Peppering the analysis; Part 1/?
I’d like to begin this discussion with a preface. Pepper Potts is one of the integral character’s to Iron Man’s supporting cast. Her, Happy Hogan, Jim Rhodes, and Tony Stark himself make up a core quadruplet for a good majority of issues that we’ve had in the past years.
What we get from Matt Fraction is not the no-nonsense secretary who not only came from obscurity to impress Tony Stark so much that he signed her on, but she’s been a trusted confidant, potential love interest, and good friend through all of that. One of the things that has always frustrated me about Fraction’s run has been the push from what was once a sexually charged relationship that never happened, to a true push for a forced relationship between Tony Stark, and his girl Friday. Something that has always been a “maybe, but no” throughout the years of history between the two. They’ve danced a line, occasionally drifting close, and then further away, depending on the storyline and the situation.
Pepper’s been through a lot with Tony Stark. Through him, she met her late husband, Happy Hogan. Through Tony, she received the opportunity to become one of the most competent secretaries in the Marvel Universe. Tonight, I’ll be talking about characterization, and why this is so deeply flawed it’s practically another character entirely.
Pepper Potts, painfully, irrevocably jealous of Tony Stark. Now, there is the deep flaw that Tony just trashes Pepper in public, tells her to bring him champagne, and then goes back to flirting. (The champagne is not for him, I should note)
And Pepper Potts in a rage, tosses champagne at Tony Stark’s face. I think the most important thing here, is that she tosses the champagne in the face of an alcoholic. A recovering alcoholic who has struggled day in and day out with resisting the temptation from drinking liquor. Now, Pepper Potts has always had something of a temper. That’s not up for debate. But at a party? We’ve seen her rip into Tony’s love interest Rumiko Fujikawa for being jealous of Iron Man, we’ve seen her subtly toss a drink in the pants of someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer, but never would Pepper Potts tempt the boss that she saw destroyed by alcohol. During a period of high stress to a man she knows probably better than she knows her late husband.
Does this sound like the woman that we see? The woman who chastises a former lover for speaking bad of Tony? Spiteful and jealous, telling Tony that the women he dates are idiots. She’s been there through some of the best and the worst, Rumiko, Bethany, Whitney, and even if she wasn’t present, Maya Hansen was one of the foremost intelligent geneticists in the world. Pepper is protective of Tony Stark, yes. Terribly so. Just as Pepper is protective of Tony, he’s protective of her. There’s a mutual failure in this run. Tony being dismissive and condescending to a woman who he has always been respectful and, yes, even loved in some ways.
I’ll leave this tonight with some awful flirting. Important to note: Pepper Potts-Hogan is recently widowed. Killed because of Tony Stark, if even indirectly. But this is just a small preview for next time. I’ll be tackling that further.
Beth Cabe in Invincible Iron Man
Last night, I was talking with Robot about how I just cannot accept that the woman Matt Fraction is portraying is Bethany Cabe. I just cannot. Beth is a compassionate person. Beth is entirely self-actualized and does not feel threatened by other people or need them to validate her. This petty, spiteful, violent woman is not Bethany Cabe.
1: Because he can’t be bothered to read old issues
Almost two months since I wrote the introduction, I actually post. I’ll preface this by saying that the Extremis virus is something that is near and dear to my heart. Yes, yes, I know. However, if you’re writing from the period, it might help to read it, and understand just what it means.
So for my first foray into talking about how terrible Matt Fraction is, I wanted to do something light. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the worst parts, I promise. Something mild is the best thing to start off with when it comes to something like this, I think. What I wanted to convey here is just how much he doesn’t know about what he’s writing about. There will be many posts about how badly he characterizes Tony Stark, and pulls him mostly directly from the movies, as opposed to the forty years of comic history, but I really wanted to present these images to show just how much he doesn’t recognize the issues from the lead-up to the Civil War period.
First off, Matt. Can I call you Matt? Why the fuck wouldn’t Tony Stark, a man who is essentially plugged into what you called the Starktech dataspine not know what time it is? If you’re going to wax poetic, that’s fine, but this isn’t the character for it. Secondly, why would he need Maria Hill to set up a channel to Jim Rhodes?
So from this, what makes Mr. Fraction think that Tony can’t…you know, not only open a comm channel himself, but he could probably also do it at the same time.
Again, Tony Stark whining about not going to Houston to see the launch. The guy who can see through satellites, and the guy who has been shown piloting his suit, transmitting what he sees to SHIELD, and fighting the Avengers with the suit he’s piloting remotely at the same time; and they never show the launch on tv anymore. Except they do stream it online, Mr. Fraction.
And next time, we’ll be looking into Mr. Fraction’s take on a one Miss Pepper Potts, if I can force myself to read more than the first arc.
What’s this an introduction?
Matt Fraction. This is a name that some comic book fans adore, and that some absolutely loathe. I am one of those people. Because of this writer, I have dropped my favorite character in all of the Marvel U’s title, just because if I have to read another issue where glaring characterization issues are so apparent, I was going to probably rageface more than I was going to enjoy the book itself. I haven’t picked it up since Fraction’s Stark Resilient line, and I haven’t gone back since. For the good of Tumblr, I’m going to make this effort.
Fraction began writing Invincible Iron Man in 2008, a period in comics history where things were going a little Dark, you could say. Before that, he did a surprisingly decent run on Immortal Iron Fist, but Iron Man is where the horror began. After that, he moved on to the Mighty Thor, and was even given his own event in Fear Itself.
Over the next…I don’t know, however long I actually keep up this tumblr, I’m going to present the world with evidence as to why Matt Fraction is a terrible writer, and why his runs have been nothing but one bad characterization decision after another.
So stay tuned, because I hope you’ll enjoy learning just how much I hate Matt Fraction, and maybe you’ll learn to hate him a bit too. C: