|For other uses, see Iron Man (disambiguation)|
|For alternate versions of Iron Man, see Iron Man's Character Hub|
Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark was a billionaire industrialist, a founding member of the Avengers, and the former CEO of Stark Industries. A brash but brilliant inventor, Stark was self-described as a genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist. With his great wealth and exceptional technical knowledge, Stark was one of the world's most powerful men following the deaths of his parents and enjoyed the playboy lifestyle for many years until he was kidnapped by the Ten Rings in Afghanistan, while demonstrating a fleet of Jericho missiles. With his life on the line, Stark created an armored suit which he used to escape his captors. Upon returning home, he utilized several more armors to use against terrorists, as well as Obadiah Stane who turned against Stark. Stark enjoyed the fame that came with his new secret identity and decided to share it with the world, publicly revealing himself as Iron Man.
Fresh off from defeating enemies all over the world, Stark found himself dying due to his own Arc Reactor poisoning his body, all while he was challenged by Ivan Vanko who attempted to destroy his legacy. After the Stark Expo Incident, Stark reluctantly agreed to serve as a consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D. where he used his position to upgrade their technology while he began a relationship with Pepper Potts. With the world yet again being threatened, Stark joined the Avengers and helped defeat the Chitauri and Loki. Due to the battle, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, leading him to create the Iron Legion to safeguard the world and help him retire.
The 2012 "Mandarin" terrorist attacks forced Stark to come out of retirement to protect his country, inadvertently putting his loved ones at risk and leaving him defenseless when his home was destroyed. Stark continued his mission, finding Aldrich Killian as the mastermind of the attacks. Eventually, Stark defeated Killian, and was prompted to destroy all of his armors with the Clean Slate Protocol after almost losing Potts. However, when the Avengers were officially demobilized due to the War on HYDRA, Stark built more armors and resumed his role as Iron Man, aiding them in the capture of Wolfgang von Strucker and acquiring Loki's Scepter.
Once the threat of HYDRA had been ended, at last, Stark, influenced by Wanda Maximoff's mind games, built Ultron with the help of Bruce Banner as a new peacekeeping A.I. to protect the world and allow the Avengers to retire. However, Ultron believed that humanity threatened the world and thus, according to his program, decided to extinguish humanity. Through the work of the Avengers, Ultron was defeated, however, not without massive civilian cost and many lives being lost during which Sokovia was elevated into the sky.
After the Ultron Offensive, Stark retired from active duty, still haunted by his role in the chaos the A.I. created. The guilt of creating Ultron and causing so much destruction and loss of life eventually convinced Stark to support the Sokovia Accords. Stark was forced to lead a manhunt for his ally Captain America when the latter began protecting the fugitive Winter Soldier, igniting the Avengers Civil War. The end result left the Avengers in complete disarray, especially after Stark learned of the Winter Soldier's role in his parents' deaths. Afterwards, Stark returned to New York to mentor and guide Spider-Man into becoming a better hero than he ever was, also becoming engaged with Potts in the process.
In 2018, when Thanos and the Black Order invaded Earth in their conquest to acquire the six Infinity Stones, Stark, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man convened to battle Thanos on Titan with the help of the Guardians of the Galaxy. When Stark was held at Thanos' mercy, Doctor Strange surrendered the Time Stone for Stark's life. After the Snap, Stark and Nebula remained the sole survivors on Titan. Stark and Nebula used the Benatar to escape Titan, but were stranded in space as the ship was damaged. They were rescued by Captain Marvel, who brought them back to Earth.
In the five years after the Snap, Stark chose to retire from being Iron Man, marrying Potts and having a daughter, Morgan. When Stark devised a method to safely travel through time and space, he rejoined the Avengers in their mission to acquire the six Infinity Stones from the past in order to resurrect those killed by the Snap, and traveled back in time to retrieve the Scepter and regain the Tesseract. During the Battle of Earth, Stark sacrificed himself to eliminate an alternate version of Thanos and his army, who traveled through time to collect their Infinity Stones, saving the universe from decimation and leaving behind a legacy as one of Earth's most revered superheroes.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 CEO of Stark Industries
- 1.3 Becoming Iron Man
- 1.3.1 Kidnapped by the Ten Rings
- 1.3.2 Building the First Armor
- 1.3.3 Escaping the Ten Rings
- 1.3.4 No More Weapons
- 1.3.5 Suit Upgrades
- 1.3.6 Outdoor Test Flight
- 1.3.7 Obadiah Stane's Betrayal
- 1.3.8 Battle of Gulmira
- 1.3.9 Next Mission
- 1.3.10 Duel of Los Angeles
- 1.3.11 I Am Iron Man
- 1.3.12 Meeting Nick Fury
- 1.4 Armored Adventures
- 1.5 Rediscovering the Element
- 1.6 Chitauri Invasion
- 1.7 Mandarin Threat
- 1.8 Aldrich Killian's War
- 1.9 Temporary Retirement
- 1.10 War on HYDRA
- 1.11 Ultron Offensive
- 1.12 Leaving the Avengers
- 1.13 Avengers Civil War
- 1.13.1 Sokovia Accords
- 1.13.2 Fighting with a Friend
- 1.13.3 Escape from the JCTC
- 1.13.4 Recruiting Peter Parker
- 1.13.5 Failed Negotiations
- 1.13.6 Clash of the Avengers
- 1.13.7 Clash Aftermath
- 1.13.8 The Raft
- 1.13.9 Helmut Zemo's Secret
- 1.13.10 Battle at the HYDRA Facility
- 1.13.11 Final Showdown
- 1.13.12 Spider-Man's Beginning
- 1.13.13 Picking Up The Pieces
- 1.14 Advising Spider-Man
- 1.15 Infinity War
- 1.15.1 Meeting Doctor Strange
- 1.15.2 Convening at the New York Sanctum
- 1.15.3 Attack on Greenwich Village
- 1.15.4 Ascent to Space
- 1.15.5 Rescue of Doctor Strange
- 1.15.6 Encountering the Guardians
- 1.15.7 Making a Plan
- 1.15.8 Battle of Titan
- 1.15.9 Last Man Standing
- 1.15.10 Thanos' Victory
- 1.15.11 Returning to Earth
- 1.16 A Normal Life
- 1.17 Time Heist
- 1.18 Legacy
- 1.19 Time Heist
- 2 Personality
- 3 Powers and Abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Tony Stark's Designs
- 6 Facilities
- 7 Relationships
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Trivia
- 10 Behind the Scenes
- 11 References
- 12 External Links
|This section requires expansion|
- "What do you remember about your dad?"
"He was cold. He was calculating. He never told me he loved me, he never even told me he liked me. So it's a bit hard for me to digest that he said the whole 'future is riding on me' thing, I don't get that. You're talking about a man whose happiest day of his life was shipping me off to boarding school."
- ―Nick Fury and Tony Stark[src]
Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark was born on Friday, May 29, 1970, in Manhattan, New York City, to Howard and Maria Stark. Stark had become good friends with Edwin Jarvis, the butler of the Stark family, who watched over him throughout all of his childhood. Stark's early life was often dominated by the absence of his father, who he would later describe as both 'cold' and 'calculating'. Growing up, Stark had issues with Howard, who never told his son that he loved, or even liked him. Since Stark was so young, Howard could not tell his son his plans for him. Howard constantly talked about his admiration for Captain America, which caused Stark to develop hatred and resentment towards the super soldier. However, Stark had a loving relationship with his mother, who was more gentle and nurturing; he enjoyed hearing Maria play the piano.
At a young age, Stark quickly stole the spotlight with his brilliant and unique mind. When he was four years old, he designed his first circuit board. When he was almost seven, he built a V8 motorbike engine. One thing about Stark's childhood that annoyed him was the nanny who cared for him until he was fourteen. Stark attended Phillips Academy in Andover from 1977 to 1984. While, he was in high school, Stark hacked into the Pentagon on a dare by some friends. He was admitted early into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met James Rhodes and they became lifelong best friends. At sixteen, Stark won the 4th Annual MIT Robot Design Award. When he was seventeen, Stark graduated summa cum laude from MIT.
Losing his Parents
In December 1991, when Stark was just twenty-one years old, Howard and Maria prepared to go away to the Bahamas for a few days over the Christmas holiday and leave him home alone, although his father remained skeptical about how responsible Stark would be while they were gone. Sadly, the couple was assassinated by the Winter Soldier in Long Island and HYDRA covered up the incident to be a car crash, leaving Stark in grief and struggling to process this tragedy. For a few months, Obadiah Stane took over as interim CEO of Stark Industries. Sometime later, Stark's long-serving family butler, Edwin Jarvis, also died.
CEO of Stark Industries
Rebuilding the Company
A few months later, still at the age of twenty-one, Stark inherited Stark Industries and took over from Obadiah Stane, becoming the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company in history. Having built himself a custom mansion, Stark created an A.I. system that helped out in the house. He named the system "Just a Rather Very Intelligent System," shortened J.A.R.V.I.S., in tribute to Edwin Jarvis, whom Stark had often credited for helping to raise him.
Eventually, James Rhodes joined the United States Air Force and became the liaison between Stark Industries and the United States Armed Forces, successfully earning Stark billions of dollars with military contracts. Under Stark's leadership with the aid of Stane, Stark Industries quickly thrived and became one of the most advanced companies in the world, creating new forms of weapons technology that seemed highly futuristic to most looking on at the weapons.
- "A famous man once said, 'we create our own demons'. Who said that? What does it even mean? It doesn't matter; I said it because he said it, so now he was famous and then basically getting said by two well-known guys."
- ―Tony Stark[src]
On New Year's Eve in 1999, Stark, with his scientist paramour Maya Hansen, attended a science conference in Bern, Switzerland. There, Stark got so drunk he could barely give his speech on integrated circuits and rejoined the party as soon as possible. While celebrating, he met a scientist named Ho Yinsen who introduced Stark to Doctor Wu, although he swiftly dismissed them both.
