In the latest issue of Iron Man, Tony Stark must decide between saving his own life and possibly going down a dark road of addiction again. Iron Man has struggled with addiction for most of his adult life in the Marvel Comics Universe. It has ruined relationships, put lives in danger, and threatened his career. He has been tested time and time again, most of the time he doesn’t cave into cravings, but sometimes he does.
Prior to this issue Korvac, who is obsessed with gaining godlike powers, confronts Tony and the team of heroes he has assembled to stop him. After setting off an explosion to wipe out part of the team, he takes on Tony and Hellcat, seriously injuring them both. Iron Man winds up with a broken neck, but luckily for him Hellcat is quick on her feet. Even though she is hurt too, she is able to get him to the help he so gravely needs. The only reason he is still alive is because his suit is holding his broken neck in place.
Tony is then faced with a difficult choice in Iron Man #6, written by written by Christopher Cantwell and with art by Cafu. As Tony goes in and out of consciousness on an operating table, he realizes that Misty Knight is about to inject him with steroids and the opioid hydromorphone. He knows that he is an addict, and he knows what these drugs could do to him should he accept them. He also realizes that he will die without them because his blood-brain barrier has been damaged—and adds that, yes, that is as bad as it sounds. He has a split second to decide if he will allow these drugs to enter his system, or allow himself to die. “The drink… or the dream?” quickly becomes “the drink… for the dream?” and he makes the call to live, possibly jeopardizing his sobriety.
Most fans would know that Tony is too stubborn to die with a giant threat like Korvac still looming over his head. Even with his teammates urging him to bow out, he refuses to—he did just risk his sobriety in order to live to fight another day after all. Only time will tell whether Iron Man made the right choice, or the very, very wrong one. Succumbing to addiction again has the potential to put many lives in danger, not just his own. Fans have seen him go down this road before, so hopefully this time he can beat it.
This life-saving decision could very well come back to haunt Tony like so many of his past choices. He knows the risks of being an addict and allowing drugs like these to course through his veins is not a good thing. No matter the reason he chose to allow it, it is sure to mess him up, at least a little bit. Chances are he has awakened a sleeping beast and this is a battle we will see him fighting for a long time to come. Iron Man #6 is available now at your local comic shop or online.