Spider-Man officially brings Iron Man 3’s Harley Keener to the comics
The young Marvel Cinematic Universe inventor who helped Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 makes his comic book debut in Spider-Man’s WEB # 1.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for WEB of Spider-Man # 1 from Kevin Shinick, Alberto Alburquerque, Rachelle Rosenberg and Travis Lanham from VC, on sale now.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark’s funeral brought together his loved ones, several Avengers, and a teenage boy who seemed out of place. However, this character was later identified as Harley Keener, the teenager who helped Stark to Iron Man 3. This original Marvel Cinematic Universe character played a central role in Stark’s life in this film, but he didn’t come close to Iron Man’s comic book adventures in the years after his debut.
However, that changes with Spider-Man WEB # 1, a connection to Disneyland’s Avengers Campus attraction, which brings Harley to a distant Univercorner from the Marvel Multiverse comics.
Spider-Man WEB presents the Worldwide Engineering Brigade, a project founded and funded by Tony Stark to foster a new generation of young inventors and philanthropists. WEB consists of a young Peter Parker; Onome, a young engineer from Wakanda; the super-intelligent Moon Girl; the unbeatable Squirrel Girl; and Harley. At first glance, Keener seems to be outmatched by the young super-geniuses around him, but he’s holding on. Harley even manages to make Peter Parker insecure when he introduces himself as Iron Man’s right-hand man. It looks like Spider-Man is a little jealous of the youngster’s friendship with Stark. Keener wows the team with his “spunner”, a handheld device that stuns enemies with potato dumplings.
Harley’s Potato Projectile seems to imply that this universe shares some similarities with the MCU. When young Keener hears a noise in his garage at Iron man 3, he investigates armed with a potato rifle that he brandishes on Tony Stark. Harley shares the few supplies he has with his hero, and the two grow closer during their little time together. However, Iron Man doesn’t want to put the kid in danger, so he leaves without his new friend. Later, Harley comes home from school to find a package marked “Potato Gun Mark II”. If these events also happened in the comics, it would only make perfect sense for Harley to show off her “spinner” on Tony Stark’s WEB.
Keener is also a lot like what he does in the MCU, but of course the most glaring difference between Spider-Man WEB # 1 and the MCU is that Tony Stark still seems alive in the comics. This story doesn’t really fit into the MCU or the main Marvel Universe. It’s a tie-in to the Avengers Campus at Disneyland, which features a WEB-centric Spider-Man-themed ride Disney has confirmed that the Avengers Campus shares some history with the MCU, but exists in a universe where Thanos never broke half of humanity out of existence.
Harley Keener is the representative of a generation of MCU fans who grew up idolizing Iron Man and the Avengers both on screen and in the comics. In a way, he was at Tony Stark’s funeral to mourn on behalf of legions of fans around the world. And once again, he’s now replacing the reader armed with his potato blaster and contagious excitement.
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