While moving through the hotel with his bodyguard Happy Hogan, Hansen, and a group of female attendees, Stark then arrogantly avoided a gifted but crippled scientist, Aldrich Killian, who wanted his financial backing for a scientific think tank, Advanced Idea Mechanics. Once they were alone in an elevator together, Stark then purposely told the excited Killian to meet him on the rooftop of the building to discuss him working with Stark Industries with the intention of never turning up, wanting to continue spending time with Hansen.
Back in Hansen's hotel room, Stark looked at her new research into a project known as Extremis, which had the potential to regrow human limbs if she could get enough funding. Stark was amazed by the concept, although Hogan was less impressed and played with a nearby plant despite being told not to. Stark and Hansen then went to her bedroom where they continued flirting with each other before then leaning towards one another for a passionate kiss.
However, Hogan inadvertently caused a small explosion by breaking a plant stem, causing a brief moment of panic. Stark sent Hogan away and then slept with Hansen, leaving Killian freezing and humiliated on the rooftop. Stark was unaware of Killian's suffering and woke up the next morning while Hansen was working. He completed her formula for her to fix the combustible glitch in Extremis, before discreetly walking out and returning home, leaving Hansen behind.
Testing Weapons in Arizona
On January 30, 2009, Stark and James Rhodes went to a weapons demonstration at the Yuma Proving Ground, where Stark showed off his product’s accelerated wave explosion capability or AWE. Pepper Potts then gave the weapon's specifics to the generals while Stark and Rhodes went to a nightclub. Stark enjoyed the company of two girls, Celeste and Eloise, while Rhodes tried to convince him not to go to Afghanistan for the demonstration of Jericho. While dancing, Stark was attacked by a man whose girlfriend he had previously seduced, but Rhodes was able to defeat the attacker. Stark declared that he would be alright in Afghanistan thanks to his friend having his back. Stark, Rhodes and the girls then went to his mansion in order to continue their party.
Final Day of Freedom
- "Well Miss Brown, it's an imperfect world but it's the only one we've got. I guarantee the day weapons are no longer needed to keep the peace, I'll start making bricks and beams for baby hospitals."
"You rehearse that much?"
"Every night in front of the mirror before bed time."
"I can see that."
- ―Tony Stark and Christine Everhart[src]
After a presentation of Stark's successful past, James Rhodes was given the honor of presenting the Apogee Award to him at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. After Obadiah Stane gave Rhodes a signal saying that Stark was not there to receive it, he accepted the award in Stark's honor. Shortly after the award ceremony, Rhodes brought Stark the award while he was gambling in the casino inside of Caesars Palace. Rhodes got angry at him for not being present. Stark arrogantly accepted the award, but then handed it off to a man masquerading as Julius Caesar.
Right when Stark was about to leave the hotel with his entourage, Christine Everhart ran up and tried to get an interview with him for Vanity Fair Magazine. Having been told by Happy Hogan that Everhart was attractive, Stark agreed to her interview. He deflected her questions on the ethics of Stark Industries' weapons manufacturing with some swift quips. Upon being morally questioned, Stark defended his actions by bringing up his father's achievements in World War II and how the company's deals with the military funded much of its scientific breakthroughs. He then turned to seducing Everhart and the two ended up at his mansion, where they slept together.
Early in the morning, Stark left Everhart in his bed to be greeted by J.A.R.V.I.S. and escorted home while he began working on one of his cars. Stark's assistant, Pepper Potts, later arrived in the workshop and reminded him about his trip to Afghanistan. Stark remained complacent, unfazed about being late as it was the Stark Industries Private Jet and therefore would wait for him. Potts then discussed matters which required his attention; a Jackson Pollock he bid on, the MIT commencement speech he was scheduled to give, and a form he needed to sign. When Stark complained about being rushed out, Potts revealed it was her birthday and she had already used his money to buy a present for herself from him, much to Stark's amusement.
Finishing his coffee, Stark then finally left his mansion and drove to the Stark Industries Aviation Division followed by his bodyguard Happy Hogan, who struggled to keep up with his boss who drove exceptionally fast. He got to the plane three hours late and found Colonel James Rhodes was still there waiting for him to finally turn up, incredibly annoyed to have been left waiting for so long, although Stark was not bothered at all. He then got onto the plane and sat down along with Rhodes who tried to discuss business between Stark Industries and the United States Armed Forces while Stark all wanted to do just drink and then relax, much to Rhodes' continued great annoyance.
Despite wanting to discuss his work, Stark managed to convince Rhodes to have a drink with him and before long, he and Rhodes had gotten completely drunk and held a small party on the plane. While Rhodes reminisced on his time in the United States Air Force, Stark completely ignored his friend and focused his attention on the air hostesses, who had begun undressing and dancing around a pole in the middle of the plane for both of their entertainment.
Presenting the Jericho
- "They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee you the bad guys won't even want to come out of their caves. For your consideration, the Jericho."
- ―Tony Stark to United States Armed Forces[src]
Touching down in Afghanistan, Stark was greeted by members of the military before he presented Stark Industries' newest weapon, the Jericho missile, to the military spectators and demonstrated its capability. Giving a speech, Stark explained that the missile was so powerful that it would only be needed to be fired once to defeat the enemy, noting that was how his father, Howard Stark, had worked and it was a successful method for all of America. The missile was fired and Stark received a round of applause from everyone.
After the successful presentation, Stark had a drink, noting that the whiskey came with every order of the Jericho missile. While all of the various members of the United States Armed Forces celebrated the new deal, Obadiah Stane called Stark to ask how it had gone, with Stark explaining that they would be getting an early Christmas. Stark got into a convoy vehicle to leave, sending James Rhodes to another Humvee to then go and return to their military base.
As they drove down the road towards the military base, Stark sat with his whiskey as three soldiers sat with him in awkward silence and attempted to make small talk. Stark teased them, noting that he would have never guessed that the driver was a woman as he was asked all about sleeping with various supermodels before he was asked to take a selfie. Posing for the picture, Stark muttered about loving peace while jokingly asking Jimmy not to make gang signs.
Becoming Iron Man
As Stark's convoy drove through Afghanistan to return to the United States Armed Forces base, they were suddenly attacked by insurgents who blew up the vehicle in front, trapping them. Stark watched in utter horror as the soldiers stepped out only to be gunned down right in front of his own eyes, leaving his ears ringing from the many explosions. While soldiers were dying around him, Stark rushed outside and attempted to find some cover and call for help.
While Stark was using his phone in his attempt to contact someone for assistance, one of Stark Industries' own missiles suddenly landed right by him, Stark saw this and desperately attempted to get away, however, he was too slow and the bomb exploded right beside him. The resulting blast caused Stark to be thrown backward and lose consciousness. The explosion embedded several pieces of shrapnel into his chest, several fragments dangerously close to his heart.
While falling in and out of consciousness, Stark felt incredible pain as an operation was performed on his chest in an attempt to remove the pieces of shrapnel and save his life. Eventually, Stark dazed away to find himself in front of a camera as some various terrorists of the Ten Rings were now reading out a ransom note to an unknown viewer while Stark could only look on in dismay with various guns aimed directly at him. The shock of seeing this made Stark lose consciousness again.
He woke up sometime later to find Ho Yinsen in his cell in a cave with him and an electromagnet attached to his chest. Hooked up to a car battery, Yinsen explained that the electromagnet was keeping the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. Yinsen went on to explain how they had once met in Bern during the 1999 although Stark had been too drunk to remember. Just as Stark questioned where they were, someone banged on the door from the other side.
As Yinsen ordered Stark to get onto his feet, they were greeted by Abu Bakaar, who had Yinsen translate as he welcomed Stark as the greatest mass murderer in the entire history of the United States of America. Bakaar explained that he now wanted Stark to rebuild the Jericho missile for him, however, Stark simply refused to help them. As a direct result of refusing to help the Ten Rings, Bakaar had Stark tortured by waterboarding him repeatedly.
Stark was then taken outside of the cave where Bakaar showed him how the Ten Rings had an incredible supply of his Stark Industries weapons, including guns and missiles which were being used against the United States Armed Forces, which clearly horrified Stark. As Bakaar continued his earlier conversation, he told Stark that they had all the materials needed for him to build a Jericho missile, promising that if he began immediately then once he was done, he would be returned home. Stark agreed to the job, although he noted to Yinsen that Bakaar would never actually allow him to get away, with Yinsen confirming that this was true while Bakaar smile at them.
While Stark sat by the fire and considered his new and terrible situation, Yinsen joined him and explained that what he had seen out there, with the Ten Rings holding his weapons, was the legacy of Tony Stark. When Yinsen called on him to do something, Stark simply questioned what the point was if he was likely going to be dead within a week regardless of anything, so Yinsen told him that this only meant it was an important week for him.
Building the First Armor
Knowing their captors would never keep up their end of the deal, Stark began the work asked from him with Ho Yinsen, however, he had instead had begun to make a plan to escape the Ten Rings Base. Stark recruited Abu Bakaar to bring in the supplies he needed into their cave, using Yinsen as his translator while he began breaking all of the various weapons apart.
In order to improve Stark's condition, he and Yinsen then created a miniature Arc Reactor, a smaller version of the same power source previously invented by his father, Howard Stark, and Anton Vanko. Stark concentrated on his own technical work, all while Yinsen continued to tell Stark everything he knew of the Ten Rings and what their plans were for them.
Having successfully built the Arc Reactor, Stark told Yinsen that he would not be using it to power his heart, but to power something larger for a brief time. With that Stark showed Yinsen his plans, hidden with multiple blueprints, to build a suit of armor which he would soon be using to finally break them out of the cave and escape the Ten Rings' base. Yinsen was both impressed and inspired by Stark's plan and then assisted him in installing the Arc Reactor inside his chest to supply energy to the electromagnet protecting his heart.
