Some Marvel fans have been feeling shocked and confused in the wake of Invincible Iron Man #593 coming out, though it has more to do with Spider-Man than Tony Stark. It actually has to do with Peter Parker thanks to an image in the comic that looks awfully familiar. It appears to be the moment when Spider-Man unmasked in 2006’s famous Civil War comic crossover event, declaring his allegiance to Stark’s cause for all superhero identities to be made public.
Fans no doubt remember the moment well, but in the Marvel universe it’s definitely not a moment that should be remembered. That’s because it was erased from everyone’s memories thanks to the “One More Day” storyline that saw Peter literally bargaining with the devil. With Aunt May at death’s door, the only thing that could save her was the dark power of Mephisto, but anyone who knows how these kinds of deals go knows the miracle is never free. In this case, Mephisto wanted to erase Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage from ever existing. With no other way to save Aunt May, the couple agrees, but only if Mephisto throws in that the world will also forget Peter’s identity from when he unmasked in Civil War.
Mephisto made good on the deal and erased everything he said he would, so there definitely should not be any evidence of Peter showing his face to the world. Fans wondered if the picture they were seeing in Invincible Iron Man #593 was the writers forgetting part of the continuity, or maybe signaling some kind of retcon. Fortunately, the writer behind the series, Brian Michael Bendis, took to Twitter to address the scene:
Looks like a Picture from a kick ass costume party for rich people https://t.co/Qpo7jJzQGJ
— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) October 18, 2017
So although the image does look strikingly familiar to the events from Civil War, what we see in Invincible Iron Man #593 is just two wealthy friends hanging out, and Peter letting everyone believe he is just dressing as Spider-Man for the costume party. That certainly does make a lot more sense and can put the minds of all the continuity buffs at ease.
However, many fans are still skeptical, theorizing that it could have been a genuine mistake that the comic’s team is trying to explain away after the fact. Admittedly many fans who never see Bendis’ tweet might continue to assume the picture is from Civil War, so that perception could override authorial intent either way. Regardless, fans do now have a logical in-universe explanation for how Peter could have been unmasked as Spider-Man in public while still protecting his identity.