Yellowjacket, who was an Avenger for a single issue and Gilgamesh, who was an Avenger for, like, eight issues. So them and the freakin' NANNY were the big deaths!).

Eventually the Avenger find out that Iron Man is evil now (and has been, I guess? They're seriously lax on the details in this storyline) and Iron Man nearly kills the Wasp, as well (thus proving that, if he wanted to, he could wipe out all of the X-Men, if he so chose)...

The Wasp recovers as a mutated wasp but the Avengers are all sad and don't know what to do until the mysterious Masque, who they're listening to for some reason, has an idea...

Yes, go back in time to get to Tony Stark BEFORE Kang brainwashes him and have THAT Tony fight against adult Tony. While there, by the way, there are all sorts of odd easter eggs, like this one...

So they bring Teen Tony into the present and give him some Iron man armor to have him fight adult Tony. It does not go well...

And really, when you think about it, the entire point of the story was kind of, well, pointless, no? "We need teen Tony to stop adult Tony" but, well, they DIDN'T, as teen Tony gets his ass kicked and has his heart practically ripped out and they STILL win, sooooooooo....uhmmm.......I guess you could argue that almost killing his younger self made him realize that he had to break free of Kang's programming maybe?

Anyhow, adult Tony eventually redeems himself and saves the Avengers and...the world? I am a bit unclear what the ultimate goal of Kang's plan was.

Before he dies, he comes up with a chest plate to keep his younger self alive...

So now Teen Tony has to live in the present, haunted by his future self's actions...

How did they get back to the regular Tony?

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