You'd think that I'd love Iron Man. He's a rich guy with health problems who built himself a robotic exoskeleton with which he fights crime and saves the day. I think I should like Iron Man, anyway. My love of robots frequently extends to things that are robot-like. Robocop? Not a robot, but I love him.
Iron Man, though. Well, he's a jerk (I keep wanting to say "Iron Man is a dick" but I'm trying to get away from gendered insults. It's very difficult.). He's always such an arrogant snot, and the recent events in Marvel's Civil War didn't exactly endear him to me, either. When he's written like a far-right military-industrialist facist who wants to erode personal rights and liberties... he's not very likable.
Still, every so often, I think to myself "Self, maybe I should give Iron Man another chance." The Iron Man annual came out recently, and there was a time when annuals were a big deal- they were pure awesome. Given how infrequently I buy individual issues, though, it's not a surprise that I didn't end up picking up Iron Man's. And, thanks to Rachelle, over at Living Between Wednesdays, I can be glad for that fact.
I'm afraid I can't do justice to the insanity that is Iron Man's annual. He's the director of the most powerful security agency on the planet- like the United Nations if the United Nations had overarching military authority across the globe. He's surrounded by capable, intelligent, well trained soldiers and secret agents.
And apparently the mission requires that they all wear tiny bikinis, lavish him with attention, and visit a strip club?
The panel that takes the cake, though? During a fight, one of his agents gets burned on the sternum by the bad guy. That leads to this lovely exchange:
I don't even know what to make of that.
Seriously: I get that it's supposed to be some kind of play on the Charlie's Angels thing. Rich playboy super-hero/secret agent (How, exactly he's a "secret" agent, I'm not clear. I stopped keeping track of how many times Tony Stark has had his identity as Iron Man outed) surrounded by stereotypical scantily clad spy-chicks. It's really not very clever, though. It's not clever, and it's been done before, and, quite frankly, it doesn't do anything to change the perception that Iron Man is a huge asshole who treats women like crap. It was bad enough when they had him rubbing the former director of SHIELD's face in her demotion by telling her to get him a cup of coffee, but now he's treating women with PhDs like playthings, making them dress up in bathing suits and rub oil on him? Ugh.
And yes, I'm sure that the story has some bullshit justification for the cheesecake factor- but you know what? Somebody wrote it, and somebody okayed it, and then somebody ended up drawing that woman saying that she doesn't have the rack for a low-cut dress. In the end, I'm sticking by my feeling glad to not have given them my money. You're a jerk, Iron Man.
I'm sticking with Batman. Sure, he's a jerk, too, but he doesn't make the women in his books wear lingerie for battle gear.
Thankfully, all is not terribly in the world of comics. For every (10? 20?) Iron Asshole: Director of Shields out there, there are things like Gail Simone's awesome debut on Wonder Woman, or writers/artists out there willing to suggest that maybe that Mary-Jane thing wasn't so tasteful after all.