Thursday, March 31, 2011

So It Looks Like I Have A New Professor...Named GENE YANG

So I don't know if our regular readers recall a few months back when I blogged about cartoonist and American Born Chinese creator Gene Yang coming to my graduate program at Hamline University and pretty much blowing everyone away with his presentation on comics and sequential narrative. It turns out the esteemed Mr. Yang impressed the Dean at school so much that she's turned right around and hired him on as a professor in my program – an MFA in Writing For Children.

This is kind of crazy to me. To be perfectly honest, one of the motivating factors for me getting into the Hamline program was to finally get something on my professional resume that DIDN'T involve comics. Still, I'm never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, particularly one that gives me the opportunity to study with a creator with chops like Gene's. This is a very small world sometimes.

In any event...welcome to Hamline, Gene! Prepare yourself for the blistering cold of the Twin Cities for ten days out of the year!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Many Loves of The Human Torch

Two months removed from the death of The Human Torch and a month and a half after Valentine’s Day, I’m riding the zeitgeist as I always do and writing a post about Johnny Storm’s various girlfriends and shape shifting alien wives.

Many good super hero comics have a strong soap opera element. From the Superman-Lois Lane-Clark Kent triangle to the Melrose Place-like shenanigans of the early 90’s X-Men, love and lust between these attractive folks in spandex can be as crucial to keeping things fresh and building an acclaimed run as your central mystery or monthly action scene.

As with many things, 60’s Marvel pioneered a lot of the soapier elements in comics—or to be fair polished them up, since the aforementioned Superman stuff was going before and the Legion of Super-Heroes had to have been at least holding hands and trading flight rings—with Peter Parker’s pursuit of Betty Brant in Amazing Spider-Man, Bruce Banner’s Quasimodo-like yearning for Betty Ross in Incredible Hulk, the shy courtship between Cyclops and Marvel Girl and so on. But nowhere was the interpersonal as important as Fantastic Four.

The personal dynamic amongst the FF has always been at the forefront of their stories, just as much as their villains or the wild locations they visit. However, it’s not like any other super team because it’s not a group of peers hanging out and waiting to couple off, it’s a family; to go back to my favorite analogy-generator already used once in this very post, if the other teams are Melrose Place, Fantastic Four is The Waltons. Romance played a role, but paternal, fraternal, maternal and whatever means the sister version (saternal?) bonds came first.

Reed and Sue Richards are the longstanding royal couple of the Marvel Universe; they’re Billy and Alison if things had worked out (three Melrose Place references in five paragraphs—I’m rolling!). Theirs is a mature and sweet but ultimately kinda boring love. And The Thing is an awesome character, one of the best, but part of his whole deal is that no girl is ever going to get with him unless she’s blind and has a kink for clay already established.

Which leaves us—or left us—with The Torch.

For 50 years, Johnny Storm had to shoulder the burden of being the single guy bringing any and all romantic intrigue to Fantastic Four (because Sue was never really going to swim off with Namor). He played every role from love struck teenager to swarthy playboy to even over-his-head newlywed. Every time a new creative team came onboard or a direction shift was made, invariably, Johnny got a new girlfriend—and what a group.

Let’s talk about a few.

The Human Torch’s mostly anonymous teenage girlfriend who came more or less pre-packaged with the series and then stuck around predominantly off-camera for the first 50 issues or so. For real, the best ever appearance of Dorrie Evans is Amazing Spider-Man #21, in which she has more lines then every issue of FF she showed up in combined—and is named Doris for some reason—and spends the story trying to use bookish Peter Parker to make Johnny jealous but also kinda falls for him (as I recall). It’s the most personality Dorrie ever displayed, much of it the usual Silver Age girlfriend “make the hero jealous” routine, but she also came across as kind of sweet at time and perhaps would have been perfect for Peter. I also love that when Stan Lee had to name his young male lead’s love interest he went with “Dorrie”—was that name more common in the 60’s?