During their downtime, Stark and Yinsen played board games to keep themselves entertained. During one of their games, Stark asked Yinsen where he was from, as Yinsen explained he was from a small town called Gulmira where he had a family who he intended to see once he was free from the base. When Yinsen then asked the same question, Stark admitted that he had no family waiting for him, with Yinsen noting he had everything but yet still nothing.
Stark and Yinsen then returned to their work, pulling apart pieces of the various Stark Industries weapons that were supplied to them and tearing them apart. They then fused the pieces together and turned them into plates ready to be added to the armor once that was completed. However, the pair ensured that their work was still kept random enough that the Ten Rings would be unable to figure out their deception until it was at last too late for them.
Their work was one day interrupted by Raza, the leader of this Ten Rings group who told Stark to relax before admiring his Arc Reactor. Raza compared Stark's work to that of Genghis Khan who had almost conquered the world. Believing they were lying to him, Raza had Yinsen held down and threatened to put a red-hot coal in his mouth until Stark told him to stop. Raza agreed and then ordered Stark to finally complete the Jericho missile by the very next day.
Fearing for their lives if they did not get out as soon as possible, together, Stark and Yinsen secretly began building the final stages of the armored suit to help them escape, with Stark focusing on the body of the armor while Yinsen wired up the final pieces of the mechanics. Fusing together the various large parts of steel to fit his own body, Stark then fitting the armor with various missiles and flame throwers, preparing himself for every eventuality as he knew Raza and the Ten Rings would put all their strength into stopping their escape. Once it was almost complete, Stark placed the still steaming Iron Man helmet onto Yinsen's desk and they prepared to finally put their upcoming escape plan into action.
Escaping the Ten Rings
Soon, the pair enacted their escape plan the Ten Rings Base with Stark being slowly fitted into the armored suit while the power from the new Arc Reactor was being downloaded into the suit. However, the booby-trapped door the pair had rigged with an explosive was set off, killing all the men who had come to check on their progress. To his horror, Ho Yinsen realized that they now did not have enough time to power the suit before the Ten Rings soldiers would arrive and kill them. With no other choice, Yinsen took a gun and held back the terrorists, while Stark's suit still continued to power up.
Once the suit had power, Stark waited in the shadows as Ten Rings terrorists arrived in the room and searched for them, at which point he revealed himself and used all of his new incredible strength to punch them across the room, with the armor being unaffected by their bullets. Stark began making his way through the cave, killing any Ten Rings terrorist he came across by striking them with his armor. When Stark accidentally trapped his metal arm in a rock-strewn wall, a terrorist attempted to kill him by shooting him point-blank in the head, only for Stark's helmet to deflect the bullet and kill the terrorist instead, giving Stark time to free himself and continue forward on his escape mission.
Coming around a corner near the exit, Stark was mortified to find Yinsen lying mortally wounded having been shot multiple times during the escape attempt. However, Yinsen was just able to warn Stark before Raza fired a rocket launcher at his former hostage. Stark managed to dodge the shot and returned fire, shooting a missile at the Ten Rings leader which caused him to be badly burnt and trapped underneath the heavy falling rubble.
Stark rushed to Yinsen's side and urged him to get back on his feet so he could go to Gulmira to be reunited with his family. However, Yinsen revealed his family was already dead and he would see them at last in the afterlife. Forced to accept the inevitable, Stark thanked Yinsen for everything he had done for him in saving his life, both physically and morally. With his last words, Yinsen reassured Stark that it would be alright to leave him behind and urged him not to waste his life.
Angered by Yinsen's death, Stark stepped outside to confront the rest of the terrorists who were waiting for him; the suit protected him from the onslaught of bullets, and he then used the suit's flamethrowers to kill several terrorists, and destroy their stockpile of Stark Industries weapons which he despised for being stolen from him to be used against the United States Armed Forces, causing several massive fireball explosions to erupt all around him.
Due to the massive amount of bullets being fired at him, the armored suit was eventually badly damaged by the gunfire, forcing Stark to escape using the jetpacks while the entire base erupted in a massive fireball. Stark soured above the blast, though his suit began to fall apart and was finally destroyed as he crashed in the desert, although it still saved Stark from the impact. With no other need for it, Stark left the suit's remains in the desert.
Stark began making his way through the desert, using his jacket to protect himself from the intense heat until finally, a United States Air Force helicopter flew overhead. Stark yelled out for help and collapsed to his knees, wearily making a peace symbol in the air. James Rhodes then rushed out of the helicopter with the military and the two friends embraced each other. Rhodes urged Stark to ride with him next time before taking him to safety. Upon being picked up by the Air Force, Stark was then finally returned to the United States of America at long last.
No More Weapons
Having been rescued, Stark was brought back to the United States of America by the army where he was walked onto a military airport by James Rhodes. To Stark's disgust, there was a stretcher waiting to take him to the hospital, which he rejected. Stark then met with Pepper Potts, who he noted had been crying, teasing her as he claimed she was crying for her long lost boss, while she claimed it was simply because she was glad not to have to find a new job.
Stark then sat in Happy Hogan's car with Potts who insisted that he go straight to the hospital to check himself over the wake of his kidnapping. However, Stark once again refused to get any medical treatment and instead asked to first be given a burger, then called a press meeting for Stark Industries. Potts argued that this was a very bad idea in the wake of his traumatic ordeal, but Stark still remained insistent, noting that he must get his cheeseburger first.
Upon arriving at Stark Industries Headquarters, Stark was then enthusiastically greeted by Obadiah Stane before making his way inside. During the press meeting, Stark finished his burger and compared his experiences to how he never said goodbye to his father, Howard Stark. Stark finally declared that his company would now, for the foreseeable future, no longer manufacture military weapons, which Stane tried to slow down to the best of his own abilities.
As their companies' stock market began to plummet, Stark had a meeting with Stane beside the giant Arc Reactor. Stane advised him to reconsider the decision as he feared it would ruin the company. Stark insisted that they should take another look at the Arc Reactor technology based on his work with Ho Yinsen, proving this theory by showing Stane the Arc Reactor in his chest that was now keeping him alive. Although Stane insisted that the Arc Reactor was designed by Howard and Anton Vanko as a publicity stunt, he eventually agreed to help Stark provided he inform Stane of his next intentions before calling for sudden, unexpected press conferences.
While back inside his Malibu mansion, Stark called upon the help of Potts to get rid of the expired Arc Reactor in his chest, as Dum-E and U were unable to assist him. Although Potts was initially skeptical about the idea, she helped him at removing the Arc Reactor, although she accidentally put him through cardiac arrest briefly. Once they were finished, Stark told Potts he only had her to help and told her to bin the Reactor as he no longer had any more use for it.
Stark went to meet with Rhodes who was giving a speech to new members of the United States Air Force. Stark interrupted the talk and teased his friend who then ordered the men to leave them in peace. When Rhodes questioned what Stark was doing there, he was told that Stark was working on a big new project, which seemed to delight him until Stark revealed it was not military. Rhodes then recommended that Stark get his mind straight instead.
In the months that followed, Stark retreated from public view and spent much of his time in his mansion, focusing on improving the design of his new armored suit, refining its size, movement, and flight capability far beyond the first design. Stark was aided in building the new suit by Dum-E and U who he had constantly mocked and insulted.
Recalling how the first armor had almost no flight control and had crashed upon escaping the Ten Rings Base, Stark decided to create a more controlled flight capability for his suit. He arranged a test with U filming and Dum-E ready with the fire extinguisher in case anything went wrong. Stark proceeded with the test, although Stark was only on five to ten percent power, he quickly discovered it was vastly more powerful than he expected and he was launched straight up and painfully crashed into the ceiling, prompting Dum-E to spray Stark with the fire extinguisher upon him landing on the ground, thinking he caught fire.
Making some redesigns to the new armor, Stark developed new stabilizers that would attach to his hands and give him a new level of control while in the air. While testing out the new designs, Stark was visited by Pepper Potts who mistakenly believed Stark was designing new weapons for Stark Industries which he then denied, claiming that this design was not a weapon but it was completely harmless. However, Stark had once again underestimated the power of the design and a single blast from the stabilizer sent him flying backward, much to Potts' horror. Shocked by this, Stark noted he was not expecting that and began making adjustments.
Stepping upstairs, Stark found Obadiah Stane had joined Potts for pizza having returned from a meeting with Stark Industries' board of directors. Stane informed Stark that the board had decided to block Stark out of the company in the wake of his kidnapping, believing he was now suffering from PTSD. Stark argued the decision but was told it was final, with Stane then requesting to take a look at the Arc Reactor technology, which Stark refused to do.
Getting back to work, Stark had the second test of his new incomplete Mark II armor, with Dum-E and U assisting him once again while J.A.R.V.I.S. watched. Using a lot less power than his first test, Stark hovered around his basement, struggling to maintain any control and almost damaging some of his most expensive cars. Eventually, Stark ended the test and landed, ordering Dum-E not to use the fire extinguisher on him before proudly declaring that he could now fly.
Outdoor Test Flight
Stark eventually perfected the flight power after much trial and error, taking the silver Mark II Armor for its first test flight as Stark put on the armor for the first time with great pride and excitement. Despite J.A.R.V.I.S.' warnings that there had not been enough tests to be safe, Stark insisted upon being allowed to fly outside and fully test its true capabilities.
Stark cheered in utter delight as he soared high across the sky over California and shouted out in gratification at his success, using the mask's system to zoom into the city where a young boy looked on in amazement upon seeing Stark. However, when he pushed the suit to see how high he could fly in an attempt to beat the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird's record, he learned the suit would freeze at such a high altitude, which disabled its power. Stark fell from the sky and was just able to restart the suit moments before he would have hit the ground, with Stark delighting at avoiding such a near miss.
Having gained all the information about the suit's capabilities that he needed, Stark flew back to his mansion, where he then prepared to analyze the data to use in the next design. Stark hovered over the entrance of the mansion and prepared to land softly on the ground; however, he did not account for the suit's extra weight and promptly fell through the ceiling, destroying his piano and sports car. Upon crash landing, Dum-E once again sprayed Stark with the fire extinguisher, believing him to have caught fire upon the impact while Stark leaned his head back in both pain and frustration.
