Iron Man has been through a lot lately as he tries to reconnect with the people he’s sworn to protect, but now he gets by a classic Internet meme!
Spoilers for Iron Man #3 ahead!
Iron Man just got hit with one of the best-known memes on the Internet. In Iron Man #3, by writer Christopher Cantwell (Doctor Doom), artist Cafu (Valkyrie: Jane Foster) and colorist Frank D’Armata (Spider-Woman), Tony Stark finds himself in a situation straight out of one of the most popular Internet memes, and while it may be humorous at first, it points to a decline in Tony’s mental health.
Tony has been through a lot in the last few years. After the second Marvel Civil War, Tony died and was reborn; he also helped reform the Avengers. More recently, he realizes he is out of touch with ordinary people and attempts to connect with them. He has resigned as the head of Stark Unlimited as well. Tony has also reconnected with Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat, and there is noticeable romantic tension between them. There’s a new status quo for Tony, but it seems to be taking a toll on his mental health.
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His declining mental health is on display in his monologue at the beginning. Tony talks about not feeling appreciated by those he saves, and how he does not have to play by anyone’s rules. Tony is always an arrogant and self-assured person, but those qualities are ramped up here; he even begins to wonder if he even is one of us. We learn then just who Tony is delivering his monologue to—a hapless restaurant worker at 3:45 in the morning. Meme fans will recognize this scenario as a play on the infamous “Sir. This is a Wendy’s” meme. Much like Tony’s monologue, the meme usually involves someone at a fast-food drive-thru ranting about something, to which the exasperated worker replies “Sir. This is a Wendy’s.” The worker can’t believe what he’s hearing.
The moment works to defuse what has been an undeniably tense and disturbing monologue. While invoking the meme is no doubt funny, Stark’s problems remain and are even exacerbated by Korvac and his henchmen in this issue. Korvac has returned and may very well pray on Stark’s mental instability for his own ends as well.
It will be interesting to see how Tony’s mental health plays out over the coming issues—will Korvac take advantage of this and corrupt Tony as he has the Controller? Or will Tony be able to find his inner strength and resist Korvac? Is there a greater force manipulating Stark? And will Iron Man be hit with any other memes as well?
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