I would hope at this point my loathing for Crystal is well-known or I’m really not doing my job here. She is in all likelihood my least favorite comic book character ever, with only Sardath giving her a run for her money—and that idiot got taken out again in the new issue of R.E.B.E.L.S.! But I digress. That aside, the Romeo & Juliet romance of The Torch and Crystal is one of the classics and even I kinda dig it. The funny thing is, finally having recently gotten around to reading the original stories in Masterworks form recently, the whole thing comes out of nowhere entirely; one issue Johnny is sort of pining after Crystal’s older sister Medusa (and maybe still dating Dorrie?), then the next he’s madly in love with Crystal—and likewise—and then the next they’ve got an unbreakable barrier between them and it’s heartbreaking. It’s one of those stories that are really great and emotional as long as you just look the other way on its origins and how quickly the dial got turned up to 11, but that’s the simultaneous beauty and absurdity of Silver Age comics. Of course Crystal broke Johnny’s heart because she’s an awful, awful shrew, but it was nice while it lasted.

I’ve got a weird soft spot for Frankie Raye, despite the fact she co-opted the Nova codename for a couple decades. Her back story is nutty—she’s the stepdaughter of the guy who created the original Human Torch, got fire powers from a lab accident, and then was given amnesia, an invisible golden swimsuit that blocked her abilities and subtle pyrophobia by her stepdad via hypnosis—and she was actually a bit out of Johnny’s league and didn’t seem to realize it. More than that, though, I love the John Byrne story where she more or less became Galactus’ willing herald because it would save Earth but also because she just thought it would be fun to see outer space; she again broke Johnny’s heart, but doing so by getting cosmic powers from an immortal planet eating space god is a pretty clever and unique breakup strategy.

Midway through his awesome FF run, with The Thing out of the picture, John Byrne decided to experiment with mixing things up a bit and not only moved She-Hulk in as a new member of the team, but also hooked up Johnny with Ben’s longtime love interest, Alicia Masters. I was initially intrigued by the pairing, but ultimately, like I believe most fans, didn’t think it worked. A lot of interesting but somewhat ham-fisted of Johnny noticing that Alicia is actually somewhat close to his age and stuff. After Byrne left, Roger Stern ended up marrying the couple, which really didn’t seem to work, as it altered the dynamic I talked about at the beginning of this post and took Johnny out of play as the FF’s single guy. Eventually the folks working on the book came to see it was an odd fit as well—though not for awhile—which brings us to…

…it wasn’t Alicia after all, it was a Skrull! Lyja had a lot of potential as a character and as a love interest for Johnny, but I don’t think she or their relationship ever really got a fair shake since she was created as a solution for a situation rather than a new idea. Her alienation from her own race and the way she somewhat put her warrior nature in check because of how much she cared for Johnny and on the flipside his having to work through such ultimate betrayal as getting married under totally false circumstances but realizing he did love this woman is all good story fodder, but the whole thing came along at an unstable time for the book and the characters, so it never came to fruition as it may have during another period. I did like Lyja’s brief return during Secret Invasion, as she deserved to tell off Johnny for forgetting about her, but I also like that they still couldn’t quite resist one another.

The Nova-Namorita fan in me of course despises this pairing, but aside from that, I kind of love it. It’s so perfect on so many gimmicky levels: the mini-Namor/Sue thing, the fire/water thing, that they’re both just outgoing party hard characters who know how attractive they are. This is another one that never got enough play and it’s too bad she’s gone (and presumably the Namorita who turned up during War of Kings was plucked from before her dating Johnny days); they’d be a fun occasional hookup.

Even in the Ultimate Universe, Johnny is a mack daddy who can’t win. Crystal ditched him even harder over there, and just when he seemed to have a good thing going with Liz Allen, she burst into flames and went off to hang with the X-Men. I’d like to see this one revisited. Somebody get me Brian Bendis…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rasslin' Ramblings: More Money in the Bank

For a couple of weeks now on my Twitter account, I’ve been bemoaning the lack of the Money in the Bank Ladder match at this year’s WrestleMania. With the event a week away, let me provide a quick breakdown of why I think pulling this annual attraction from ‘Mania is a mistake and why it belongs as a fixture of the Showcase of the Immortals in general and this year’s edition in particular.

First and foremost, I think it’s just cool that WrestleMania had a signature match. One could argue that WrestleMania doesn’t need anything to stand out beyond being WrestleMania—and the celebrities, the Hall of Fame, etc.—and it’s hard to argue against it. Heck, maybe Money in the Bank is a better fit for SummerSlam, which more and more has become just another show with a bunch of regular matches as opposed to the second biggest pay-per-view of the year, but I still contend it belongs at ‘Mania.

