"What if... Iron Man had died?"
Not long after Captain America had been assassinated, the Fallen Son graphic novel was written, and the whole event seemed to be over, Marvel came out with this "What If?"
This book goes through all of the same stages as the other one had (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance), but instead of dealing with the loss of America's Son, Cap', the universe had lost it's favorite billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, and hero, Tony Stark (Iron Man). Heroes and civilians alike took his death as hard as Cap's. Once someone who seems to be untouchable falls, anything could happen.
The really odd thing about this story line is that a lot of things stay the same. The Civil War is still going on, Ms. Marvel still looses her cool, and Cap' is still arrested. While in prison, Cap' receives this letter:
I hope you never have to read this, old friend, because if you do, it means something terrible has happened.... It means I'm dead.... I suppose it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, really.... It's funny, though. I always prided myself on being a futurist--constantly thinking a leap ahead of everyone else.... Apparently, that leap wasn't nearly far enough....
But this letter is about looking forward--not back.... It doesn't matter what killed me. All that matters is what happens next... This is about my ideas--the plans and the inventions that I hoped would make the world a better place.... This is about making sure those things don't fall into the wrong hands.... I don't even want to imagine the suffering that could cause....
That's where you come in.... I need your help, Steve.... I need you to keep an eye on things now that I can't anymore--which is a lot to ask, I know, after what I've put you through.... Still, you're the only one I trust to make certain everything I was working for doesn't fall apart without me... and to ensure that the threats that I wasn't around to predict don't end up blindsiding us in my absence....
Our war may be over, Steve, but we both know that it won't be the last one.... When the time comes, the world will still need heroes.... It will still need you.... And when the fighting is over and history is written... I can only hope that we will be remembered as more than just heroes.... I hope that we will be remembered as I will always remember us... As friends.
While Cap' remains imprisoned and powerless reading this letter, Ms. Marvel almost kills Luke Cage (however impossible that may seem), Pepper Pots goes into a mental break down, the Red Skull purchases Stark's auctioned off Iron Man suits, and the next crisis in the Marvel universe happens. The Skrulls invade. But, this time, Earth was even less ready.
"It wasn't supposed to be this way..."
In the real universe, Cap' is able to come back. The gun that had been used to assassinate him really just teleported him through different time periods of his own life. Eventually he was able to come back. Tony's death, on the other hand, was permanent. He was squashed, obliterated. There is no coming back.
In a way, this devotion is the opposite of last week's. We addressed who Cap' was and why his death meant so much and compared that to who Christ is and how that gave meaning behind his death. Now, we take a look at what would have happened if Iron Man would have died instead of America's Son. In this light, we may be able to contrast what would have happened if just a man would have died, instead of the Son of God.
If just a man had died, the world would have still reacted, like the reaction to many martyrs. The man might have been glorified or even inspired faith in others.Yet, there would have been drastic repercussions. Instead of Ms. Marvel almost killing Luke Cage, God would have still needed to condemn the world. Without Christ's resurrection, he would neglect forgiveness knowing that the world is unable to redeem itself. Like Pepper Pots, those close to the man would suffer a greater loss than those close to Christ. The man's death would have had less meaning. Some might have lost faith in any god after watching their dear friend suffer without cause. Like the Red Skull buying the suits of Iron Man, Satan would still own humanity. We would remain slaves to sin, not knowing redemption. Worst of all, more evident than any of these previous things, the Spiritual battle and war for the world would have been lost. God would know that the battle is coming (just like the Skrulls arriving), but Christ would not have already won. Heaven would be ill-prepared and weak instead of already proclaimed as victor.
In the end, there is no way that a mere (and imperfect) man could have bared the sin of the world on his shoulders. Even if he had, like Stark, he would have remained dead. Christ alone was able to defeat death. This was not only so that he might be saved from Satan's clutches, but that we might be saved too. The war has not been lost, but won.
This has been the final installment of the Super Inc. Fallen Son series.