After taking several major hits in Iron Man 2020, Tony Stark just had a major realization that should get him back in action.
Warning: The following article contains spoilers from Iron Man 2020 #4 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Pete Woods, Celeste Woods, and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
For most of Marvel history, Tony Stark has usually been the man underneath Iron Man’s armor. While he’s been an accomplished solo hero and a core member of the Avengers, Stark has always dealt with deeply human problems.
Ever since his body was reconstructed after the devastating events of Civil War II, Tony has been experiencing an identity crisis of sorts, fearing that he lost all or part of his humanity during the revitalization process. His fears were made worse when he was trapped inside the virtual world of the eScape and a rouge operating system called the Motherboard told him that there was no genetic trace of the original Tony Stark in his new body. However, Stark just learned that Motherboard’s comments weren’t entirely accurate in Iron Man 2020 #4. As this era of Iron Man enters its endgame, Stark realized that he was human after all.
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When Motherboard’s revelation was still ringing in his ears, Tony remote piloted a nanotech Iron Man armor into his own body and discovered that his cells were stamped with microscopic manufacturing labels. Understandably shaken up by this discovery, Tony announced to the world that the original Tony Stark was dead and that he was now nothing more than an A.I. construct in an artificial body.
Tony’s adoptive brother, Arno Stark, took advantage of Tony’s confusion and — alongside his business partner Sunset Bain — seized control of Stark Unlimited, acquiring all of Tony’s resources including the Iron Man name and armor. Tony gained possession of his original armor and named himself “Mark One” after the armor.
Fully embracing his new status, Mark One became a part of Iron Man 2020‘s A.I. uprising, leading the movement beside Aaron Stack, the Machine Man. This put Tony in full opposition against Arno who believed that a cataclysm was approaching and the subjugation of artificial life was the only way to prevent the destruction.
When Arno announced that he was planning to introduce a code into the world capable of quelling the free will component of Artificial Intelligence, Tony and his allies rushed to stop him. Unfortunately, it was all a trap that ended with Arno facing Mark One in a far superior armor, and Tony is beaten, tossed out of Bain Tower and presumed dead.
However, Iron Man 2020 #4 revealed that Tony’s A.I. assistant, F.R.I.D.A.Y. pulled his consciousness from his body and downloaded it to the eScape moments before his body hit the ground. Grateful to be alive, Tony still believes he is little more than a robotic construct and becomes angry when his assistant insists on calling him Tony Stark.
F.R.I.D.A.Y. assures Tony that he is the real deal and tells him that the reconstruction process didn’t change that any more than a replacement hip would. She then confronts him with several previous versions of himself that are stored in the virtual dimension, who are finally able to make him understand that he is not only the one true Iron Man, but more importantly, that he is still Tony Stark.
As the issue concludes, Tony declares that it is time to get to work, and he has his work cut out for him. In addition to figuring out his status with the robo-revolution that he’s already a part of, Stark will most likely have to create a new armor or some other piece of technology that’s capable of defeating the Godkiller armor his brother used against him. He’ll also have to come up with a plan for reacquiring his company and assets, which may prove even trickier.
Despite all of that, the odds seem like they’re in Stark’s favor, since he’s finally feeling like himself again and ready to jump back into action.
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