Iron Man has just had his own horrific Dark Phoenix moment, in which an entire planet and everyone on it is obliterated…and it’s all his fault.
Warning: contains spoilers for Iron Man #15!
Marvel’s Iron Man has just participated in his very own Dark Phoenix moment – and just like the original event, an entire planet and civilization is destroyed thanks to the titular hero’s efforts. Tony Stark is perhaps more powerful than ever before in his new armor – and his power is still not enough to stop Korvac. In Iron Man #15, the battle between Iron Man and Korvac results in an incredible tragedy, the likes of which were seen only once before in the Marvel Universe.
The power-hungry Korvac has gone insane with a severe case of megalomania, and seeks the power of a God. Iron Man is the only one who can stop him, and encased in a brand-new suit of armor imbued with the Power Cosmic, the two have an interstellar battle across the cosmos. Tragically, a planet is caught in the crossfire, suffering a terribly similar fate to a planet in the D’Bari system in the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Iron Man and Korvac battle in space, and a furious Korvac attacks Stark, crying “You’re a tinkerer who builds mechanical suits and nothing more!” But the majority of the issue doesn’t concern either combatant, but the terrified citizens making up a civilization on a doomed planet, far below Korvac’s notice. People scatter in the streets, holding their families and running to shelters, but there can be no safety when caught in a battle between two cosmic entities. The planet only has minutes to live. The sole survivor of the devastation escapes in a small escape pod with a copy of the planet’s entire history – but he’s mortally wounded, and dies not long after.
The murder of billions in a single panel is eerily similar to Dark Phoenix’s greatest tragedy. Jean Grey, hungry for power, consumes an entire star, causing it to go supernova. The energies of the exploding star eventually engulf the fourth planet in the system, home to a peaceful civilization. The people below only have a few moments “…to curse cruel fate or make their peace with their God. Then they all die.” This ultimately led to Jean Grey’s trial and eventual death, and while the battle between Iron Man and Korvac is different – Stark didn’t deliberately attack the world below – the moment is the same. Cosmic beings exist and pay little to no heed of the “lesser” beings below.
Korvac is eventually defeated and Iron Man retains his cosmic power, but as far as one knows, he cannot travel back in time to restore the world. Everyone on the planet depicted in the battle is dead, and potentially eons of history have been lost forever. Iron Man may be as powerful as he’s ever been, but it means precious little to the innocents on the destroyed world…if they were still alive.
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