How Iron Man Built Marvel’s Version of DC’s Outsiders | Popgen Tech


Since his big release in the movies, Iron Man has become one of the biggest characters in Marvel Comics. A stalwart member of the Avengers and a high-flyer in his own right, Iron Man is arguably the mascot of the Marvel Universe outside of Spider-Man and the X-Men. This wasn’t always the case, however, and at one point, he was part of a different superhero team.

Named Force Works, this team of relatively lesser-known heroes is meant to act in a more proactive manner. Ironically this made them a bit like a team from DC Comics. Sadly, despite Iron Man founding the team, Force Works quickly became a forgotten relic, and it has remained so for the team ever since.

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Force Works is Iron Man’s Alternative Avengers

The team debuted with their eponymous first issue, Force Works #1, created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. The Force Works rose from the ashes of the West Coast Avengers, with many of the members being recycled from there. These include US Agent, Scarlet Witch, a now-forgotten version of Spider-Woman, and Wonder Man. Their unofficial leader is Iron Man, who wants them to be more proactive than other superhero teams. Instead of simply fighting threats, Force Works will prevent danger from happening, using a “Chaos Computer” and Scarlet Witch’s own powers to predict future events.

Unfortunately, they never made much of a splash, probably because of how unpopular the starring characters were at the time. As mentioned, Iron Man himself wasn’t nearly the A-lister he is now, and the addition of the likes of a far-removed Spider-Woman and Wonder Man didn’t do much to move the needle. The Force Works was barely operational at least two years before the chaotic events of “The Crossing,” where it was revealed that Iron Man was under the control of the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror. The team regrouped Civil War and in Iron Man 2020 event, but for the most part, it seems the force hasn’t worked in the Marvel Universe for very long.

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Iron Man’s Force Works is Marvel’s Version of Batman’s Outsiders

While the Force Works may not have made a huge impact in the world of comics or the Marvel Universe, they do share some striking similarities with a team from DC Comics. The Outsiders are a team formed by Batman when he temporarily left the Justice League to form a superhero group that took more initiative in dealing with threats. To that end, his new team of “Outsiders” doesn’t feature familiar faces like Superman and Wonder Woman, but instead more street-level figures like Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho.

These B and C-list characters can be compared to Wonder Man, Julia Carpenter, and even Scarlet Witch at the time Force Works was established. Also, the fact that they are not familiar heavy hitters. Both teams even appeared in somewhat forgotten cartoons, with Force Works appearing in the ’90s Iron Man cartoon (which was released around the same time as the team’s comics) and the Outsiders were a part of Batman: The Brave and The Bold. One big difference, however, is that the Outsiders have had more appearances than the Force Works, both in and out of the comics.

The Outsiders are forever tied to Batman, even during the time when Nightwing led the team. The same goes for Iron Man and Force Works, but his popularity still doesn’t eclipse them. Because of how paranoid Tony Stark can be at times and the lengths he goes to to control superhumans Civil War, his top Force Works suit him well. Hopefully, a creative team will come along that can make good use of the team and their premise, making them more than just a failed ’90s expansion of the Avengers and a force to be reckoned with.


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