Since its inception at WrestleMania 21 (they didn’t use Roman numerals that year), MitB could always be counted on to provide at least one if not several of those coveted “WrestleMania Moments” they love to make highlight reels for. Because it took place at the biggest show of the year, you knew guys would be stepping up their game and looking to stand out. As I just saw said a few times a few different ways on the True Story of WrestleMania documentary and then echoed by former WWE creative team member Dave Lagana, if you have a great match on TV or at another PPV people will talk for a bit, but if you have one at WrestleMania it gets immortalized; that same principle can be applied to MitB. The two matches at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view last summer—which I’ll talk more about later—weren’t bad and I would never accuse anybody in them of sandbagging it, but neither produced a Shelton Benjamin running up the ladder or Kofi Kingston using the “stilts” spot like what we see at ‘Mania.

In this era of a pay-per-view every month and every TV show having at least a couple marquee matches, even—perhaps especially—a show like WrestleMania needs everything it can to stand out and remind people that this one matters more than the rest. Money in the Bank could be counted on to add sizzle to the steak and provide spectacle that keeps the audience going through the dull stretches.

Second, but perhaps even more foremost than my first point, is that Money in the Bank is a great way to assure as many guys get on the WrestleMania card as can logically fit, and if there’s any show where the full roster—or close to it—should be on display, this is it. To WWE’s credit, even without MitB they’ve done a pretty solid job getting just about everybody outside of the Superstars regulars who will hopefully get a dark match battle royal payday involved in something, but there are still a few notable names without anything to do.

Drew McIntyre has improved by leaps and bounds since his initial push and has the look, mic skills and in-ring ability to be credible World title challenger sooner rather than later. Evan Bourne just came back from injury to some impressive pops and then was quickly left to wither in squashes by Sheamus--plus this match is built for guys like him. R-Truth has his flaws, but the guy is perennially over and should be a WrestleMania fixture. Ted DiBiase has sputtered quite a bit since splitting with Legacy, but always seems just one good match away from getting back in at least the U.S. title picture. Mark Henry fits the same niche as R-Truth and has proven to be a solid MitB performer who can be counted on to protect the high flyers. You’ve also got an array of standout young performers like Zack Ryder, Trent Barreta, Tyler Reks, Yoshi Tatsu and so on who could fill a wildcard spot out nicely. Heck, I’d love to see William Regal in there no matter how weird a fit it is.

I’m leaving out Kofi Kingston since the rumors have him getting involved in the Big Show/Kane vs Corre feud somehow, but certainly if anybody has proven to be perfect for MitB in the past it’s him, and after the harsh booking of his Intercontinental title reign—two televised singles wins in three months as champion—the chance to show off in this match would be just what he needs to get his credibility back. I’m also considering it somewhat a foregone conclusion Christian will be tied up with the Edge vs Alberto Del Rio World title match, hopefully as the third competitor, but at the very least in Edge’s corner to turn on him; if he weren’t, he’d be ideal for this match.

So going from what’s available, you could return to the six man roots of MitB with McIntyre, Kingston, Bourne, R-Truth, Henry and DiBiase. Toss in Ryder and Barreta if you want to expand to eight. Add Tatsu and Reks if you feel the need to bump it back to ten (I feel like that’s too many, but whatever). If Kingston is occupied, sub in Regal.

Are any of these guys the next Edge who can use Money in the Bank to cement themselves as fixtures in the main event scene? I’m not sure. I believe McIntyre or Kingston certainly could, while Bourne or one of the others could prove a pleasant surprise. You’ve got to take chances to make new stars, and even if it doesn’t always pay off, MitB is a good way to roll the dice. Sure, Jack Swagger didn’t exactly light the world on fire after he won, but C.M. Punk’s career certainly got a nice boost. Also, eventually one of the guys who win this match needs to not successfully cash in, and I’d argue that just getting a WWE or World title match that they earned and carrying around the briefcase a few months even if they don’t ultimately get the belt is going to help somebody like Ted DiBiase a great deal.

