Welcome to Comics THORsday! This week… on Friday! Today we’re going to explore how superhero comics might hide critics on present society. And we’re going to do it exploring Marvel’s Superior Iron Man Infamous and how it presents a critical eye onto nowadays marketing towards young people (or marketing, in general, really). Also, we’ll discover the fear of corporations taking control of us. Are you ready?
[SPOILERS ahead! If you haven’t read Superior Iron Man yet, I recommend you to do so before diving into this post. If you don’t mind the spoilers, please go ahead.]
In Superior Iron Man we can see an evil Stark due to the events of Axis and the psychic fallout, many superhero personalities have changed. Iron Man’s hasn’t been fixed, so we have a sinister version of him: he drinks a lot, cares less to nothing about people, and runs awesome parties.
Pepper Potts and Dare Devil are obviously concerned about his recent behavior. However, they can’t do much about it: he has created the greatest App ever! People start downloading it for free, and it enhances you. If you were fat, now you’re fit. If you were ugly, now you look like a Hollywood star! All people who use this App are the stereotype of what mainstream marketing thinks a beautiful person must be. But, Iron Man isn’t going to give it for free for long. Once he has all the people hooked on it, the free trial period ended, nad now all users need to pay $99.99USD per day to keep up with the beauty, sex appeal and good looks.
This creates two players in society: those who are like celebrities and those who cannot afford the app, and thus, look like crap. And guess who gets bullied? Exactly! Those who cannot pay are bullied by those who are now the high society in the city. Stark even has a TV show to market further his plans for making the perfect society. And people buy it on the spot.
However, there are more than just problems and critics for Iron Man taking advantage of people. There is a hideous mutant teenager who is running angry along the city. Iron Man takes him in to explore what’s going on (even though he tricks the guy first into believing that he is the good Samaritan).
In this comic, Superior Iron Man is the corporation that has evil purposes. He is not only drunk, but he also has an evil plan to get immensely rich while creating the perfect society with the perfect beauty. All those who cannot afford it, are out of it in speed light. He uses marketing to brainwash people and tricks that the public have no access to make his plans real. On the other hand, DareDevil represents those who fight back and can see the dangers of corporations running amok. The teenager represents all young people caught up in marketing, self-doubt and the learning process of accepting oneself completely.
Superhero comics are a great ground to criticize or exposing society’s fears in an unchallenging way. By exploring the alcoholism, pride and nihilism of Iron Man, we can also explore how our fears towards billionaires who own great corporations act on us. We can also see that letting just a few people put those corporations at bay is a mistake. DareDevil has problems in trying to make Iron Man reason, or do otherwise. (Read the comics to know more, I won’t explain the whole of it here.) This comic is also great to explore issues on teenagers. Jamie is angry, and because he is angry he becomes a monster (due to a radiation accident he was exposed when younger.) He wants to use the App, but it doesn’t work on him. And he even gets more and more angry. At that moment, Iron Man offers help. An interested hand, mind you.
We can see the dynamics of marketing used by big corporations, stereotypes of beauty that make some people outsiders in society, and how teenagers deal with all the above. Programs of TV sponsored by brands so that people will buy more stuff or teenager will buy the idea that their bodies aren’t okay.
Superior Iron Man is just an example of how superhero comics touch delicate topics to express their discomfort with them. They take fears and explore them into an incredible realm in which superheroes and supervillains expose all the foes that are hidden in plain sight.
You can start your journey of exploring superhero comics by using Superior Iron Man Infamous. The comic is a pool of fear towards corporations, marketing going rampant and teenagers caught in the middle. Will you miss it?
Sources and recommended readings: