WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers #10 by Jason Aaron, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert and Andrea Sorrentino, in stores now.
Part of the beauty of the comic book medium is how it allows for all manner of meta moments. Whether it's Doctor Strange giving his seal of approval to Benedict Cumberbatch's casting as the Sorcerer Supreme, or DC's Dark Nights: Metal bringing the popular "Batman wins" meme into cannon, comics can effortlessly -- and sometimes brilliantly -- transcend mediums. But the most recent chapter of Avengers, issue #10 of the current series and the milestone #700 overall, offers up a brief meta moment that has three layers of meta levels.
In the issue, after a big brawl between the Avengers and the Sub-Mariner's Defenders of the Deep erupts, a third party joins the fight in the form of the Winter Guard, Russia's own super-team. The Guard is also after Namor, so they reluctantly fight alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes for a moment, and, as they do, Tony Stark brings to life a popular meme that came out of the Robert Downey, Jr. film, Tropic Thunder.
As the Avengers and the Winter Guard fight side-by-side, it isn't long before trouble starts brewing -- within the Winter Guard's own ranks, that is. See, the Russian super-team has not one but two deities on its roster: Perun, the Slavic Storm God and Chernobog, the Slavic God of Darkness. During the confrontation against the Defenders of the Deep, it isn't long before the two gods start arguing -- and then fighting -- over which one of them will get to kill the Sub-Mariner.
In response, Tony Stark, who can be seen flying alongside the Winter Guard's leader Dmitri Bukharin, aka the Crimson Dynamo, tells him that he made a crucial mistake in having two gods in his team's ranks.
"You went double god, Dmitri," Stark says. "Never go double god." If the saying sounds familiar, that's because it's a twist on the Tropic Thunder meme "You went full ******, never go full ******."
In the 2008 film, the line came from Robert Downey, Jr.'s character Kirk Lazarus, who was addressing Ben Stiller's Tugg Speedman's method acting for his role as mentally-challenged Simple Jack. Of course, considering Downey, Jr. also famously plays Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a take on the character that later informed the comic books, this is one of those homages that simultaneously works on several levels.
In short, Tony Stark is channeling Robert Downey, Jr. channeling Kirk Lazarus channeling his in-movie character Lincoln Osiris. That's a seriously meta meta moment.
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