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Off My Mind: The End of Iron Man

Tony Stark has been going through a lot and is about to give it all up.

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It takes more than superpowers and fancy gadgets to be a superhero. This is something that Tony Stark has known from the beginning of his career. His goals were originally to be a hero. Building the Iron Man suit came about out of necessity and survival. Once the suit was complete, Stark got a taste for being a hero.

Over the years, being Iron Man has resulted in many losses and sacrifices. Tony's personal life and business have often suffered due to the existence of Iron Man. The latest attacks might be enough to force Tony to give it all up.

With the joining of several of Iron Man's enemies along with other attacks to the world, Iron Man's credibility has been stretched past its limits. Tony Stark may be forced to stop being Iron Man and it's possible he might be willing to give it up himself.

This wouldn't be the first time he stopped being Iron Man. There has been other heroes that have given up their identity or passed the torch on to someone else. This could be Iron Man's time once again.

Are we about to see the end of Iron Man?

== TEASER ==

The immediate answer is "no way!" With The Avengers movie in May along with another Iron Man sequel coming, Marvel couldn't possibly put an end to Iron Man or replace him, right? While it seems comics are becoming more influenced by their big screen counterparts, we did have Bruce Wayne 'dead' in the comics when The Dark Knight was released.

Why is Tony have such a hard time being Iron Man right now? He is being attacked by the combined forces of the Mandarin, Ezekiel Stane and Justine Hammer. Iron Man normally would not have a problem being attacked but this time their approach is different. They are taking a more calculated approach over a physical one. This isn't the only battle Tony has to face. There's also the fact that Tony had to get drunk in order to save the world.

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Tony Stark is an alcoholic. In order to gain the attention of Odin, he needed to make a sacrifice. He gave up his dignity and integrity to gain an audience with the all-father. Once in Asgard, he played an integral role in defeating the threat of the Serpent. Stark designed weapons that gave the heroes the edge they needed to win the battle.

The problem is, the public became aware that Tony had been drinking and wore the Iron Man armor. He has his enemies teaming up against him and the government (and public) believing he isn't worthy enough to wear his own armor.

Since Tony Stark designed his suit at his own cost, others shouldn't be able to tell him what to do. But if there is the chance of him using such an extremely powerful weapon while intoxicated, he becomes a threat to himself as well as to countless others.

This idea was part of what caused the birth of the Super-Human Registration Act which lead to the Civil War between the heroes. The belief was some heroes couldn't be responsible with their power. They needed training and approval by those in charge to ensure they wouldn't cause damage, destruction or death. If Tony Stark can't stay sober, he can't wear the suit.

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What should be considered is why does Tony Stark dress up as Iron Man? Originally he needed the chestplate in order to survive when a piece of shrapnel was lodged and moving towards his heart. Soon afterwards he used the armor to defend against attacks on his company.

Tony's medical condition was eventually resolved and the attacks against his company became manageable. Besides just being "Tony Stark's bodyguard," Iron Man became a hero. He was a member of the Avengers. Tony Stark didn't put on the armor as much as to defend his company but more so to defend the innocent and threats against the world.

Heroes constantly have to put up with incredible odds. They have to sacrifice many things and rarely get the thanks they deserve. They are not appreciated as much as they should be.

If the authorities begin to demand that Tony stops operating as Iron Man, could that be something he could accept? How long can you allow yourself to get beat up by those that fail to appreciate everything you do? Should Tony say enough is enough and throw in the armor plated towel?

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Of course, being that he is a hero at heart (no pun intended), he won't give up that easily. He might be forced to give up operating the armor but Tony is a brilliant and crafty person. Public outcry can be dealt with. People constantly turn their backs on the heroes regardless of the good they've done. They'll eventually forget or move on and find another target to revolt against. The government trying to control him is another issue. Whether or not they have the right to forbid him to use his own property might be something for his lawyers to deal with.

Tony may give up being Iron Man for a time, but we all know it won't last forever. He'll come up with a way to be allowed to operate as Iron Man or else some big threat will arise that will require Iron Man to save the day. Tony just needs to straighten up his life and deal with the Mandarin's plans. Tony Stark is Iron Man and Iron Man is a hero the Marvel Universe needs.