Warning: Contains spoilers for Iron Man #22!
Marvel’s Iron Man has finally found a higher power and will soon drive her crazy – and the plot twist is given out by one of the most infamous Green Lantern covers in DC history. Tony Stark is a creature of inhibitions, selfishness and a powerful desire to serve the greater good — even if it means using more and more advanced and unstable technologies. In Iron Man #22, this character trait comes to its logical conclusion, as Marvel hints that Iron Man will finally receive the legendary Ten Rings… and, like the Green Lantern before him, will turn to evil in the process.
In the current comic book continuity, there are two sets of weapons known as the “Ten Rings”: rings inspired by the 2021 MCU movie Shang Chi (owned by Shang Chi after he took them from the Jade Emperor), and the classic ten rings. Mandarin. Each ring gives the user a certain power, and although they are not as strong and do not change reality as Infinity Stones, they can still cause catastrophic damage if they are in the wrong hands. Iron Man and War Machine are hot on the heels of Source Control, an arms trading corporation that owns Ten Rings.
“Iron Man #22,” written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Angel Unzueta, ends with a preview image of “Iron Man #23,” in which Tony Stark wears all ten mandarin rings on his fingers in his hidden armor. This intentionally echoes the famous image of Hal Jordan wearing several rings of power during the Emerald Twilight event; the cover of Green Lantern #49 in 1994 depicts Jordan after he killed several Lanterns, took their rings for himself and gained even more power. The images, of course, are similar, but the circumstances are completely different.
Hal Jordan’s hometown, Coast City, is destroyed in “Emerald Twilight,” and this event eventually causes him to turn to evil in an attempt to gain more power. Having collected the Rings of Power, he calls himself Parallax and almost single-handedly destroys the entire Green Lantern Corps (with the exception of one Guardian and Kyle Rayner, who became the only Green Lantern in the second half of the 90s). Meanwhile, Iron Man is not emotionally at risk in this way, but he has just been given Compound 13, the same substance that eventually killed Captain Marvel, and the gas could affect his emotional state during the fight.
However, the image of Iron Man looking at his outstretched fingers covered in rings was almost certainly chosen by Marvel intentionally. The Green Lantern’s appeal to evil came as a shock to many DC fans, as the character had never shown such selfish inclinations before. Iron Man, however, has always had a monstrous ego that doubles as his worst villain, and the decision for him to adopt the same pose as the evil Green Lantern of the Emerald Twilight era can only mean that the Armored Avenger has difficult times ahead.