Exploring his lap, Stark soon found that Pepper Potts had left a gift for him on his desk. Opening the box, Stark found his original Arc Reactor had been framed with a message saying it proved he had a heart. Some time afterward, Stark detected someone trying to hack into his own home computer system, tracing the signal to a corporation satellite. Believing it to be business espionage, Stark then took the skies to successfully destroy the satellite.
Obadiah Stane's Betrayal
While giving J.A.R.V.I.S. his plans to improve the Mark III Armor in order to fix the icing problems and improve the flight controls, Stark noticed a news report in which Zorianna Kit was reporting on a new charity event at the Walt Disney Concert Hall which Stark was now supposedly hosting. Stark questioned J.A.R.V.I.S. if he had been invited to the event to which J.A.R.V.I.S. then confirmed he had not, so Stark left his A.I. to complete the Mark III while he got himself ready to attend.
During his first public appearance since his return back to the United States of America, Stark arrived at his own party to be greeted by the press, having an attractive woman trying to speak to him who Stark quickly dismissed as he did not remember her before complimenting the Watcher Informant who he had mistaken for Hugh Hefner. Stark had soon found Obadiah Stane talking to the press as Stane expressed his surprise to see that Stark had arrived, advising him not to draw too much unwanted attention to himself as Stane was still trying to get the board of directors on their side. Stark promised to do so as he stepped inside the building, but Stane was unconvinced.
Once inside, Stark met Phil Coulson, who introduced himself as an Agent of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, with Stark noting that the name of the organization was far too long while Coulson noted that they were now planning on shortening it. The pair soon arranged to have a meeting to discuss all the events of his kidnapping, but Stark was still not paying very much attention to him and told him to arrange it through his own team.
Stark, however, was too distracted by seeing Pepper Potts, who he saw in the center of the room wearing a blue dress. Having said goodbye to Coulson, Stark went up to Potts and complimented her on her dress, which she noted she had bought as a present from Stark using his money. Despite Potts' protests, Stark took her onto the dance floor and danced with her, as Potts worried about being seen dancing with her boss. They joked about Stark firing her to make it less uncomfortable, but Potts noted that Stark wouldn't be able to survive without her assistance, questioning if he knew his own social security number which admitted he did not.
Stepping outside, Potts confronted Stark about pushing her to dance with her while in front of all her coworkers due to Stark's reputation with women and fearing that her intentions with the dance would be misinterpreted by any who had watched them while Stark continued to argue that it was not really a big deal. As they spoke, the pair then almost kissed one another before Stark decided to go and get them both a drink, with Potts requesting a heavy drink.
While ordering all the drinks for himself and Potts, Stark was then accosted by Christine Everhart, whose name he briefly forgot despite them having slept together. Everhart expressed her disgust at Stark for claiming to halt the weapons development only to sell weapons to the Ten Rings. When Stark revealed he did not approve any shipments, Everhart informed him that his company did.
Disgusted by this, Stark confronted Obadiah Stane and demanded to know if he was making deals with Raza as well as the United States Armed Forces. Stane refused to answer the question; however, he called Stark naïve for not considering that this sort of thing could possibly be happening. Stane also revealed that he was the one to shut Stark out of the board while he recovered. Stane then left the party, leaving Stark in a state of utter shock and horror.
Faced with the realization of what his company had done behind his back and Obadiah Stane's part in the deception, Stark went back into his workshop and continued building his armors, while watching a FBX news report on how Raza and his Ten Rings soldiers were using Stark's own weapons to attack innocent people. Angered by what he was seeing, Stark rose from his seat and used his flight stabilizers to smash the glass doors, realizing they could be used as weapons.
Seeking to do something good with the technology he had created, Stark weaponized his Mark III Armor and flew to Afghanistan. Knowing where Raza's men were attacking, Stark headed for Gulmira, the home village of Ho Yinsen. Upon arriving, Stark discovered innocent women and children were being dragged out of their own homes to become slaves for the Ten Rings while the men were being lined up to be executed right in front of their own horrified children.
Stark attacked and easily subdued all of the soldiers, using his advanced weapons systems to kill multiple terrorists with single strikes and saving the lives of innocent people. Having found his former captor, Abu Bakaar, Stark ripped him through a wall and left him for the villagers to gain their own revenge. While Bakaar was being punished, Stark focused his efforts on destroying the Ten Rings entire stockpiles of Stark Industries weapons.
During the battle, Stark was shot out of the sky by one of the Ten Rings' tanks, so Stark responded by shooting his own missile and destroying the tank with ease before he then targeted and destroyed all the Jericho missiles the Ten Rings had. The prolonged battle and massive explosions quickly drew the attention of the United States Air Force and his own friend and company military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes who investigated the true cause.
Two F-22 Raptors were ordered by Rhodes to take out the unknown target, with Stark soon finding them directly behind him and attempting to lock on with their weapons, forcing Stark to use his new armor's upgraded flight systems to evade the attacks. As the jets continued targeting him, Stark found they had locked on with a missile so used flairs to destroy the missile before it could hit him, being blown forward by the force of the explosion.
Having managed to use his superior maneuvering systems to hide underneath of the jets itself without being seen, Stark called Rhodes and revealed his true identity to him in an attempt to have the attack called off, with Rhodes being horrified that he had sent some of his own equipment into an active war zone without informing him. While Rhodes tried to stop the attack, Major Allen, however, order the pilots to take the shot when they could get clear view of him.
However, while trying to evade the attack, one of the Raptors lost its left wing when it accidentally collided with Stark during the chaos of the battle. The pilot ejected shortly afterwards, but his parachute jammed. Without hesitation, Stark dived down to help the pilot release his parachute before escaping. While heading back towards the United States of America, Stark spoke with Rhodes about what excuse he could then use to explain what had happened.
Once back at his mansion, Stark was then helped out of his armor by both Dum-E and U, finding the experience fairly painful as they struggled to find a way to get him back out. During this, Stark was soon discovered by Pepper Potts who had just walked into his workshop to find him still half in his armor. Stark joked that it was still not actually the worst thing that she had ever caught him doing while Potts was horrified to see bullet holes in the armor.
- "They've been dealing under the table. I'm gonna stop them. I'm gonna find my weapons and destroy them."
"Tony... you know that I would help you with anything, but I can not help you if you're gonna start all of this again."
"There is nothing except this. There's no art openings, there's no benefit, there's nothing to sign. There's the next mission."
- ―Tony Stark and Pepper Potts[src]
With the mission to defeat the Ten Rings a success, Stark went back to work in tweaking the Mark III Armor in improving its performance. He was soon joined by Pepper Potts whom he requested go into his office in Stark Industries Headquarters to hack into the database in order to find out where his weapons were being sold to the Ten Rings so he could go in using his armor and destroy them. Potts, however, refused to help him on his mission as she feared that going into these active war-zones would result in him being killed, but Stark refused to listen.
Stark noted that for years Potts had stood by his side when he and Stark Industries had been creating the weapons and now, she was planning on leaving once he finally began doing the right thing and protecting the people he had endangered like Ho Yinsen. Stark noted that since his kidnapping he had finally learned what he was meant to do with his life. Hearing how sincere Stark was about this mission, Potts took the hard-drive and agreed to help him.
While inside his mansion, Stark attempted to answer a call from Potts when he found himself unable to move. To his horror, he found Obadiah Stane looking down on him while using a Sonic Taser. Stane confessed that he had arranged Stark's kidnapping while he ripped out the Arc Reactor from Stark's chest, causing him to go into cardiac arrest. Stane mocked Stark by comparing him to his father while promising to kill Potts before walking away.
Having regained some control of his body, Stark desperately tried to make it to his workshop to regain his original Mark I Arc Reactor to save his life. However, Stark collapsed inches away from it and was unable to move and minutes from death. But to save his life, Stark was aided by Dum-E and U who had managed to hand Stark the Arc Reactor just in time. Stark was then found by James Rhodes who he explained the situation to while being helped back up.
Having been told Potts had recruited Phil Coulson and an entire team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to arrest Stane, Stark warned it would not be enough as Stane had his own armored suit. To combat this, Stark put his suit on and prepared to battle Stane. While Rhodes admired the armor which he called the coolest thing he had ever seen, Stark told him to keep the skies clear from the United States Armed Forces while he then flew out of his mansion.
Stark flew straight to the Stark Industries Headquarters where he discovered Obadiah Stane was attempting to execute Pepper Potts, so he charged down and knocked Stane aside, crashing into the motorway and then through a Roxxon Corporation lorry. Stane responded by picking up a minivan holding a family and attempting to throw it at Stark, who put all his suit's power into the Arc Reactor to knock Stane back. Having just caught the minivan and put it down, Stark was briefly run over by the family who were terrified by the experience.
As Stark recovered, Stane struck again, hitting him with a passing motorcycle and smashing him into a nearby bus. While he was striking him, Stane still continued to mock Stark by claiming that he had built Stark Industries up from nothing back when Howard Stark had been killed. Stane then fired a missile at the bus, as Stark was consumed inside the fireball but was still protected by his suit, despite being launched high into the air.
While Stark hovered in the air, Stane complimented him on his upgrades before noting that his armor had upgrades of its own before flying into the air to then chase Stark down. As they considered what to do, J.A.R.V.I.S. had warned that his Mark III Armor would not survive much longer while Stark decided to fly straight upwards, believing that Stane had not done enough tests on his own armor in order to solve all of its own design issues.
As they soared higher and higher above Los Angeles, Stark soon found that the superior power of Stane's suit allowed him to quickly catch up with him. However, once Stane had managed to grab hold of Stark, claiming that his own armor was more advanced in every way, Stark revealed to him that he had not solved the icing issue his Mark II Armor had encountered, causing Stane's suit to lose power and then proceeded to fall out of the sky.
Losing his own power in his suit, Stark quickly returned to Stark Industries Headquarters where he attempted to get out of the suit, only to be immediately confronted by Stane yet again. Without one of the gauntlets, Stark found himself at a disadvantage as Stane got him in a bear hug and attempted to crush the suit with Stark still inside, until Stark managed to deploy his flares to briefly blind Stane, allowing him to get away for a moment.
While hiding from Stane, Stark told Potts that all his current attempts to defeat Stane were not working so he decided to make a new plan. Stark ordered Potts to overload the main Arc Reactor inside the building and blast the roof with energy in an attempt to defeat Stane. While Potts made her way back into the building, Stark also told her to wait until he had gotten himself clear, promising to buy her some time by fighting Stane.
Stark proceeded to jump onto Stane's back and ripped out important pieces of the armor, taking out his targeting system and effectively blinding Stane. However, Stane soon managed to rip Stark off his back and then threw him across the rooftop, taking off his own helmet as a result. Stark was then left almost defenseless with barely any power left in his suit to fight back against Stane, who opened up his armor and revealed himself.
While he crushed Stark's helmet, Stane began mocking Stark by claiming he had finally made his father proud before shooting at him, with Stark managed to block with his gauntlet before the glass floor underneath him was destroyed. While Stark held on, Potts told him to get off the roof. Stane noted that by trying to rid Stark Industries of weapons, Stark had inadvertently created the greatest one ever while Stane would then use to finally kill him.
While Stane struggled to aim his missiles at him, Stark ordered Potts to overload the Arc Reactor, which caused a burst of electricity which blasted Stark out of the way while frying the Stane's armor, also killing Stane inside. Stane then fell inside the Arc Reactor, causing a massive explosion while Stark fell unconscious from the ordeal. Stark almost died from the lack of power to his Arc Reactor, but J.A.R.V.I.S. managed to keep him alive long enough to be rescued.
I Am Iron Man
- "It is one thing to question the official story, and another entirely to make wild accusations or insinuate that I'm a superhero."
"I never said you're a superhero."
"You didn't? Well, good, because that would be outlandish and, uh... fantastic. I'm just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I've made, largely public."
"Just stick to the cards, man."
"Yeah, okay. Yeah. The truth is... I am Iron Man."
- ―Tony Stark, Christine Everhart and James Rhodes[src]
In the wake of the Duel of Los Angeles as well as his own near-death experience, Stark was aided by James Rhodes who tried to get Stark into an ambulance to see if he had any internal injuries. However, the ambulance was a fake one sent by S.H.I.E.L.D. to retrieve him. Now that they could finally get to talk to Stark, Phil Coulson talked to him after they had dropped him off at a small theater. Coulson viewed Stark's fighting strategy from his fight with Obadiah Stane on a projector screen. He told him he needed to become a real fighter and that he would be trained by skilled S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
The next morning, news had spread of Stark's new alter ego, dubbed "Iron Man" by the press. Stark then held a press conference where Agent Coulson gave him a detailed fabricated cover story about his and Stane's whereabouts and advised him to state that Iron Man was his personal bodyguard. However, during the course of the conference, in a moment of self-clarity, Stark instead announced to the public that he himself was indeed Iron Man.
Meeting Nick Fury
That night, Stark arrived home and was greeted by a visitor who was standing by the window. He revealed himself as Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and assured him that he was not the only 'superhero' in the world, intending to discuss the Avengers Initiative with Stark. However, Stark, uninterested in having the government offering him opportunities, ordered Fury out of the house.
Finding World Peace
Iron Man performed acts of heroism around the world. News outlets began crediting him as "the man who stabilized East-West relations" and Stark was chosen as "Person of the Year" by Time magazine. When blackmailed by the Ten Rings and Lina, Stark defeated all of the terrorists and also saved Lina's kidnapped son. When Nick Fury sent a team of United States Navy SEALs to board a ship controlled by the Ten Rings, Iron Man appeared and defeated the terrorists. Stark also helped Thaddeus Ross in saving the pilot of the Aerodynamic Marvel that crashed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Germany, Stark managed to recover stolen paintings without the use of his armor, all to gain Evetta Gorani's number.
- "It appears that the continued use of the Iron Man suit is accelerating your condition. Another core has been depleted."
"God, they’re running out quick."
"I have run simulations on every known element, and none can serve as a viable replacement for the palladium core. You are running out of both time and options. Unfortunately, the device that’s keeping you alive is also killing you."
- ―J.A.R.V.I.S. and Tony Stark[src]
Unfortunately, Stark's own life was not as good as it appeared, as he was facing a double threat. The first was in the form of his own heart: the Arc Reactor palladium core was poisoning Stark due to overuse of the Iron Man Armor. To maintain appearances, he was forced to drink homemade medicine to counteract the symptoms. Meanwhile, Stark was also aware that the United States Armed Forces were constantly looking to confiscate all his technology.
Starting the Stark Expo
Six months after revealing his own identity to the world and helping maintain world peace, Stark appeared as Iron Man at the grand opening of the Stark Expo in Flushing Meadows, New York City, continuing the legacy his father, Howard Stark, had started. Treating the crowd to the Ironette Dancers and a speech in which he boasted about giving the world its longest running period of uninterrupted peace, Stark left the stage with a video of his father playing.
Stark then left the Expo with Happy Hogan helping to keep the press at bay, signing autographs and meeting Larry Ellison and Larry King on their way out before he was then confronted by a beautiful U.S. Marshal who was waiting beside his car. The Marshal then informed Stark and Hogan that he was now required to attend a congressional meeting in Washington, D.C. the very next day in order to discuss the future of his work as the well-known superhero Iron Man.
Meeting with Senator Stern
The second threat was from a senate committee hearing, this time led by Senator Stern, demanding that Stark release the technology of the Iron Man Armor for military application. Stark refused, believing it was not in the best interest of the American people for the United States Armed Forces to possess it since they would use it as a weapon that could very well be used against America if other various countries were able to recreate the Arc Reactor technology.
Senator Stern tried to turn Lt. Colonel James Rhodes against Stark in an effort to force his decision. Competitor Justin Hammer tried to plead his case on the matter; Stark took this opportunity to embarrass both Hammer and Stern with a collection of footage of Hammer Industries and other entities around the world attempting to recreate the technology. Stark arrogantly stated that it would be years before anyone would be able to successfully recreate his tech and he had "privatized" world peace.
Making Pepper Potts CEO
- "I hereby irrevocably appoint you chairman and CEO of Stark Industries effective immediately. Yeah, done deal. Okay? I've actually given this a fair amount of thought, believe it or not. Doing a bit of headhunting, so to speak, trying to figure out who a worthy successor would be. And then I realized it's you. It's always been you."
- ―Tony Stark to Pepper Potts[src]
Returning to his mansion, Stark was greeted by J.A.R.V.I.S. who updated him on the fallout from his meeting with Senator Stern. While Stark listened to the news, he pulled out his Arc Reactor and examined the damaged palladium core which was slowly killing him, with J.A.R.V.I.S. noting that a replacement had not yet been found that could power his many Iron Man Armors and also still keep him alive.
Uncertain of his chances of survival, Stark decided to appoint his former personal assistant Pepper Potts into the role he no longer was interested in, the CEO of Stark Industries. When Potts arrived in his workshop, she and Stark had an argument about his own lack of interest in his company and their resources ever since becoming Iron Man, at which point Stark informed her that he had decided to promote her. Although Potts did not at first believe that he was being serious with this idea, Stark had Dum-E deliver some champagne to them as he confirmed that this would be happening and she was the perfect person to take over the job from him.
While doing some boxing training with Happy Hogan, during which he used dirty boxing techniques to gain the upper hand, Stark saw the arrival of Potts and a notary from the company, "Natalie Rushman", who was actually Natasha Romanoff, an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Although Hogan hit Stark around the head, he proceeded to kick him away and beat him into surrendering before inviting Romanoff into the ring. Stark looked into Romanoff's eyes before inviting Hogan to train with her instead.
Stark then sat down with Potts to discuss "Rushman", with him bringing up her "history files" and noting that she even spoke Latin and had once been a lingerie model. While they were speaking, Stark and Potts witnessed Romanoff using a leg move to pin Hogan to the floor, before she exited the ring and asked Stark to sign the paperwork handing Stark Industries over to Potts. Once Romanoff was gone, Stark told Potts that he needed her as his new assistant.
Monaco Grand Prix
- "Well, what's the use of having and owning a race car... if you don't drive it?"
- ―Tony Stark[src]
Stark traveled to Monaco with Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan. There, Stark and Potts encountered Justin Hammer, who smugly tried to show off that he was being interviewed by Christine Everhart for an upcoming piece with Vanity Fair; Stark quickly made it clear of his own romantic history with Everhart and noted that Hammer Industries had lost their contract with the United States Armed Forces due to Hammer's embarrassing performance at the senate committee hearing.
Taking some time away from Hammer, Stark excused himself to check his blood toxicity level in the bathroom. He saw that the Arc Reactor's poisoning of his body due to the levels of palladium was now emitting into his skin. Looking up at the mirror and seeing that he likely did not have much time left until he would eventually die from this poisoning, Stark began questioning what he would like to do with these last few months that he likely had left.
Growing increasingly despondent and thrill-seeking as a direct consequence of what he believed to be his impending death, Stark decided to take the Stark Industries car intended for the track and race it at the Monaco Grand Prix. As he stepped into the car, with all the cameras now facing him, Stark gave a look which he knew would be viewed by Hammer, much to his annoyance as Stark would once again be taking the spotlight away from him.
As Stark drove around the track, Ivan Vanko, who had successfully constructed an Arc Reactor of his own, along with whip-like energy weapons, attacked him, using the whips to cut off the front of his car and cause it to crash along with several other race cars. Stark had managed to crawl out of the car before it could be sliced in half. Despite his best efforts to fight back, Vanko's armored weapons managed to get the better of Stark, who was defenseless.
