Okay, so I love fan fic. I even love bad fic because someone tried and put time and effort into it and so I’ll read it….if it is in character. Today, being sick as a dog, I was trolling through all the new fic I could get my hands on and came across one that was really interesting and good (not listing because of what comes next) but then there’s a scene where Steve mentions Howard and Tony gets all emotional about how fabulous his father was and how he misses him and I was like ASDFGHJKL?! No!
So I scroll down to the author notes and it says how said author: despises all the Howard hate and that he was good father and he loved Tony and look here’s proof and cites the scene in IM2 with the movie clip and that everything else is just not ‘cannon’ and is ‘made up fan hate’.
How about this:
Howard was a cold, manipulative and abusive bastard. His son was just a baby in these frames. (There’s another where he actually slaps the boy but I can’t find it, I think Maru may have a copy of it).
All Howard Stark cared about was himself and his damn inventions. His son was the required heir. A means to an end. Tony himself is living proof of the emotional deprivation he grew up in. His inability to connect with others, his desperate need for attention, be it positive or negative. The man is so touch hungry it’s tragic.
As to the scene in IM2:
This is simply passive aggressive abuse from beyond the grave. In the prior scene with Fury, Tony states that his father ’never told me he loved me, never even said he liked me’. Now here’s the perfect set up for Howard to rectify this. He left the tape specifically for Tony to see and he still doesn’t tell his boy, who is now a man that he loves him. ‘My greatest creation is you’ is not love. Tony isn’t a machine, he is a living, breathing, feeling person. Howard left the plans for Tony because he couldn’t figure it out himself. If he’d had the resources he would have completed the experiment and taken the credit. And the pain at the lack of a personal message is written all over Tony’s face when the reel ends. His father still doesn’t tell him he loves him. I don’t know what hurts the most, the fact that Howard doesn’t tell him or that Tony’s face shows that deep down inside, he wasn’t expecting him to.
So no, Howard Stark wasn’t a ‘good’ father. He was a bastard who had a sweet, loving, inquisitive, brilliant and beautiful child who he ignored and scarred emotionally. And Tony, as always is left trying to pick up the pieces and smooth the jagged edges down so they will fit in his heart.
I do indeed have it. Here’s the full page with the panels you’re missing:
And I wanted to add in, about Howard’s video…not only does he not tell Tony he loves him, not only does he talk about Tony in terms of ‘legacy’ and ‘achievement’ and ‘creations’ and basically ignores the fact that Tony is a human being…but only a couple minutes earlier Tony was in that raw footage doing what kids like to do…watch what their parents are doing and poke things. (In Tony’s case the Expo model). And How did Howard react to that? He cut Tony right off, got him to put back the part of the model immediately (which Tony put down pretty delicately for a kid. Would Tony have been liable to actually break anything if he was secreting parts of the model off the table? Maybe, but I’d say unlikely. Turned them over, examined them, dissected them in his head 18 ways to Sunday? YES. But kids are pretty smart, they know for the most part when something is Important and to be careful with it. And Tony was a smart kid. Let’s go with movie canon here again. They say it right in the bio for Tony’s Apogee Award at the beginning of IM1, that Tony built a circuit board at age 4 and an engine by age 6. You can’t do that if you don’t know how to handle things gently. If you don’t know how to pay attention and work with care. In that video Tony’s at least 6, if not 8. All things considered, there shouldn’t be much of a problem letting him take a little peek at the Expo model. And Just thing about how long Tony’s probably been hiding under the Expo model, being perfectly quiet and just watching/listening before Howard catches him, because the camera crew would’ve noticed if he’d snuck in while they were already filming, the room is not that big). But no, Howard wants the piece put back down right now and then he wants Tony out of the room. Not just out of the way, out of the room. Listen to how he calls for Maria come and get Tony before some one else scoops him up and carries him off. He uses that ‘you come deal with your son’ annoyed/exasperated tone of voice. Is anyone hearing fondness there? Because I’m not. And then a few minutes later he’s going on about how this is all for Tony? Who he didn’t want to have anything to do with a few minutes ago. I don’t know about you but if I was just about to tape a big, important personal message to my kid in the future I don’t think I’d be pissed off at that kid for little more than being curious about what I was doing beforehand.
