"Anton... what have you done?"
"What any man would do in my position. Don't act so shocked, Howard. You should know better than anyone... It's all about money."
Howard Stark and Anton Vanko[src]

Anton Vanko was a Soviet scientist and Ivan Vanko's father. Upon moving to the United States of America, Vanko became partners with Howard Stark at Stark Industries where he and Stark created the first Arc Reactor. However, when Vanko sold his designs onto the black market, Stark had him deported, where Vanko spent decades drinking himself to death, leaving his son to vow his own revenge against the Stark family.


Early Life

Meeting Agent Carter

"Speaking of thieves, where'd you get this design?"
"My father, Anton Vanko."
"Never heard of him."
"My father is the reason you're alive."
Tony Stark and Ivan Vanko[src]
Vanko, Peggy, Jarvis.

Vanko helping Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis

Anton Vanko was born in the Soviet Union and grew up to become a brilliant scientist, attending the University of Moscow. By 1946, he was working for Stark Industries in a New York facility. When Peggy Carter discovered that one of Howard Stark's formulas had been weaponized, she and Edwin Jarvis took a diffused version of that weapon to Vanko. He concluded that Roxxon Corporation could be one of few candidates capable of producing the weapon. He also added that the Nitramene emitted vita radiation. [3]

In 1963 he defected from the Soviet Union to the United States of America where he began working directly with Howard Stark, CEO of Stark Industries.[4] Together, Vanko and Stark worked on developing the Arc Reactor technology under the title of 'The Unity Project'. However, they had an ideological disagreement, as Vanko wished to make a profit off the technology whereas Stark wished to use it for the benefit of mankind.[5]

Betraying Stark

Selling Military Secrets


Vanko betrays Howard Stark

"Anton Vanko was the other side of that coin. Anton saw it as a way to get rich, and when your father found out, he had him deported. When the Russians found out he couldn't deliver, they shipped his ass off to Siberia. He spent the next twenty years in a vodka-fueled rage – not quite the environment you'd want to raise a kid in."
Nick Fury to Tony Stark[src]

In 1967, it was discovered that Vanko was guilty of espionage. Howard Stark took credit for all the Arc Reactor developments and Vanko was deported back to the U.S.S.R.. Because Vanko couldn't develop the technology on his own for the Soviet Union, he was exiled to Siberia as punishment. Twenty years later, he was able to return to Moscow following Premier Gorbachev’s call for democratization in January 1987, where he raised his son Ivan Vanko.[4]

Death and Legacy


Ivan Vanko mourning his father's death

"Ivan. Vanya. That should be you."
"Don't listen to that crap."
"I'm sorry. All I can give you is my knowledge."
―Anton Vanko and Ivan Vanko[src]

Years into his exile and slow downward spiral, Vanko was bitter and claimed before his death that it should be Ivan Vanko in Tony Stark's position being adored by the media, living a luxurious lifestyle, telling Ivan to use what he had been taught. After Anton's death, Ivan began constructing the Whiplash armor and plotting his revenge against Stark.[4]


  • Master Engineer: Anton Vanko worked as one of the leading scientists of Stark Industries. Edwin Jarvis and Peggy Carter sought his help to determine the properties of the then recently weaponized Nitramene, and Vanko displayed detailed knowledge of it despite being one of Howard Stark's experimental formulas. Over the years, he worked closely with Stark, co-developing a large-scale Arc Reactor.
  • Bilingualism: Vanko speaks fluently in both Russian and English.






  • In the comics, there are two characters named Anton Vanko, who were both enemies of Iron Man. One's alter ego was the Crimson Dynamo. The other's alter ego was Whiplash. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Whiplash is Anton's son, Ivan.
    • This version of Anton Vanko is more similar to Igor Vanko, a character that was introduced prior to Iron Man 2’s release.
  • Vanko defected to the United States in 1963, the year in which Crimson Dynamo first appeared in the comics.
  • Crimson Dynamo appears in the non-canon video games Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 - The Official Game. In the former his real name is General Valentin Shatalov, while in the latter he is an unidentified Russian officer.


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