I’m sure the most common internal argument against MitB being a part of WrestleMania at least this year within WWE is that they now have their own Money in the Bank pay-per-view, which the signature match twice already. I certainly don’t have a problem with the Money in the Bank pay-per-view as WWE has gone all in on the gimmick PPV deal and there are far worse themes than MitB. As noted above, I don’t think the matches from last year’s edition quite had the WrestleMania feel—understandably—but they were still good.

That said, it shouldn’t preclude MitB at WrestleMania, and WWE has already written themselves an explanation as to why.

The matches at the Money in the Bank PPV are brand-exclusive, meaning one is all-Raw and the winner can only challenge for the WWE title, whereas the other is all-SmackDown and the winner can only challenge for the World title. I’m not the first guy on the Internet to suggest that you could still have this PPV and those two matches yet keep MitB at WrestleMania special by retaining the stipulation that the winner of that can challenge for either title, choosing to jump brands in the process if they so desire.

Does having a Money in the Bank match on a show that is not called Money in the Bank undermine that pay-per-view? I don’t think so. At the end of the day, wrestling fans are going to pay/tune in to see matches they like and get excited about regardless of how many times you put them on. From a creative standpoint there is certainly something to be said for limiting how many times you trot your signature matches out there regardless of this mentality—I’m sure folks would watch three Royal Rumble matches a year in significant numbers, but that doesn’t mean they should do it—but really Money in the Bank is just a multi-man Ladder match with a cool victory incentive; doing it every month would be overkill, but three a year is fine. It’s not like Breaking Point stopped WWE from using I Quit matches on TV for the rest of the year or like TLC has relegated Tables matches to one PPV, nor should they.

Summary: Money in the Bank adds something special to WrestleMania, it helps get guys who deserve to be on the card in there, it can make stars, and it’s a good enough concept to use more than once a year.

You’ve still got seven days, WWE—let’s see some qualifying matches.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Art Attack: June 2011's Coolest Covers

-My good friend Phil Jimenez is a supremely talented fellow who excels at drawing pretty much anything, but knowing him as I do, I know there are particular characters he has an attachment to and passion for, and it always shows through in his work. Obviously his favorite character is Wonder Woman and you can see that in the amount of elaborate effort he puts in when crafting art featuring her; ditto for the Teen Titans. However, more often than not, it's the more obscure New Mutants and Legion Academy trainees that really get Phil's juices flowing, and as is evidenced by his work on Alpha Flight #1, Canada's top super team fits the bill, which again, knowing him, makes total sense to me; they're just the sort of visually brilliant oddball gang he'd love.

-Both Avengers: The Children's Crusade and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors show off an incredibly simple little tic that I nonetheless pop for every time I see it: coveying depth by shadowing a character's eyes. I can't help it, I love it.

-Thank you Captain America variant cover for my 2011 Halloween costume.

-I think Dave Johnson obviously read my proclamations of late that Dustin Nguyen has been becoming the best cover artist in the business, because his efforts on Deadpool and Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance clearly shows he has stepped his game up in hopes of reclaiming the top spot. Well done, Mr. Johnson, and I'm glad that I could so clearly inspire you.

-Obviously the weirder and more stylized a Flashpoint cover, the more I like it, hence Deadman and the Flying Graysons and Secret Seven joining Batman here. Just showing a familiar character with a new look is one thing, but really having fun with it is another.

-You know which cover maybe has me most excited to see what's inside? Ruse.

-Derec Donovan's Static Shock cover is stark, simple and striking.

-The new Venom series has inspired great covers every month to date thus far. Artists clearly love drawing that character and the new costume.

-A truly underrated cover artist I should give kudos to more often: X-Factor's David Yardin.

ALPHA FLIGHT #1 by Phil Jimenez
BATGIRL #22 by Dustin Nguyen
BATMAN, INCORPORATED #8 by Chris Burnham
CAPTAIN AMERICA #619 variant by Gerard Parel
DEADPOOL #38 by Dave Johnson
DOCTOR SOLAR, MAN OF THE ATOM #9 by Roger Robinson
FEAR ITSELF: THE HOME FRONT #3 by Marko Djurdjevic
FLASHPOINT #2 by Andy Kubert
THE GOON #34 by Eric Powell
HELLBOY: THE FURY #1 by Francesco Francavilla
HULK #35 by Carlo Pagulayan
iZOMBIE #14 by Mike Allred
RUSE #4 by Butch Guice
STATIC SHOCK SPECIAL #1 by Derec Donovan
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #159 variant by Frank Cho
VENOM #4 by Mike McKone
X-FACTOR #220 by David Yardin
X-MEN #12 by Ed McGuinness
XOMBI #4 by Frazer Irving