Which, to me, says that Howard isn’t speaking to Tony. Not the Tony who’s curious and inquisitive and still figuring out all the possibilities in the world like children do. Howard Stark died prematurely in a car crash. I bet he assumed he’d be around for a long while after he made this video. No, Howard Stark is speaking to the Tony that he saw in his head, the one he was going to mold and influence until he was exactly what he wanted. A perfect successor, a perfect legacy and a perfect mini-Howard clone. This is not an ‘I love and I’m proud of whoever you grew up to be’ speech. This is a ‘you did everything I said, (and I made sure of it,) and look where it got you, just like I told you’. It was a pat on the back for being a good little soldier.
And it tears Tony apart.
In conclusion: fuck you Howard. (And to the Howard Stark apologists…I will side-eye you. Very hard).
Absolutely everything Maru said.
This is why I get so aggravated when people say they don’t understand why Tony is so self centered and has no real friends.
ASDFGHJKL people! He isn’t self centered. Self protective, yes. Self centered, no.
He does all he can for the people around him. His inner circle is so small because he has trust issues and why does he have trust issues? See the bastard Father. The man Tony has become is absolutely the product of the child the father raised. Tony is an overachiever. He graduated MIT when most kids his age were worrying over who to take to the prom. His father had disgustingly high expectations for his kid and Tony, wanting, craving his father’s approval set out to attain them. Then, before he can truly prove himself as a man his parents (going movie verse here) are killed in a car wreck and he is orphaned.
Up steps Stane to fill the void of Howard and lo and behold proves to be an even bigger bastard than his biological father, at least Howard didn’t try to physically kill Tony.
Child prodigy’s need more maintenance and nurturing than others. All children need stability and color and love, so much love and Tony had none of that. That he can function at all is a testament to his own strengths and no-one else.
And yes, he is a good man. He wants so desperately to please, another side effect of verbal and physical abuse. So while he may be closed off and hard to reach he is also crying out for attention. Tony Stark is the epitome of need. He tells you to go away while inside he means please stay and love me.
Reblogging for the amazing character analysis.
I mentioned in another post how there’s something beautifully tragic about Tony Stark, and it’s all those layers that he has built around himself to protect himself from being hurt even further. Because, when not even your father acknowledges your worth, then how in the hell are you going to believe it? Despite Tony’s amazing attitude at trying to demonstrate to the world how he can take anything it dishes out, and how he doesn’t care how others see him, he cares. He doesn’t show it, but he cares. He’s just playing the parts that others expect him to play (from billionaire playboy, to eccentric genius, to even superhero) but never once does he seem to really enjoy himself. Until he’s up in the air, flying.
As many problems as I have with Iron Man 2, it gives such an insight to Tony Stark and his life that I don’t understand the “well, he’s just being selfish and narcissistic” argument that I heard when it came out. Yes, Tony Stark can be an asshole. Yes, he shut people out and never let them help.
But where, exactly, would he have learned to do so? His dad?
And ask who for help? How, without feeling like a failure for not figuring things out himself like he’s used to?
And it all boils down to Howard.
I agree wholeheartedly.
