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Remember to Forget – That Time Iron Man Turned Evil, Died and Was Replaced By His Teen Self

by  in Comic News Comment
Remember to Forget – That Time Iron Man Turned Evil, Died and Was Replaced By His Teen Self

In this series we spotlight comic book stories that are likely best left forgotten. Here is an archive of past installments.

Today, based on a request from reader Samuel Z., we take a look at the ill-conceived idea to reveal that Iron Man was evil and then to replace him with a teen version of himself…

This is not even intended as a full examination of the ill-fated Avengers crossover, The Crossing, but just one of the specifically ill-conceived ideas presented in the storyline, the whole “Evil Iron Man replaced by a teen version of himself.” This is one of those stories where, even at the time, people were saying, “Seriously?”

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 (Hank Pym also puts tracking devices into her while saving her because, well, I dunno, I guess he’s a nutjob?) 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…….there was no reason for any of this Teen Tony stuff (in the story, that is, outside of the story, they wanted to replace Iron Man with a teen version).

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…

He goes back to school and the comic was not awful, besides being awfully generic. Just check out this sequence…

Right out of central casting.

And his armor…oh man, the armor…

Luckily, this era in Iron Man history lasted for literally seven issues (eight if you count the first issue, which has both Tonys in it), as Teen Tony sacrifices himself with the rest of New York’s superheroes to stop Onslaught (and this was then used to bring adult Tony back, as explained in this old Abandoned Love).

Perhaps the worst thing of this whole storyline occurred early on, when Tony was still blocking his evil deeds out of his mind. He meets a bad guy and tells him that it is time to give him a taste of Iron Man in his face…

“A taste of Iron Man in your face.” That was something someone actually typed out as if it made sense to them.

That phrase is the true villain of this piece.

If you have a suggestion for a comic book plot that is best off forgotten, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

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