They aren’t quite there yet, though. They aren’t quite “Iron Men”, but they’re getting close. Their technology isn’t as advanced, isn’t as unique and powerful. They need something (or someone**) to organise them and rebuff them. But there is someone out there who seems to have mastered the repulsor technology in a way that Tony hasn’t. This person has harnessed what Tony created as a means of saving lives, to take them. Which leads me to the second theme of “Five Nightmares”.
This second aspect, or theme, is the power (future) of technology and its impact on today. Many of Tony Stark’s nightmares stem from the evolution of technology and his fear that he will not be spearheading it, this is the case at least, concerning his Iron Man armour. Enter: Ezekiel Stane, Iron Man 2.0.
The first page of the comic emphasises this theme. It’s technology being brought to a country that has never had things like phones, or cameras, or there are few that own them. And what happens as soon as this technology of tomorrow is brought to today? Well...
The motif between the Extremis emblem: powerful, isn’t it? The very brand that Tony has built himself on, that is built on him, is now beginning to kill people. That rhetorical question at the end, regarding dinosaurs, is also very poignant. Fraction has been quoted as saying (here) that “He’s not worried he won’t see the future coming – he’s worried it won’t be his future.” Does this make Tony the dinosaur? Well, maybe not yet – but it does show that his mindset has been caught in the 20th Century, and he hasn’t made his way into the 21st yet. In this issue we’ve heard Stark say he and Extremis are on the edge of bleeding edge, but he’s a dinosaur?
This seems a bit ... well, incorrect. It's a strange analogy to make for someone who is considered not only a futurist, but also as one of the leading minds in the Marvel Universe. This is the first time we begin to see a disconnect between the external and the internal. His viewpoints are caught in yesterday, but his tech is urging to become tomorrow. This is Tony’s technology, and now it is being used in a very 21st century way, a way that Tony had never wished to see. Looks like this will be something we’ll see further developed in the coming issues.
To close, this issue off, these two themes come together once more: nightmares and technology. Tony states that his last nightmare is that there’s someone else, and there is. His nightmares have come true and he hasn’t even noticed. Dinosaur?
*For those currently reading Invincible Iron Man, just think about what Mandarin, Stane and the Hammers are trying to do! How do they all relate to these Five Nightmares?