In the latest issue of Iron Man, Tony Stark takes a huge risk that might cost him everything in order to stop a powerful, cosmic powered villain.
WARNING: Spoilers follow for Iron Man #6 by Christopher Cantwell, CAFU, Frank D’Armata & VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Iron Man has seemingly done everything he can to break himself over the first six issues of his new series. Even with Hellcat by his side and her specifically pointing it out, the armored Avenger has done things that would kill a normal human being, and he has ended up in the hospital and at death’s door as a result.
In the most recent issue, Iron Man laid broken in a laundry mat after a battle with Korvac. He was not just beaten. His neck was broken, and if anyone takes his helmet off him before it is time to operate, he will die. Despite this, as he has throughout this entire run, he will not stop for his own good and continues to fight. To do this, he did the most reckless thing he could do based on his past. He allowed Misty Knight to inject him with a mix of steroids and hydromorphone.
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This was important to help Iron Man live, but it has a dire chance of returning to bite him in the end. Tony Stark is a recovering alcoholic, and he has admitted more than once that he is an addict and knows that a little slip-up could send him spiraling to the bottom of the barrel once again. When he took the shot, he said he knew what this cocktail of drugs could do to him. They could destroy everything he has built for himself to this point. But, without them, he will die right now, so he did it so he could live and continue fighting.
Even when War Machine showed up and said that he was taking over the battle to stop Korvac, Iron Man refused to stand down. He said he would fight, even with a broken neck that Halcyon fused into the armor to keep him going. This is nothing surprising, considering everything that Iron Man has done over the past few months. However, by taking the painkilling drugs and putting off the surgery just so he could fight a godlike being, Iron Man still seems to be running with a death wish.
In this series’s first issue, Iron Man heard how people were talking about him and tried to make changes. He went back to his old armor, which was not as protective and a little more old-school. He fought a Herald of Galactus and then went toe-to-toe with a minor villain named Cardiac that left Tony in the hospital with seventeen bone fractures, a punctured lung, and an irregular heartbeat. Add in illegal street racing and an MMA fight with Absorbing Man, and it seems like Iron Man was trying to see how far he could push his body until it broke.
This latest stunt was the worst of all. Iron Man is leading some minor-league heroes into battle with Korvac and is taking his best friend War Machine and his new girlfriend and fellow Avenger Hellcat along for the ride – with a broken neck. Literally adding insult to injury, Tony is doing this while on some heavy pharmaceuticals that have every chance of leading him back down the road to addiction that he fought so hard to escape. Outside of the Demon in a Bottle storyline, Stark later fell so hard to his addictions that he lost everything, from his business to his reputation to his role as Iron Man. With the way Tony is now pushing himself, death has become the least of his worries.
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