Thor vs. Iron ManPosted: 07/01/2012
Since the 2006 Marvel comics event Civil War up till just a year or two ago, Tony Stark hasn’t been terribly well-liked in the Marvel universe. This isn’t some sort of Spider-Man public menace charade. No, he deserved it. Essentially, he became The Man, holding down superheroes who didn’t trust or forcibly side with the government, which is pretty much all of them. Also, his team went up against Captain America’s, and any team the captain sides with will always be the good guys.
Oh, but you know who missed the entire Civil War event? Yes, the Hulk, but that’s a different story. I’m talking about Thor. Sure, Iron Man cloned Thor using his DNA and had the clone fight Captain America’s underground Avengers, but the actual Asgardian was occupied with other matters. Like being dead.
Luckily, gods don’t stay deceased for very long and Thor, wanting to bring his homeland and all his friends killed in Ragnarok back to life (he had a busy year), warped the entire city of Asgard to rural Oklahoma. Well, if you know anything about zoning laws, the government isn’t terribly thrilled. And to be fair, Thor didn’t fill out a single piece of paperwork. So in Thor #3, written by the phenomenal J. Michael Straczynski, Stark pays his buddy a visit. It’s a bad idea.
You know who’s not big on small talk? Nordic thunder gods.
The second half of the 2000s tended to go with themes of distrust, betrayal, and ruined friendships. The Civil War split the superhero community into two, Secret Invasion followed with the premise that any superhero at any time could be an evil shapeshifting Skrull. Dark Reign after that had Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) as the sadistic leader of national security with the American government mostly under his control. Siege and the Heroic Age debuting in 2010 finally stopped pitting superheroes against other superheroes, which was a welcome change of pace. But this story we’re reading now takes place right smack in the middle of this moral ambiguity mess. Lucky us.
Spoiler alert: he says no.
In the superhero community, words never solve problems. Solutions always come down to fists, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But despite what the movies say, in the comic books Thor severely outpowers Iron Man. The thunder god has Hulk-level strength, probably the strongest electrical superpowers in the Marvel universe, and can take blows for hours. But Stark is much smarter, far sneakier, and possesses technology that can do miracles. As long as Iron Man doesn’t get into a fistfight or charge Thor, he could possibly come out on top.
Okay, maybe I’m wrong. One could make an argument that Thor is the Superman of Marvel – not in terms of moral code or a symbolic nature, but in terms of sheer toughness. And unfortunately, Thor has no weakness to kryptonite or frost giants or whatever. So you know when I said Stark shouldn’t charge the god of thunder?
Iron Man can lift up to 100 tons, possibly more if he wanted, but Thor could push the moon. In the Iron Man comics, Stark usually wins because of a technological epiphany or careful planning ahead. Maybe a secret weapon or virus or power dampener or something. So how does one take out Stark, the man who has a doohickey for every scenario and possible attack? Easy. A combination of impossible levels of strength and a swift, precise brutality. Write that down in your notebook for the bullies at school.
Battle over. What’s my prize, you ask? Have you ever wanted to see a scary, threatening Thor?
As politically connected as Iron Man has become, he still has a buttload of politicians, generals, magicians, etc. to answer to, and if you’ve ever seen old men in positions of powers, they don’t react well to failure. And Stark failed. Badly. But he’s still one of the smartest men in the world, and that doesn’t just include engineering. Besides Nick Fury, Iron Man may know more political loopholes and maneuvering than any other superhero in the country. You don’t get to run a trillion dollar corporation without knowing how to get around laws and restrictions.
Yay, problem solved! Only loss is Stark’s billion dollar suit and a relationship that can no longer be mended over a goblet of mead.
You see? Sure, the fight has a clear winner and loser, but our hearts are torn asunder regardless. Luckily, superheroes are now back to fighting supervillains, because at least at the end of those fights, one of them smiles.