I never understood the narcissistic alluding in IM2. Where is he narcissistic other than the Expo? And let’s face it that is his job. All I see there is a man trying to protect those around him and being shut down and betrayed left and right. He tries to tell Pepper he is dying and she just says “Not everyone runs on batteries Tony.” Which is a bitch move imo. Then Rhodey, his other ‘best friend’ steals his shit. So the man shuts them out, well hell do you blame him?! He’s doing the best with what he has. He has no-one else to turn to. Breaks my heart and drives me batshit crazy that no-one, not even the woman who spends practically 24/7 with him sees how much pain he is in and tries to help him. So, once again, Tony can rely only on himself. And then, when he figures out how to save himself he puts himself in danger, again by not testing the tech and flies across the frigging country to save Pepper. After he saves her again, what does she do? Yells at him and quits. So yeah by the time Steve comes into the picture no wonder Tony comes off as self centered. His protective walls couldn’t be any higher.
(You guys type too fast, I can’t keep up~)
Tony is utterly self-protective. But definitely not self-centered. It bothers me that people pick on Tony’s lack of friends as he’s never tried to make any. Take a look again at the pages above. School must’ve been a revelation for Tony after being surrounded only by Howard, Maria, family friends (like Obadiah,) and the hired help. Suddenly he’s in a room full of other kids and you’re trying to tell me that Tony didn’t leap all over the chance to try and make friends?
But the thing is, Tony is so often his own best enemy. Here’s a kid that’s doing advanced calculus in his head when other kids are learning how to multiply fractions. Here’s a kid who’s built his own V8 combustion engine when most kids are still learning how to print the alphabet legibly. Tony’s just so far out there how is he going to possibly be able to relate to most kids his own age? And kids? Kids can be really damn cruel. Especially to the kids that are different. And doubly to the kids that are different and stone-cold brilliant. How long do you think Tony tried to make friends, having utterly no concept of the fact that the other kids brains aren’t even wired close to the way his is only to be left out or teased/bullied? How long did he try to do things the right way before he gave up and started acting out/causing trouble/playing pranks/talking back, because at least if people were laughing at him they weren’t attacking him or ignoring him. This is Tony, where any attention is good attention. And people blame him for not having friends? Seriously?
And could MIT really have been any better? Sure, he met Rhodey there, but as far as being an Air Force Lt. Col. before the age of 40? Rhodey pretty much has to be more than a little gifted himself. But what about everyone else…every other adult that had worked their ass off, slaved away on assignment after assignment just to get into somewhere like MIT and they’re getting totally blown out of the water by a teenager who isn’t even old enough to drive? I think about that and I think of the reactions being pretty well split between jealousy and people who want to use Tony, piggyback on his genius and use him to help advance themselves. I can’t exactly see many people coming over and trying to genuinely know Tony. Especially since by then Tony’s got his defense mechanism of deflection, distraction and snark down to an art form.
Combine that lack of love and attention with Tony’s need to please people…and tell me how that doesn’t pave the way for some really bad abuses of Tony’s trust? You can only get burned so many times before you stop even trying to trust new people.
And people are surprised that Tony finds it hard to make/retain friends? Really?
The fact that even after all that Tony cares about other people so much, that he tries so hard to do the right thing even when most of the world’s largely thankless, the fact that he gets up after being knocked down over, and over and over…it really is incredible. Because even through everything Tony’s kept his kindness, his sense of wonder. He hasn’t become a withered, jaded wreck inside. He’s still capable of staring up at the hologram of a new element with all the joy of a kid opening the best Christmas present ever.
So, can anyone really blame him for making people jump through hoops, for telling them to go when he desperately wants them to stay, so that he can pretend when they do leave that it hurts less?
And as far as Narcisissm goes…one summary of Narcissitic Personality Disorder (which I think is what they were implying in IM2…rather than the casual social definition for narcissism, which I agree doesn’t fit Tony at all,) I’ve found is:
NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person’s conscious awareness; such a person would, if questioned, typically deny thinking such a thing. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognised their (perceived) defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ views of them and behavior towards them. [Source]
Which sounds fairly applicable to Tony to me…
Just spend 3 months being tortured by terrorists
the man deserves a burger for god’s sake
do you ever hear people talk shit about someone you like but you’re too much of a weenie to go and confront them so you just kind of
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