As Vanko prepared to rip Stark apart, he was forced to use his own wits and cunning to escape the deadly whips Vanko was using. Managing to get behind Vanko, Stark struck him on the back of the head with a car door, but Vanko proved to be unaffected, forcing Stark to dodge out of the way of his attacks. He then tricked Vanko into striking the whips onto gasoline, causing an explosion which separated the pair from each other for a brief time.
With Vanko proving himself too strong to be beaten without his armor, Stark seemed to be running out of options as he was backed into a corner. However, he received aid with the sudden arrival of both Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan, who had driven their own car into the race track and successfully managed to crash it into Vanko, pinning him against the wall and briefly knocking him out cold. Stark then prepared to quickly make his escape.
However, while Stark moaned about Stark Industries' seeming lack of security at the event, Vanko continued to fight despite still being pinned to the wall and began ripping Hogan's car apart with furious strikes from his electric whips. This forced the terrified Potts to then hand Stark his portable briefcase armor, allowing him to don the Mark V Armor ready to do battle against his would-be assassin in the middle of the track, with Iron Man having the upper hand.
Using his new suit, Iron Man attempted to subdue Vanko by firing his repulsor rays at his attacker, but Vanko was able to block those blows with his own armor before using his whips to strangle Iron Man. Vanko flung him across the racetrack into Hogan's car and then back the other way, tightening the whips around Iron Man's neck and shocking him with volts of electricity, which were slowly destroying the suit.
Not allowing himself to be defeated, Iron Man managed to build up his own strength and began wrapping the whips around himself in order to get closer towards Vanko. Once he was close enough, Iron Man punched Vanko in the face a few times before ripping the Arc Reactor out of his chest and crushing it. As Vanko was being dragged away by the police, he laughingly claimed that Iron Man had now lost while Iron Man studied Vanko's Arc Reactor, crushing it in shock.
Meeting with Ivan Vanko
Afterward, Stark decided to pay a visit to Ivan Vanko personally while he was being held in Batiment B3, France to learn how he had acquired the Arc Reactor technology, being led there by Lemieux. Once they were alone, Stark commented on Vanko's armor and even suggested ways that he could improve it, thinking that he would never actually get a chance to. Stark wondered why Vanko would use the technology to kill him rather than for more tangible personal gain.
Vanko revealed that he was the son of Anton Vanko, who had collaborated with Howard Stark on the first Arc Reactor but was deported back to the Soviet Union and died in poverty. Vanko blamed the Stark family for his family's fate, and sought revenge, warning that Stark would die now that he proved Iron Man was not invincible. Stark retorted that Vanko would still be in prison either way. As he left, Vanko mentioned Stark's current blood poisoning, taunting that it was a terrible way to die.
Ivan Vanko's Attack Aftermath
Despite Ivan Vanko having been imprisoned for his crimes, the response to another man using the Arc Reactor technology was immediate, with many people, including Senator Stern, commenting on Stark's failure. While on his private jet returning to the United States, Stark made breakfast for Pepper Potts as they discussed the aftermath of the attack. Stark even suggested that he quit being Iron Man from now on and almost confessed to Potts of his current state, but backed out.
Stark returned to his mansion where he and J.A.R.V.I.S. continued searching for a new Arc Reactor power source while looking over records of Ivan Vanko and his father, Anton Vanko. Stark learned Anton had worked for Stark Industries in the 1960s before being deported under the orders of Howard Stark whilst Vanko was a Soviet physicist arrested for illegal weapons dealing. He was later visited by James Rhodes, who came to warn Stark about the military's wish to take his suits. However, he recognized Stark's unwell state and assisted him by changing the Arc Reactor's palladium core. Rhodes then tried to convince Stark that he did not have to go through his journey alone but Stark remained skeptical.
The next night, feeling more depressed about his future as the poisoning neared its peak, Stark considered canceling his birthday party after learning he had only a week left to live. He was then visited by Natasha Romanoff, undercover as "Natalie Rushman", who prepared Stark a drink and gave him a choice of watches to wear. He posed these questions to Romanoff, asking what she would do on her final birthday. Romanoff replied that she would do whatever she wanted, with whomever she wanted to do it with.
Stark decided to attend what could very well be his last ever birthday party and quickly got himself very drunk, partying with the many guests who had come to celebrate. He invited Natasha Romanoff, still known to Stark as "Natalie Rushman", to wear one of his gauntlets and fire it at an ice sculpture, taking great pleasure in the destruction before joining the other attendees. Stark then drank even more alcohol shots to become further intoxicated and even harder to keep in control.
While wearing the Mark IV Iron Man Armor and indulging in many dangerous activities, such as using his repulsor blasts to destroy a watermelon, Iron Man was watched by Pepper Potts who attempted to make him stop, being advised by James Rhodes that this was a terrible time to be acting so reckless. Despite Potts taking the microphone away from Iron Man and trying to tell the guests that it was time to go home, Iron Man would not listen to reason and instead insisted that his party keep going as he continued to misuse his suit to entertain his drunk guests within his mansion, much to Potts' and Rhodes' dismay as they looked on in concern.
In the end, Iron Man's actions became more and more dangerous and foolish, forcing his friend, Rhodes, to intervene. Rhodes donned the Mark II Iron Man Armor and ordered the guests out of the room before demanding that Iron Man get out of the suit. Iron Man ignored him and instead requested that Adam Goldstein put on a good song for the incoming fight. The pair clashed as they flew through room to room, using whatever weapons they could find to try and subdue the other, including throwing heavy weights at each other before Rhodes managed to throw Iron Man into his upstairs bedroom.
Eventually, after almost destroying the entire mansion in the resulting fight, Iron Man managed to subdue Rhodes by smashing his head down on the kitchen counter, before roaring at the onlookers to force them to flee the scene. After Rhodes recovered and knocked him against the fireplace, Iron Man dared his friend to take his shot as they both fired their repulsors at each other, causing a massive explosion. With Iron Man weakened the fight, he could only look on while Rhodes flew away to deliver the armor to the United States Armed Forces.
Rediscovering the Element
Nick Fury's Help
In the aftermath of his fight with James Rhodes, Stark took the Mark IV Iron Man Armor and flew to Randy's Donuts in California, buying himself a box of Donuts and aimlessly enjoying them in the middle of the sign above the shop. While he was relaxing in the morning sun, Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., approached Iron Man and ordered him to come inside.
Taking a seat inside, Iron Man once again informed Fury that he was not interested in joining the Avengers before rudely asking if he should look at Fury's eye or patch. Changing the subject, Fury then revealed to Iron Man that "Natalie Rushman" was in fact undercover Agent Natasha Romanoff in her Black Widow outfit, who Iron Man tried and failed to fire from Stark Industries. As he and Fury continued their conversation, Black Widow injected Iron Man with Lithium Dioxide to slow down the poisoning in his veins caused by his Arc Reactor. Fury reassured Iron Man that somewhere there was a cure and he simply had not discovered it yet, despite Iron Man insisting that he had already looked everywhere and found nothing.
Returning to Stark's mansion, they discussed the history of Anton Vanko who had been working with Howard Stark in creating the Arc Reactor before he was deported for selling secrets on the black market, where he then raised his son, Ivan Vanko, in Siberia. Before he departed, Fury revealed that Howard was one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. and left a skeptical Stark to go through his father’s belongings to find the cure, with Agent Phil Coulson watching over him.
Researching his Family
Nick Fury gave Stark some of his father's old material to aid in finding a cure for the palladium poisoning. Stark found several items, including Howard's notebook with drawings of a "hypercube" and two Captain America comic books. He remained dismissive and bitter over these past relics until watching an old tape of his father, in which Stark discovered a hidden message where Howard told him that he was proud of his son and viewed Stark as his greatest creation.
Stark then drove to the Stark Industries Headquarters, buying some strawberries along the way and met with Pepper Potts, though Bambi Arbogast tried to inform him she was too busy to talk. Once Stark got her attention, he attempted to apologize in his own way, which Potts struggled to believe and insisted she needed to focus on Stark Industries' future. They were interrupted by Happy Hogan and Natasha Romanoff, who were both now working only for Potts.
As Potts and Hogan left the office, Stark spoke with Romanoff and questioned how she could keep this lie going and she subtly insulted him before leaving. Stark prepared to leave the office, dumping the strawberries into the bin, but first, he thought he saw a hidden message in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo, which proved to be a diagram of a new element's atomic structure. Stark disassembled the model and drove it back to his mansion for further study.
Putting the model on his desk, Stark ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to make a scan of the model, removing all the trees and buildings from the holographic image so he could focus just on the model itself. As J.A.R.V.I.S. questioned what Stark's plan was, he explained that he believed he had found a hidden message. Eventually, Stark realized that the new element was inside Expo globe in the center and thanked his father for gifting him with it as it would soon save his life.
A New Element
As Stark put the final pieces together to begin his experiment, he was greeted by Phil Coulson, who asked where he had been before discovering a prototype for Captain America's Shield which Stark took and used to straighten some of his machinery. Coulson then informed Stark that he was leaving to head to New Mexico to investigate a mysterious object that had been found there.
With the aid of his A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S., Stark put his experiment into action, assembling a large laser in the center of his workshop in his mansion. Stark pushed the laser into position, struggling to hold it in place as it shot through the walls while he aimed it at its target. As the laser hit the newly-designed Arc Reactor Stark had made, it finally synthesized the new element. As Stark picked up his creation and studied it, J.A.R.V.I.S. confirmed that the new element would indeed be a suitable replacement for palladium and be able to keep him alive while powering his Iron Man Armors for the foreseeable future. Stark then continued upgrading the Reactor and his next suit.
Afterwards while Stark continued his work on his new suit, he received a call which turned out to come from Ivan Vanko, despite having last been heard from dying in a prison explosion, revealing he was still alive and bent on revenge. While Stark attempted to trace the call and locate the dangerous terrorist, Vanko promised that he would soon have his revenge for what Howard Stark had done to his father Anton Vanko before hanging up the call.
