In keeping up their addiction to using super-powered weddings as a marketing gimmick, Marvel Comics has announced that their next such attempt to boost sales will see Tony Stark enter into (an almost assuredly temporary) matrimony with the X-Men’s resident diamond-skinned psychic, Emma Frost.

Tony Stark and Emma Forst say ‘I do’ on Lucas Werneck’s connecting covers to X-men Vol

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As seen in the recent pages of each heroes’ respective books, times have once again taken a turn for the worse for both the Armored Avenger and the former White Queen.

For Tony, this bad luck has materialized in the form of a hostile takeover of his current technology-producing enterprise Stark Unlimited current X-book antagonist Kelvin “Feilong” Heng.

A human scientist who has augmented his own body in order to take back what he believes is mankind’s rightful place at the top of the planet’s evolutionary ladder, Heng has spent the last few issues of Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 both ruining Tony’s finances and using his Iron Man technology to develop a new generation of anti-mutant Sentinels.

Feilong unveils his new Stark Sentinel in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #5 “The Autobiography of Tony Stark – Conclusion” (2023), Marvel Comics. Words by Gerry Duggan, art by Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, and Joe Caramagna.

Meanwhile, as recounted in the X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 one-shot, things aren’t faring any better on Krakoa.

Between the poisoning of the medicines given to the world by the island nation, the shutting down of Krakoa’s gate technology, and the outright exile of mutants from the planet – all done courtesy of the anti-mutant group Orchis – this latest attempt at mutant sovereignty has been left hanging on by only the barest of bare threads.

The Krakoan Era begins to fall apart in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 Vol. 1 #1 (2023), Marvel Comics. Words by Gerry Duggan, art by Adam Kubert, Luciano, Vecchio, Matteo Lolli, Russell Dauterman, Javier Pina, R.B. Silva, Joshua Cassara, Kris Anka, Pepe Larraz, Rain Beredo, Ceci De La Cruz, Matthew Wilson, Erick Arciniegaand Marte Gracia.

With both Tony and Emma both facing down the end of the universe’s metaphorical barrel, next month’s X-Men Vol. 6 #26 and Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #10 will see the pair say ‘I do’ in an ostensible attempt to fight back against their current situations.

“Krakoa has fallen and for the first time in ages, the X-Men have their backs against the wall,” reads Marvel’s official synopsis of the upcoming event. “FALL OF X calls for bold new alliances and as Emma Frost and Tony Stark’s Hellfire Club partnership strengthens so will their romantic feelings! First, in X-MEN #26, the X-Men are taken aback by Tony’s shocking proposal as well as Emma’s answer of “Yes!” Then, readers are cordially invited to the wedding of Anthony Edward Stark and Emma Grace Frost in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #10. Come join the lucky couple as they exchange vows. Attire is Hellfire formal. Orchis raid to follow.”

Tony Stark pays a visit to Krakoa in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #4 “The Autobiography of Tony Stark – Chapter Four” (2023), Marvel Comics. Words by Gerry Duggan, art by Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, and Joe Caramagna.

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Teasing the upcoming nuptials to IGN, Duggan explained, “Neither seems like the marrying type. Why this works, and how this works, and how much fun this is whether their marriage works or not will need to be seen to be believed and you’ll have to buy it to find out!”

“They certainly don’t seem like they’re ready to be married to anyone,” the  let alone to each other, but life can change quickly.”

Meghan Hetrick pays homage to John Romita Sr.’s Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #21 artwork in her variant cover to Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #10 (2023), Marvel Comics.

In keeping with the event’s wedding imagery, Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #10 will also receive a set of variant covers from illustrator Meghan Hetrick.

Based on the iconic depiction of Peter Parker and Mary-Jane’s wedding featured on the cover to 1987’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual Vol. 1 #21, the variant cover will be made available “in two formats, one depicting the characters in super hero attire [above] and one featuring them in fashionable formal wear [below]”.

Meghan Hetrick pays homage to John Romita Sr.’s Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #21 artwork in her variant cover to Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #10 (2023), Marvel Comics.

As noted above, though Marvel presumably believes readers will rush to the stands to indulge in the novelty of a super hero marriage, they don’t seem to realize that both their abuse of this gimmick in recent years as well as their tendency to have these storylines ultimately amount to nothing has led readers to grow desensitized to its use.

From the politically-divided union of Black Panther and Storm, to the eventually-annulled marriage of Deadpool and Shiklah, to the whole bait-and-switch surrounding Kitty Pryde and Colossus ceremony in 2018’s X-Men: Gold Vol. 2 #30, Marvel readers have come to presume that any wedding bells rung by the publisher will eventually fade out in favor of the status quo.

A newly married Tony Stark and Emma Frost consolidate their power on Kael Ngu’s variant cover to Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #11 (2023), Marvel Comics

Further, it seems particularly insulting that Marvel would promote the wedding of Iron Man and Emma Forst by referencing Spider-Man and Mary-Jane’s marriage, as is the case with Hetrick’s variant covers.

Ever since the infamous events of 2008’s One More Day, fans have been clamoring for the publisher to retcon former EIC Joe Quesada’s career-staining storyline. Yet, in the 15 years since, Marvel has only continued to insist that Spider-fans really want the pair to be broken up, constantly teasing their reunion only to immediately snatch it away once sales begins to dip.

Most recently, this belief made itself known in Zeb Wells’ widely-panned run on Amazing Spider-Man, wherein the man who assassinated Ben Reilly chose to break the two up – and introduce a new boyfriend for Mary-Jane – right when their relationship was on an upswing following the end of his predecessor’s Nick Spencer’s run on the title.

Peter Parker and Mary-Jane are broken up yet again in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 #1 (2022), Marvel Comics. Words by Zeb Wells, art by John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna, Marcio Menyz, and Joe Caramagna.

As of writing, X-Men Vol. 6 #26 is scheduled to hit shelves September 6th, with Invincible Iron Man Vol. 5 #10 set to follow thereafter on September 27th.

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 Marvel Comics’ next gimmick wedding will see founding Avenger Tony Stark exchange vows with the X-Men’s Emma Frost.  Read More