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I read compulsively, eclectically and fannishly.

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Quand un roi perd la France (Les rois maudits, #7)
Maurice Druon
George Steiner
The Captive & The Fugitive
Marcel Proust, D.J. Enright, Terence Kilmartin, C.K. Scott Moncrieff

Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man

Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man - Mark Ricketts, Tony Harris Avengers Disassembled: Thor was actually kind of a cool story because it involved Ragnarok and it had absolutely nothing to do with the main Disassembled event, which turns out to be insanely terrible.

Tony's sub-storyline begins with some jurisdictional conflicts. The Avengers have recently become a UN concern, which means that Avengers Mansion is now sovereign territory and no longer eligible for NYC services such as trash removal. This is kind of hilarious (and educational!), but makes the Avengers look like complete dumbasses for not being aware of what the UN, in fact, is before they joined it. The Avengers have also acquired a cadre of anti-UN protestors who are even less aware, being under the impression that the UN is far more a.) sinister and b.) powerful than anything in the real or Marvel universe would justify. This is realistic enough but ultimately doesn't really go anywhere as a plot point.

Meanwhile, Tony is becoming aware of the massive, obvious conflicts of interest among his civilian, superhero and political personae, in the form of a giant, leftover killer robot lurking beneath Avengers Mansion. In spite of some wacky misunderstandings involving non-F.C.C. approved signal jammers (I know the F.C.C. is always my first concern when a killer robot is planning to destroy New York!), Tony manages to subdue the thing and learns a valuable lesson about politics: namely, that they exist. God, whatever fake president named him Secretary of Defense should have been immediately impeached or declared incapable since he was clearly either treasonous or insane.

Shortly thereafter, Tony is addressing the UN when he has a freakout in which he points out that the ambassador from Latveria is totally just sitting there like a normal ambassador, as if his country were not basically an oversized evil lair. This actually happens in the main Avengers book and is never adequately explained in this one (it turns out to be because Scarlet Witch is having a hysterical hissyfit), but it predictably does not reflect well on Tony in his Avenger, Sec'y of Defense or C.E.O. of Stark Industries capacities.

Writer John Ricketts has a massive, inexplicable and creepy hate-on for Pepper, who is mocked and humiliated in basically every single panel in which she appears. She interrupts Jan and two other women whom I can't identify snarking about Tony in the ladies' room with an over-the-top defensive speech about everything Tony's done for them, after which they snigger about how she still has a thing for Tony and her shrill voice must drive her husband nuts. When Pepper narrowly avoids getting killed by an evil dude in a rogue Iron Man suit who is wiping out the entire board of Stark Industries, her rescuers are bizarrely contemptuous, telling each other not to 'encourage' her 'babbling' and accusing her of 'listing spices now' when she introduces herself. And when she realizes that she can access a fail-safe shutdown mechanism that Tony included to end the standoff between the real and fake Iron Mans, Happy—who is supposed to be her goddamn husband!—gives her this insane anti-motivational speech about how he's never seen her throw anything but gutter balls so what makes her think she's going to make a strike? WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN.

The other weirdly misogynist subplot involves Rumiko, one of Tony's exes. Their relationship, as it is presented in a series of flashbacks and reminiscing conversations, appears to have been kind of abusive in that Fifty Shades of Grey, you-two-crazy-kids-need-a-goddamn-safeword kind of way. As Rumiko describes it to her friend and/or possible personal assistant, "I humiliated him. Kissed him with alcohol on my breath. I went out of my way to tick him off, but he..." "...was whipped." "I know. He was perfect. Why did I ever leave him?" She decides to go to New York, presumably to humiliate him some more, so I suppose she was sort of asking to get promptly fridged—she gets immediately killed by fake!Iron Man, so that real!Iron Man can carry her corpse around like a mecha-pietà and angst about how it was all his fault and oh yeah she died thinking that he was the one who killed her. This is all pretty horrible, and it is a testament to how repulsive this book is that I don't even think it's the worst part.

In the end, Tony resigns as Secretary of Defense (finally!) and also claims he's going to stop being Iron Man, although if anyone actually believes that they are more naïve than a nest of newborn mice, but whatever. This is the worst comic book I have ever read. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of comics that are at least as bad, but I have not actually read them.