Tony Stark Just Gave Up Everything – And It Saved His Life

The following contains major spoilers for Iron Man #19, available now from Marvel.

Over his decades long superhero career, Tony Stark has overcome some of the most menacing foes the Marvel Universe has to offer. Iron Man has battled it all from mechanized monstrosities to cosmic gods, yet he has never been able to quite overcome his demons. At least, he never could until he came to terms with the root of them all. Now that Tony has been brought to the brink and given up his greatest powers, it looks like he finally has the new lease on life he has needed for years.

When Tony was imbued with the Power Cosmic, he immediately turned his sights towards something grander than ever before, though it didn't take long for his hubris to get in the way of that mission. In the aftermath of a gruesome encounter with his closest allies, Tony finally came to realize just how far he had fallen and relinquished the power. In what should have been his dying moments, Tony somehow managed to come to terms with his broken sense of humanity in a way that even convinced the villainous Korvac to rescue him. Beyond anything else, however, what stands out the most is the genuine sense of gratitude Tony expressed. Not just for being saved by his deadliest foe, but for his newfound outlook, and it might just be what comes to define Iron Man in the coming years.

While there is something to be said about Tony's previous battles with addiction after seeing him check back into rehab, never before has the Marvel icon taken these same steps with such an optimistic fervor. This speaks to just what state of mind Tony is in after having let go of his godlike abilities, not to mention his armor.

Despite how vulnerable he probably should be feeling, it looks like things have never been better regarding Iron Man's mental health. Of course, the road to recovery is still going to be a long one, and will surely test that resolve, yet there is no question that the Tony Stark who emerges will continue to be better than the one who went in. More importantly, the world at large will come out of all of this with a better Iron Man than ever before.

Throughout the years, Tony's personal problems have proven to be just as much a hindrance to his superheroic duties as any member of his rogues' gallery. In fact, his struggles have gone far beyond self-medicating with drugs and alcohol all the way to using his armor as a very similar sort of crutch. That too is something that has nearly ended his life on more than one occasion, and thankfully it looks to be another part of himself that Tony is now willing to confront. Assuming he is able to return to action following his recovery, the Iron Man that greets the world is going to be unlike anything the public has ever seen before. Tony may even surprise his fellow heroes in that regard, especially if he can make up for all the grief he has given them both with and without the Power Cosmic driving him into a murderous frenzy.

There isn't any telling exactly where all of this is leading Tony, though the budding romance between him and Patsy Walker has already been teased as leading towards something more. Hopefully, their relationship won't become another aspect of Iron Man's life that ends up threatening to consume his entire being.

So long as that isn't the case, a more open, trusting, compassionate Iron Man is almost assuredly what the world has desperately needed, even if no one ever realized it. That transformation might even culminate in an Iron Man who is just as capable of a leader as he is a tinkerer. Considering how far Tony has come in recent months, it's hard to imagine him ending up as anything else, and with any luck, he will be staying that way for a long time to come.

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