On the Panel – Superior Iron Man
Issue # 2
In the second issue of Superior Iron Man Daredevil steps in to directly oppose Tony Stark’s plans to change San Francisco’s residents using Extremis. His plan revolves around using a paid app to make people superficially beautiful in order to maximise profits for himself.
The best thing about this story is that Tony Stark is written as a layered character instead of taking the easy way out by making him cartoonishly evil. Some of the things he does in this issue had me questioning just how evil he might actually be. This is particularly shown through his interactions with Daredevil. They are in opposition to one another but there are shades of Stark being not completely twisted. He has always been pretty arrogant and certainly a shrewd businessman so in that respect nothing has changed here.
There is a sense that his moral compass has wavered in many ways but it’s good that he’s still recognisably the same guy and doesn’t seem like he’s being manipulated by an outside force. I could see this version of Tony sticking around and humbling over time so I hope there won’t be a simple fix that reverts him back to normal as there’s plenty of mileage to be had developing this version of the character.
Daredevil is in opposition to Stark and seems very much in character but the beauty of it that he’s not entirely the righteous presence in the story. Stark’s plan is complex enough that his point of view can be understood so it more comes down to whether you personally agree with Stark or Daredevil. The interesting thing is that Stark is giving everyone the choice over whether they want to be made beautiful so he’s not forcing anyone to do anything and isn’t really doing anything illegal but the ethics of the situation are pretty questionable.
The real problem comes from the people of San Francisco and the superficial beauty shows the true ugliness of people. Anyone who doesn’t accept Tony’s offer is victimised for not conforming to some kind of physical ideal and the pricing structure of this smartphone app is so expensive that people are turning to crime in order to pay for it. It turns out that the vanity of the people and their inability to resist the temptation to look great is a large part of the real problem here.
I really liked the Daredevil vs Iron Man stuff for the most part. It makes sense that Daredevil wouldn’t really be a match for Tony in a fight given the differences in power level and it was cool to see Daredevil robbed of his senses when he was under water. There was a real sense of vulnerability yet bravery there and it was done really well.
I wasn’t so excited about the ending for a couple of reasons. First of all Daredevil being cured of his blindless will never be a permanent change as it robs the character of what makes him unique as well as tempting people and then taking it away from them underpinning every aspect of Tony’s plan here. The other is that the story will probably go pretty by the numbers from here. Daredevil will be tempted by the prospect of being able to see again, wrestle with the implications of accepting the offer for a while before ultimately deciding that the price is too high and end up fighting Stark again. Something interesting might be done with it but I doubt it at the moment.
A strong issue with some really interesting character stuff. The conflict between Daredevil and Iron Man is a complex one instead of being a simple black and white issue and Stark’s more villaionous persona is a nicely layered character.
Daredevil and Iron Man’s battles are nicely done and showcase some impressive stuff that remains unique to the characters. Only thing that really brings this issue down is something of a weak cliffhanger ending that will no doubt ensue in a predictable moral dilema.