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mix & Match Super Villains

It’s no secret that the Eisner Award-winning Invincible Iron Man is a pretty consistently solid comic book (or so the scoreboard would indicate). Matt Fraction’s writing is sharp, Salvador Larroca’s art is slick, my main man Alejandro Arbona edits the heck out of the whole shebang and Tony Stark has become a wonderfully complex and charismatic lead.

So it’s no surprise I dig the book as I do, but even I was a bit taken aback at how much I’m digging the current “Fix Me” arc in which Spider-Man archfoe—revealed to also be a former Stark peer in his younger years—Doctor Octopus is squaring off with Iron Man as he attempts to get Tony to cure his life-threatening physical ailments or at least admit his failure. It’s well-written, well-drawn, all that jazz, but honestly one of the biggest draws for me is simply seeing Doc Ock, generally an Amazing Spider-Man fixture, mixing it up with somebody new (and he brings Sandman and Electro along for the ride to boot).

Heroes trading their villains around is, of course, nothing new and has been going on since at least the Silver Age if not longer (I truthfully do not know if, say, The Red Skull ever appeared in Sub-Mariner during the 40’s or if Golden Age Lex Luthor fought that era’s Batman) and has been a fixture ever since. Particularly in the 90’s, if a villain was popular—Venom is the number one example that jumps to mind—you’d see them everywhere whether it made sense or not (A-listers like The Joker or Doctor Doom aren’t in the discussion here as part of what makes them great is that they can face off with anybody and it works).

In recent years, as restraint has returned to the medium, super villains have tended more or less to find a home title/hero and stick to it, so when something like “Fix Me” occurs it feels a little more special, as I’m sure it did the first time Magneto fought the Avengers back in the 60’s. More than that, though, if you find just that right “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that” pairing, it’s so sweet to see a bad guy out of the element you associate them with, but making such a perfect adversary for their unfamiliar dance partner. No matter how good “Fix Me” ultimately is, I’m sure Doc Ock will remain primarily a Spider-Man baddie simply because there’s such a rich history there, but developing a side feud with Iron Man can only up his profile and make for more great stories. I’m hoping for similar goodness in the just-announced “Storm Hunter” story this summer where Kraven goes after The Black Panther in another matchup that just makes total sense.

Following that train of thought, I wracked my brain for some shuffled hero vs villain showdowns I think have a lot of potential—and by the way, I fully recognize that as much as I know about comics I’ve got decades of continuity working against, thus I’m sure at least one of these has happened already and I look forward to hearing about it in the comments, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done again and even better.

(Also, I don’t have Photoshop at home, so I’ll assume you all know what the good guys look like and instead display pictures of the baddies)

First and foremost, Superman always needs more villains he can just get into punching matches with, because the rotation between Metallo, Bizarro and Parasite in between cerebral wars with Lex Luthor and Brainiac gets played pretty quickly. Realistically, maybe Bane isn’t in Superman’s weight class, but then again, neither are a lot of the guys he fights. Besides that, Bane is a lot smarter than your average musclehead (when he’s being written right), as he’s the guy who not only physically dominated Batman, but weaved the psychological web of destruction that allowed that to occur. The optimum time for this to happen would have been right smack dab in the 90’s when Bane could taunt Superman with the “I broke your best friend” card, but done right today, this could bump Bane up a level and give Superman a fresh sparring partner for when you just need an issue of Action Comics full of double page spreads.

It’s tough coming up with opponents for the X-Men particularly in the here and now as they are literally an army living on their own private sanctuary. However, the Deviants’ numbers dwarf even Cyclops and company, plus they’re an entire race bred more or less to go to war. Really there could be no more perfect threat for the X-Men to play against, as the Deviants are mutants gone down the worst possible scenario and any last remnant of Xavier’s dream torn to shreds: they’re an offshoot of humanity feared for their power, shunned for their differentness and driven to isolate themselves and lash out against the Eternals, Celestials and every either “normal” or “gifted” group that has been able to ascend into the light they’re denied, so of course they would really hate the X-Men. I’d love to see Cyclops’ strategic skills pitted against the likes of Warlord Kro and the X-Men forced to look into the dark mirror of what they could become—and are actually moving closer to if they really take a minute to think about Utopia—in the Deviants.

