Clint Barton, while extraordinarily skilled in respect to his weapon of choice, is still human in the same sense that the characters he mingles with, or the readers of Hawkeye, are human. He has not had 'great power' thrust on him by accident, nature or social position.
Like the journeys to Europe of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Richard Feynman, Invincible Iron Man scribe Matt Fraction offers a meditation the encounter between democratic values and the aristoi.
Fraction's brilliant characterization makes "The Five Nightmares" an engaging character study. He exposes Tony Stark as a character not in pitched battle against his own successor, but one for whom obsolescence, inadequacy and fear of failure are baseline states, and equally powerful motivational drives.
There can be no doubt that the summer of 2008 stands as a high-water mark for superheroes. But in the wake of a superhero renaissance and the growing cultural legitimacy of the genre, the question must be posed: Has the superhero genre evolved beyond the comics medium?