As Vanko had warned that he had taken Stark's scientific advice and improved his own armor to be ready for their next battle, Stark donned the Mark VI Iron Man Armor. Despite J.A.R.V.I.S.' objections, Stark wore his new Arc Reactor and commented on how it felt putting it on for the first time, noting he got a distinct taste of both coconut and metal. Remembering Justin Hammer's new presentation for the military at the Stark Expo, Stark suited up and flew off to then confront Vanko and stop his evil plans.
At the Stark Expo, Iron Man arrived to confront Justin Hammer, who was busy unveiling his Hammer Drones, captained by James Rhodes in a heavily weaponized armored suit, which was a modified version of the Mark II Iron Man Armor. While trying to keep the audience calm, Iron Man demanded to know where Ivan Vanko was, although Hammer denied all knowledge of him and tried to play off the incident to the audience. Iron Man then approached Rhodes, warning him that Vanko was still alive.
Suddenly, Vanko seized control of both the Drones and Rhodes' armor, directing them all to attack Iron Man, who then flew across the Expo in a desperate attempt to lose his attackers and cause them all to crash, while ordering J.A.R.V.I.S. to regain control of Rhodes. During the battle, Iron Man did all he could to save the hundreds of attendees fleeing during the chaos, including Peter Parker, who was mistaken for him by a Drone for wearing an Iron Man mask.
Quickly running out of options as Rhodes continued to fire upon him using Hammer Industries weapons, Iron Man tried his best to take out the Drones, flying them all away from the civilians before leading them straight into the main globe in the center of the Expo. Using the his Mark VI Armor's superior maneuvering abilities, Iron Man had managed to escape and cause the bulkier Hammer Drones to crash into the globe and explode all together in a massive fireball.
However, before Iron Man could relax, he was knocked out of the sky and into an Oracle Corporation dome by Rhodes, who was still being controlled by Vanko. Iron Man attempted to block Rhodes' attacks, holding his mini gun at bay until Black Widow successfully overrode Vanko's programming, having broken into the Hammer Industries Headquarters with a little help from Happy Hogan, despite failing to arrest Vanko.
Showdown with Ivan Vanko
Iron Man knocked James Rhodes back before Black Widow confirmed that he was safe at last and in control of his own armor. She also complimented Iron Man on his new element which had now stopped his palladium poisoning, causing Pepper Potts to confront Iron Man for not telling her he was dying. While Potts had Justin Hammer arrested, Iron Man helped Rhodes back onto his feet.
Knowing that the remaining Hammer Drones would be coming to their location, both Iron Man and Rhodes then came up with a plan to battle them; however, this only led to an argument between the two friends over who should take the better position in the area, with both of them believing that they had the superior armor and skills. However, before they could make up their minds, the Drones then arrived and surrounded Iron Man and Rhodes; with nowhere to escape to, the pair donned their own helmets and prepared for battle, firing their weapons at the attacking Drones.
As the battle then commenced, Iron Man and Rhodes found that although they could easily defeat each Drone, the numbers began to overwhelm them. While Rhodes used his impressive weaponry provided by Hammer Industries to destroy the attackers, Iron Man used his top-of-the-range armor to fight back and destroy multiple targets at once, eventually using his lasers to slice all of the remaining Drones in half and finally win the fight.
Upon eliminating the drones, Iron Man and Rhodes were then informed by Black Widow that they had a new enemy coming in, who she warned appeared to be much stronger than all of the previous ones. This was revealed to be Ivan Vanko in his new, more powerful suit of armor. Attempting to kill Vanko before the fight could even begin, Rhodes armed the Ex-Wife Missile, only for it to fail and not even dent Vanko's armor, with Iron Man then noting that it was clearly a Hammer Industries weapon due to being useless in battle.
Iron Man then engaged in a fierce battle with Vanko, with himself and Rhodes throwing all they had at defeating him or damaging his armor enough to cause him to surrender. However, they both found that not only was Vanko's armor too strong, but he had upgraded his whips to the point they were more dangerous than ever before. The pair soon found themselves overpowered by Vanko's improved technology and weapons.
Vanko soon managed to gain the upper hand in the battle when he succeeded in wrapping his electrified whips around Iron Man and Rhodes' throats and slowly tightened them, hoping to break their necks. With no other choice, Iron Man called on Rhodes to use the technique they discovered during the duel at his mansion and fired their own repulsor rays at each other, triggering an explosion in front of Vanko and knocking them all back.
Recovering from the shockwave and getting back onto their feet, Iron Man and Rhodes found Vanko lying on the battlefield, with not only his Mark II Armor but his own body damaged beyond repair. Too injured to continue the fight, Vanko claimed that Stark had in fact lost this fight before he ignited his and all of the Hammer Drones' self-destruct bombs, including one in his own armor. Knowing that these Drones were littered across Stark Expo since he had shot many of them out of the sky, Iron Man quickly flew to rescue anyone remaining there before the Drones exploded and caused major casualties.
Iron Man raced to save Potts amid the series of explosions, pulling her away just in time. Seeing the chaos that he brought with him, Potts quit her position as CEO of Stark Industries, but Iron Man only teased her about the concept of leaving him before finally confessing how important she was to him, and the couple then kissed each other. Rhodes then revealed he was on the roof too before departing with his armor without serious objection from Iron Man, leaving them where he refused to accept Potts' resignation.
Not a Suitable Candidate
At a debriefing, while showing news footage of another superhuman event, Nick Fury informed Stark that while Iron Man was a suitable candidate for the Avengers Initiative, Stark himself was not. S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted Stark as a consultant, but Stark claimed that Fury could not afford his help.
Stark thought about the position for a moment and he agreed on the condition that Senator Stern present himself and James Rhodes with their medals for bravery in defeating Ivan Vanko and Justin Hammer. A couple of hours later in exchange, Stark got his wish and took the job as consultant. He took great pleasure in Senator Stern's annoyance at being forced to give him a new medal, smiling for the pictures and offering a peace sign to the crowd of onlookers.
Consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Keeping with his job as consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark was tasked with preventing General Thaddeus Ross from releasing Emil Blonsky onto the Avengers Initiative, ordered by the World Security Council. Stark arrived at the bar where he found a drunken Ross, who was still dealing with losing Hulk, despite his own prolonged search for him.
The two exchanged insults about each other's recent battles before Stark told him that a team was being put together. Stark annoyed Ross so much that the latter tried to have him removed from the bar, but Stark had already bought and arranged it to be demolished later on, which Stark informed Phil Coulson and Jasper Sitwell on. The task was then completed with Ross refusing to release Blonsky from his custody out of pure spite.
Stark retrieved the James Rhodes' Mark I Armor and stripped it of all of the new Hammer Industries weapons and turned it back into the Mark II Iron Man Armor. When Rhodes then arrived, Stark informed him that he would never wear that armor again because he made him a new one with improved technology and weaponry. With that, Rhodes became a superhero who dons armored suits like Iron Man known as War Machine. Stark focused his efforts on Stark Tower in New York City which was powered by pure clean energy, with Stark admiring that his own name was lit up.
Upon arriving at Stark Tower, he and Pepper Potts began celebrating the successful creation of their newest, clean energy source for the entire city, with Stark telling her that she could have twelve percent of the credit for Stark Industries' newest breakthrough. Stark was then informed by J.A.R.V.I.S. that Agent Phil Coulson had arrived and now wished to speak with him, to which he refused and even claimed to be a Life-Model Decoy, but Coulson still insisted that he needed to speak to Stark urgently and then let himself into the tower, much to Stark's dismay as he blamed Potts for the security breach.
Coulson informed Stark that the Avengers Initiative was now active in the wake of the Destruction of Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. at the hands of Loki, an Asgardian who had attacked some S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, stolen the Tesseract, and took Erik Selvig and Clint Barton as his mind-controlled slaves with the power of his Scepter. Coulson explained that they needed him to come in despite having previously been rejected from the Avengers, handing Stark holographic screens with information about Captain America, Thor, Hulk and Loki for him to study. While Potts and Coulson left the tower, Stark began examining the Tesseract design.
Stark quickly suited up in his current Mark VI Armor and then traveled straight to Stuttgart, Germany where he then quickly found his old acquaintance, Natasha Romanoff in a Quinjet overlooking the newly unfrozen Captain America in the middle of a battle with the hostile god, Loki. Iron Man jetted right in and blasted Loki with his repulsors and stood tall next to Captain America, aiming every weapon he had and forcing Loki to surrender as they took him into custody.
Escorting Loki onto the Quinjet in handcuffs, the team headed back towards the S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier. Iron Man commented on Captain America' fighting skills and subtly mocked his lack of knowledge of modern society since returning from World War II, questioning if he had taken up Pilates. As they were discussing why Loki had surrendered, a sudden thunderstorm had occurred, seemingly unnerving Loki. The Quinjet was then attacked by Thor, the adoptive brother of Loki, who broke in and subdued Iron Man before he could fight back before ripping Loki out from his seat before flying away, leaving Iron Man and Captain America behind.
While Thor threatened Loki atop a mountain in order to learn exactly who Loki's master is, Iron Man blasted straight into him, hurling him onto the forest floor away from Loki. While Thor got his bearings, Iron Man revealed himself and was warned to not touch Thor again, to which he told him not to take his things, referring to Loki. Thor then informed Iron Man he did not understand what was happening, and Iron Man mockingly claimed that Thor looked like he was in a William Shakespeare production in the park, telling him that he looked like he was wearing his mother's own clothing.
The two began to battle as Thor refused to not be allowed to take Loki was to the Asgardian Dungeons as he struck Iron Man who defended himself. During the fight, Thor summoned lightning to his hammer, Mjølnir, and electrocuted Stark; however, this only succeeded in super-charging Stark's suit. J.A.R.V.I.S. inform him that his suit was at four-hundred percent capacity, allowing him to blast Thor off his feet. When Thor attempted to charge at him, Iron Man charged back and managed to push him straight into a mountain, but Thor continued to fight back and caused them to crash land back in the forest where they then continued fighting each other.