Ok, maybe pairing off the two specialized weapons guys is a bit cliché, but just because it’s sensible doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be fun. Awesome arrow vs boomerang dual aside—and once they get to the gimmicks it would be seriously amazing—the personalities would be an interesting mesh as well. Going after Green Arrow would be a sensible move for Boomer, as he’s one of those villains constantly trying to prove he’s better than his reputation and targeting the perceived “weakest” member of the Justice League falls right in line with his character. For Ollie, looking at Boomerang would be—as with a the X-Men/Deviants pairing I just discussed—a glimpse at the road not travelled but that could still be. Digger is a guy who has let arrogance and his vices consume him and lost his family because of it; Ollie isn’t that far off from that. Both guys are arrogant and snarky and would have I suspect a spirited battle of wits, words, fists and projectiles.

This may be my personal favorite. I have already read the amazing Captain America & Batroc one-shot by Kieron Gillen and Renato Arlem headed to stores this Wednesday, and it only renewed and strengthened my affinity for “Ze Leapair,” a truly fantastic pseudo-villain and just fun character. I’d love to see Batroc gain a higher profile in the Marvel Universe, and Spider-Man is the perfect opponent for him. Captain America and Batroc always have cool dustups, but at his core, my favorite Frenchman is an acrobat, not a scrapper, so Spidey would be a great opponent for him just from a physical and fighting style angle. Batroc is also a guy who leads with his pride, preferring to prove himself against Cap rather than beat him or even pull off the big score and he’s all about the honorable opponent, so you know he and Spider-Man would start off trading barbs, but the Wallcrawler’s ceaseless banter and deprecating sense of humor would ultimately drive him—no pun intended—up the wall. And yet, underneath the surface, Batroc and Spidey actually have more than a little in common: both are underdogs, both seek and generally don’t get respect, and both stand by their morals at the end of the day (seriously, read any good Batroc story and he’s not really a bad guy, more of a thrill junkie and swashbuckler). Put the right artist on this and it would be an instant classic fight sequence, but the correct writer could also forge a cool rivalry/friendship in the end—paging Mr. Gillen and Mr. Arlem!

Probably the best Legion of Super-Heroes story ever is The Great Darkness Saga, with Darkseid emerging in the future, and a modern highlight of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run came when Ra’s al Ghul showed up as the out-of-nowhere mastermind trying to take over the United Planets. Long story short: Present day villains are gold in the 30th/31st century. Black Adam is immortal and this could certainly still be around somewhere in a thousand years or so, plus he’s one of the few figures who simply on his own could present a viable physical challenge to a fighting force as vast and diverse as the Legion. I’d love to see Captain Marvel’s toughest opponent lock horns with Mon-El and Ultra Boy, trade sparks with Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass or match magic with The White Witch. Black Adam is an unstoppable force and some of the Legion’s greatest battles have come when they go up against that type of threat; I’d love to see Cosmic Boy or Brainiac 5’s battle strategy, but I’d also like to see what happens when BA shrugs it off and ignites the tempers of Legion hotheads like Wildfire and Timber Wolf, leading to the inevitable dog pile. Throw in Isis and Osiris as well and this is a slobberknocker for the ages for sure.

I’m biting a little on the Iron Man-Doc Ock feud I started the post talking about, but if anything, that story has shown me that Tony Stark up against other smart guys makes for quality stories. For years and years The Leader has been banging his giant head against the wall trying and failing to put mind over muscle against The Hulk, so it would be interesting to see him step up to somebody of his own intellect. Conversely, I don’t think Iron Man has ever gone against anybody with the brain capacity of The Leader, so it would be a different kind of challenge for him than battling The Mandarin or one of his numerous armored rivals. I don’t hate The Leader’s chances here, as a guy who has come within inches of putting The Hulk down despite no physical abilities can surely give Iron Man a run, while Tony would be in the uncomfortable position of not being able to necessarily fall back on his knowledge, having to opt for finesse and firepower instead.