Marvel’s Superior Iron Man Was a Scumbag – But He May Be Worse in the MCU

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It goes without saying that Tony Stark is a complicated and complex Marvel superhero. An ambitious and driven visionary, supplemented by more than a little bit of ego, Tony will relentlessly pursue what he believes to be the future, even making morally ambiguous choices and comprises if it means he can secure that future. As seen with the creation of Ultron in the MCU, these ambitions often exceed his grasp, and create further conflict and division within the greater Marvel Universe.

RELATED: Iron Man’s New Superpowers Have Turned Tony Stark Into His Own Worst Enemy

Despite these flaws, Tony has always been a character held together by a strong sense of morality, someone who trusts in his friends to guide him down the right path when he can’t clearly see it himself. But without that morality, without that sense of perspective, what could Marvel’s iron-clad Avenger become? Under writer Tom Taylor, who is no stranger to dystopian superhero narratives in titles like Injustice and DCeased at DC, and the ongoing Dark Ages event at Marvel, audiences witnessed the nightmare this scenario creates in Superior Iron Man.

This new Iron Man came as a result of Marvel’s divisive AXIS event, where many of Marvel’s heroes and villains underwent a morality switch, with heroes turning bad and villains turning good. For many, this change was only temporary, but not so much for Tony Stark. Often given the Invincible adjective as Iron Man, this is a Tony fully aware of, and flaunting, that invincibility to the world.

Driven by his need to be loved and admired, this Tony creates an app called EXTREMIS 3.0, an app that can alter the physical appearance of the user, essentially making them look however they want on top of making them both smarter and healthier. The catch? This app costs $99.99 a day, and those who use it fall under the influence of Tony’s twisted mind. Those that recognize this are quick to be rooted out, their weaknesses exploited until they too fall in line.

RELATED: Marvel’s Strongest Cosmic Power Is Eating Iron Man Alive – in a Good Way?

No longer held back by any sense of moral restraint, this eerily unfamiliar Iron Man creates technology that compromises the privacy of the general public, blackmails the US Government in order to fund a media takeover, and creates a new armor whose outward beauty betrays its darker origins.

Dubbed by Tony as the “Endo-Sym Armor,” this new armor exists as a liquid smart-metal, bonding to Tony via elements extracted from a Symbiote, meaning Tony’s new armor bonds to him in the same way the Venom symbiote attaches to Eddie Brock, though without the additional consciousness. This alteration means the suit functions without the need for electronics, and can in essence “feel” its bonded user. This armor can be commanded around like a subservient symbiote, moving between bodies even as it is psionically tied to its host.

Often, this Tony would use it to force his enemies into moving and acting against their will; and in this twisted fantasy, Iron Man produced his fair share of enemies. From Daredevil to Pepper Pots, to even a digital consciousness of himself, many attempted to break him… with little success, due in no small part to his new armor.

RELATED: Hulk Revealed Iron Man’s Most Powerful Armor – the Celestial-Buster – Still Exists

Despite the death of Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, the potential to see this terrifying Iron Man realized on screen remains a clear and present danger. With Marvel’s continued interest in Multiversal exploration, the possibility of an alternate reality Tony Stark free of his morality finding his way into the familiar MCU is there. And with the popularity of Marvel’s What-If… ? show, such a plot line would be uniquely suited to an episode, with Marvel’s heroes teaming up to take down the shadow of their former friend. But then again, there is another option that wouldn’t require the Marvel Multiverse.

While the character hasn’t appeared since the release of Iron Man 2 back in 2010, Marvel could also build Justin Hammer in to take the place of the Superior Iron Man. While perhaps not the most conventional choice, considering the quality of his weapons development presented in the movie, a Justin Hammer driven to outshine Tony Stark could build towards a similar story arc. Given Tony’s near limitless resources, along with knowledge of the symbiotes, Hammer could craft this ominous armor with the intention of proving he could accomplish what Tony never could: total control.

With Marvel’s Armor Wars having been announced, the return of Justin Hammer is once again a possibility, and with that, comes the possibility for new audiences to experience Superior Iron Man, whether he be a twisted reflection of the hero audiences know, or an old villain returned to prove his worth.

KEEP READING: Armor Wars Could Bring Back Justin Hammer – and [SPOILER]’s Son

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