Warning! Spoilers ahead for Avengers Annual #1
In Marvel’s latest annual issue of Avengers, it’s become pretty apparent that Captain America and Iron Man need a new Civil War. While a third Civil War event would certainly be a hard sell after the poor reception of the second one, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark need something to be at odds about, as tension makes both of their respective characters shine. As this issue reveals, Steve and Tony have gotten too comfortable while at the same time confirming that they’re at their best when they’re opposed on an issue.
In Avengers Annual #1 from Jed McKay and Travel Foreman, Captain America and Iron Man have come together to go after the new host of the Soul Stone, tying into the Infinite Destinies event. In previous annual issue tie-ins, Captain America and Black Widow attempted to go after the new host of the Time Stone named Overdrive, while Iron Man recently faced the unknown being known as Quantum who’s now the host for the Space Stone. Likewise, Spider-Man recently faced Star, the wielder of the Reality Stone. Now, a young “synthetic person” named Ward has been chosen by the Soul Stone, becoming Multitude. However, throughout all this, Cap and Tony are much too chummy in this new issue, glossing over disagreements before they even gain traction.
While Tony initially objects to the fact that Steve told Nick Fury about the current Infinity Stone crisis (fearing that he’d just kill the hosts) he drops it only a few lines of dialogue later. Furthermore, when they meet Ward face to face, Iron Man was ready to throw down and fight, while Captain America attempted to foster a peaceful resolution. However, things eventually began to escalate and Rogers followed Stark’s lead with little issue. Likewise, Stark helps himself to the breakfast Rogers made, despite having just called it “obscene” after highlighting the more healthy shake replacement he had developed. While it would have been entertaining to see any of these disagreements be fleshed out (even the breakfast) none of their opposing viewpoints are met with any kind of lasting tension between the two heroes, which is honestly what makes their relationship and dynamic so entertaining. Case in point: when Ward uses the Soul Stone to create projections to keep the heroes busy, he creates an Iron Man to fight Cap, and a Captain America to fight Iron Man, confirming that they’re their own best rivals.
To put it simply, while Iron Man and Captain America are both great heroes, they’re very different in terms of their characterization. As such, a Steve and Tony who fundamentally disagree will always be more entertaining than when they’re on the same page. They highlight each other’s perspectives much better when they’re opposed to each other’s ideas and viewpoints, and it allows each hero’s character traits to shine through much better.
While this isn’t to say that Iron Man and Captain America shouldn’t be friends, it does feel as though they should have some sort of wedge between them on a consistent basis in order to have a truly dynamic relationship. Again, a hypothetical Civil War III would need to be a pretty fantastic pitch to get off the ground, but providing something for the two heroes to fight over feels like a necessity in Marvel Comics.
More: Iron Man Finally Explains Why He Was So Extreme in Civil War