Thursday, April 2, 2015

At War With The Hulk!

So far we've taken a look at several customized suits of Iron Man armor that Tony Stark had developed to handle special ops missions. There were his EVA and stealth suits for, respectively, venturing into outer space as well as conducting covert surveillance and infiltration; and his deep-sea armor to take him to the ocean's depths. But this next suit would be geared to go up against one of the most powerful threats ever known:

As we can see, Tony's normal suit of armor just wasn't going to cut it this time.

The story takes place during the 2007 World War Hulk crossover event--"crossover" in this case translating to, "The Hulk is going to trample over all the other heroes in the other books, to give the story in the main book time to play out." And that translates to, "If you're expecting to see your favorite hero(es) make any headway against the Hulk, forget it. For the duration of this story, he's invincible. Until he's not." Given that kind of dour outlook, it's no wonder that Stark approaches this upcoming battle with the Hulk as a man scheduled for execution.

But it's more than that. Stark, now the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and proponent of the Superhero Registration Act that has burned his bridges with his friends, now also faces the repercussions of the decision that exiled the Hulk from Earth and which has served to drive the Hulk's anger and thirst for revenge against Stark, Black Bolt, Reed Richards, and Stephen Strange. Yet Stark is driven by the steadfast belief that, in all these things as well as other questionable decisions, he has done the right thing, and that he acts for the good of the human race. He shows no signs of backing down from that stance--but with his increasing tendency to shut out opposing viewpoints or suggestions, it's becoming more and more difficult for him to bear the weight of it.

Nor is it a good sign that he seems to have put counter-measures in place for when those decisions might come back to bite him. For instance, why have a Hulkbuster suit of armor all but ready to go if you've been part of a decision to send the Hulk to another world where he'll be happy? Well, let's see--perhaps for the day when he returns and demands vengeance against those who screwed up?

Who is Stark addressing here? Who is he trying to justify his actions to? When he blasts off in this armor, dedicated in his cause as ever, is he a hero? Or simply a man seeking validation?

When the battle begins, and Stark turns from mulling over his thoughts in private to reaffirming his actions via broadcast, his guilt nevertheless hangs on every word:

If any one super-being would be able to stand a chance against the Hulk in terms of raw power and resourcefulness, Iron Man would surely be in the top five--especially with the resources of S.H.I.E.L.D. at his beck and call, and a suit of armor designed specifically for this foe. But, with other targets to get to, plans to fulfill, and books to sell, we know the Hulk isn't going down today, despite this impressive-looking armor that regrettably won't get the chance to show us a tenth of its capabilities (assuming that Stark isn't the kind of short-sighted engineer that would place all his hopes for victory on sheer bulk and power):

It looks like it's back to the drawing board for the Hulkbuster suit, assuming Stark survives to revisit this monstrosity that mainly served to make him a very big punching bag.

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