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Back in the fall of 2020, writer Christopher Cantwell launched a new run on Marvel's Iron Man with Tony Stark doing some much-needed soul searching. Taking a back-to-basics approach to his crime fighting and his legendary armor, Stark was out to shed some of the pretense he'd gathered over years of superheroism, and to do that he found he needed a "tough-love buddy" to keep him down to Earth. Now, that tough love has become real love, and it just might mean marriage.
Marvel announced Friday that this spring's release of Iron Man #20, by Cantwell and artist Angel Unzueta, will feature the culmination of nearly two years of a romantic subplot in which Tony Stark has fallen for his new crimefighting partner, Patsy "Hellcat" Walker. That's right, Tony Stark is ready to get hitched, and in Iron Man #20 he'll ask Patsy to be his bride.
"Since Issue #1, bringing Patsy Walker/Hellcat into this story just felt right," Cantwell said. "She was the perfect kind of grounded presence in Tony Stark’s hyper-octane world that I believed could help bring more balance to his life. Patsy Walker’s best super-power in my mind has always been her ability to be human and sincere. And like Tony, she has had her share of demons in the past (some literal in her case)."
Tony and Patsy both, of course, have interesting romantic backgrounds thanks to their time in the Marvel Universe, and Patsy in particular once married no less a force than Daimon Hellstrom back in the days when she was running around with the Defenders. Since joining up with Tony Stark, she's battled a new series of threats, including a returned Korvac, had her latent psychic abilities rekindled, and even nearly died a time or two. Along the way, she and Tony fell in love. Now, she'll have to ponder whether or not she wants to try and make that love last forever.
For Tony, of course, it's all about finding an anchor point, a sense of stability in his life that Patsy's been able to give him when no one else could offer it.
“Both Patsy and Tony have gone through fundamental transformations in this story," Cantwell said. "And as the dust settles, and Tony sees Patsy as this phenomenal force in his life, he does the only thing he can think to do in order to keep her near him and connected: he proposes they be together for the rest of their lives. Of course, marriage is freighted for Patsy in ways it is for few other Marvel characters. Just one her previous relationships took her to the very depths of hell. It’s not an easy decision for her in the least.”
Iron Man #20 arrives May 30, and will be followed by a special Iron Man/Hellcat Annual issue in June. So, we've got just a few months to wait before we learn if wedding bells are in store at Marvel.