Warning: Its about to get personal.
In the superhero world, and in our world, no one wants to watch someone pick up the pieces. Every story is set up so that it is steadily rolling to the climax, the most challenging moment. The hero faces his greatest foe, and whatever that entails… And then its over. The credits roll. The book runs out of pages. No one shows how the character reacts to all the shit that just happened.
That never used to bother me. I didn’t even notice it, until my parents passed away. Without a doubt, that was the worst moment of my, admittedly short, life. That was my challenge, the climax of my story. Except life went on. And it kept going on, even at times when I was convinced it couldn’t. My parents died when I was 21. That means, if I live as long as the average human, I will live without them longer than I lived with them.
Tony Stark has always seemed to me like a reactionary superhero. A lot of the choices he makes, he does so while influenced by a trauma or a fear or a situation out of his control. He built his first suit to escape a terrorist group who was holding him hostage and became Iron Man initially because he felt responsible for his weapons being in the hands of those same terrorists. The examples are there in every movie: forming the Avengers, building Ultron, agreeing to the Accords, his fight against Steve and Bucky.
A key part of Tony’s character is that he feels alone. This stems from his not-so-great relationship with his father and the shocking death of his parents at a young age (17, I think). That is certainly a feeling I can relate to. Your parents are the people who are supposed to love you the most, more than anyone else in the world. When they’re gone, you lose that love, and it leaves a hole that can never be filled, no matter how many people love you or how much they love you. My man Tony and I, we struggle to escape that loneliness, while, at the same time, we isolate ourselves because we know how the loss of love feels and don’t ever want to feel it again. Wow. That got sad. What I’m saying is I understand Tony simultaneously craving and fearing affection from others.