Iron Man's armor took a beating during the battle as Thor easily began to crush one of the gauntlets with just his bare hands. Fearing his arm would be shattered, Iron Man responded by shooting Thor in the face, which merely knocked his head back, before head butting him with his helmet. However, Thor's own Asgardian strength allowed him to withstand all of Iron Man's blows and be unaffected as they continued their fight with Iron Man using all the advantages of his suit to try and subdue Thor without killing him so that he could then take him and Loki back into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s custody.
Their fight was broken up by Captain America who demanded that they stop fighting and questioned what Thor was doing on Earth, in which he explained he had come to put an end to Loki's schemes. Captain America then insisted that Thor prove that he was on their side by putting down his hammer, to which Iron Man noted that was a bad move as Thor loved his hammer, just before he was struck by Mjølnir and knocked through a tree just when Thor attacked Captain America. After Captain America matched Mjølnir with his shield, the three managed to calm and Thor got recruited, recapturing Loki and taking him away.
Meeting the Avengers
They took Loki back to the Helicarrier where Stark had a talk with Agent Phil Coulson and promised to lend him the former's private jet to meet with Audrey Nathan in Portland. Stark then joined the group, complimenting Thor on his fighting skills and pointing out an Agent playing Galaga before noting that Loki needed Iridium in order to control the Tesseract's power. As Stark explained why Loki needed Erik Selvig and Clint Barton, he was questioned about his newfound expertise by Maria Hill and revealed that he had done his research the night before, noting that all Loki needed was a power source to control the Tesseract.
Stark was introduced to Bruce Banner who understood all of his own theories, delighting Stark who then complimented Banner on his own intelligence and ability to turn into Hulk. Director Nick Fury then suggested Stark and Banner work together to try and understand Loki's Scepter, with Captain America comparing it to a HYDRA weapon. While Captain America still struggled to understand a lot of the team's new modern references, Stark and Banner departed for the lap to begin their research, but not before Stark planted a hacking device and allowed J.A.R.V.I.S. to begin searching S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database to find out its secrets about why the Avengers were assembled.
Stark talked with Banner in their new lab as they discussed all of Selvig's work and inviting him to come work at Stark Tower for a stress free work place, despite Banner claiming that he broke Harlem last time he was in New York City. Stark then tried once to annoy Banner by poking him with a prod in order to test his ability to resist his transformation, only to get no response apart from pain before Captain America entered and demanded he stop, as Banner's transformation would put all the lives on the Helicarrier at risk.
Stark wondered if Banner used jazz or marijuana to keep his cool, to which Captain America found less than funny, telling Stark he was risking the lives of everyone onboard the Helicarrier and should be focusing on the issues at hand. Stark, however, suggested that Fury might have other motives for restarting the Avengers Initiative, although Captain America was unconvinced. Banner noted that Loki's comments could have been referring to Stark Tower and the power it supplied. Captain America once again told Stark to remain focused on locating the Tesseract, only for Stark to insult his uniform and send him out of his lab. Stark rudely commented on how his father had so often admired Captain America having worked with him back in World War II.
- "The only thing you really fight for is yourself. You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you."
"I think I would just cut the wire."
"Always a way out. You know, you may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero."
- ―Steve Rogers and Tony Stark[src]
When Stark noted that he wanted Bruce Banner to be in the fight with them when it came time for it, Banner insisted that he couldn't, calling Hulk a nightmare. Stark then told Banner about how his Arc Reactor was keeping the shrapnel he gained from his kidnapping away from his heart, calling it a terrible privilege, with Banner claiming his situation was not the same. Stark noted all the gamma radiation Banner was exposed to should have killed him and maybe Hulk saved his life.
Stark and Banner learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. was trying to harness the Tesseract's powers to begin Phase 2 and create weapons of mass destruction. Nick Fury soon learned of their schemes and challenged them both, with them soon being joined by Captain America who had also found out that S.H.I.E.L.D. was using HYDRA's technology to learn how to harness it, based on the Red Skull's designs. Just as Fury tried to defend his actions, Stark contradicted him, forcing Fury to confess they were building the weapons in response to Thor and the recent Battle of Puente Antiguo which they were unprepared for.
While Banner called their new team a time bomb, Stark got into a heated argument with Captain America who claimed that Stark was not a hero but a selfish man in a suit of armor, while Stark noted that Captain America was only a hero because of the Super Soldier Serum given to him by Stark's father and Abraham Erskine, leading to Stark challenging him to a fight. During an ensuing argument between the Avengers, Banner inadvertently picked up Loki's Scepter, revealing Loki's control over him. All of Loki's troops then arrived, led by the brainwashed Clint Barton, and attacked the Helicarrier in order to free Loki.
When one of the Helicarrier's engines was destroyed by Hawkeye, Stark quickly suited up in the Mark VI Armor and rushed outside to try and assist in its repair. Iron Man arrived and soon assessed the damage, recruiting Captain America to help him by checking all the main controls while Iron Man went inside the engine: However, Iron Man was soon frustrated when Captain America struggled to understand the modern technology that he was currently looking at due to his lack of exposure to any of it.
While Iron Man and Captain America were working together by the damaged engine, Nick Fury and Maria Hill were unable to stop Hawkeye using one of his arrows to shut down the Helicarrier's power, causing it to fall out of the sky, dramatically shortening the time Iron Man had to save the day. Upon arriving at the engine itself, Iron Man used his laser to cut through the damaged propeller and decided to use his armor's Arc Reactor to restart the engine by hand, telling Captain America to pull a lever in order to free him from the engine before he got shredded inside it when it moved too fast.
Iron Man put all of his might into pushing the engine in order to get in spinning fast enough to lift the Helicarrier back up into the air, saving all of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents onboard. However, Iron Man soon found it was beginning to move too fast for him to keep up and then asked Captain America to pull the lever, only to learn Captain America was now busy fighting Loki's mind-controlled soldiers. Iron Man was briefly trapped and badly damaged by the propeller until Captain America managed to free him just in time. Iron Man then flew to Captain America's location and subdued the soldier attacking him before his suit lost all power.
Something to Avenge
- "That's what he wants! He wants to beat us, he wants to be seen doing it. He wants an audience."
"I caught his act in Stuttgart."
"That’s just previews, this is opening night. And Loki, he’s a full-tail diva. He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built to the skies with his name plastered on it."
- ―Tony Stark and Steve Rogers[src]
With the Helicarrier now safe thanks to their efforts, the duo then learned that during the chaos, Bruce Banner had transformed into Hulk and caused mass destruction before he had escaped from the ship, as well as Thor being ejected from the Helicarrier by Loki who escaped but not before mortally wounding Agent Phil Coulson. When medical assistance was called in for Coulson, it was soon confirmed that he had in fact died from all of his wounds, news which shook Stark to his very core.
Stark and Steve Rogers were then gathered together in the control room where Nick Fury expressed his own deep regret for Coulson's death, presenting Rogers with the Captain America Card Collection he had asked him to sign. While Stark listened in silence, Fury then explained they could not locate the Tesseract, confessing that he was planning on recreating HYDRA weapons with it's power before he informed the two that the Avengers Initiative was started so the isolated individuals could become something more and that Coulson died still believing this. Hearing this, Stark got to his feet.
Visiting the site of Coulson's murder at Loki's hand, Stark began talking with Rogers about how Coulson didn't have family, but was dating Audrey Nathan. When Rogers called him a good man, Stark called him an idiot for challenging Loki with the Destroyer Armor Prototype Gun on his own. Stark began claiming that they were not soldiers in a war and he would not be following Fury any longer, noting about how Loki made it personal to draw them in. Rogers went to dismiss the comment but Stark noted that making it personal was Loki's plan, to rip their new team apart.
While rambling on about the theatrics that Loki has pulled off as part of his grand plan for world domination, Stark began to draw closer to finding out where the Asgardian God of Mischief would set off the portal to bring his alien army forth, commenting on how Loki wanted his victory to be seen by the world. At that moment, Stark realized he had built something out of ego, Stark Tower, and it would provide both the perfect source of energy to open the portal and serve as a taunt. With a "son of a bitch" escaping his lips, Stark then informed Rogers of his epiphany before quickly walking out of the room.
With this new lead, Rogers put on his uniform and regrouped with the other available Avengers while Stark repaired the Mark VI Iron Man Armor so it was battle ready again. Fueled by a desire to avenge Agent Coulson's death, Stark soon had his armor ready to go into battle. While Captain America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, who had now been freed from Loki's mind control, left onboard a Quinjet which they had stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man flew himself straight to New York City in order to finally confront Loki and end his attack, although he found the armor still lost some power along the way.
Iron Man soon arrived at Stark Tower where he found a device had been installed on the roof powered by the Tesseract that was now being operated by the mind-controlled Professor Erik Selvig. Iron Man ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to cut the power from the tower, only learn the portal device was already self-sustaining. Failing to convince Selvig to shut down the device, Iron Man blasted it; however, the barrier around the device bounced the blast back.
Iron Man saw that Loki was watching in amusement from the balcony of Stark's penthouse and, seeing that there was now nothing else he could do to stop the invasion, Stark decided to change tactics, land on a platform, remove the Mark VI Iron Man Armor and face off against Loki without any defenses. In a sense of hospitality, Stark offered Loki a drink, but he declined before Stark threatened Loki. To buy time to put on his two Colantotte Bracelets, Stark then promised Loki that he would be stopped by the Avengers no matter how long it took them, although Loki still remained unintimidated by the concept.
Stark listed off all the Avengers members to show what Loki was up against, seeing Loki cringe at the mention of Thor. Loki insisted that his Chitauri army would overcome them with ease, so Stark then noted that they had a Hulk on their own side. Stark then promised that even if the Avengers failed to protect the Earth, they would at least avenge it by defeating Loki. The now furious Loki promised that the Avengers would have no time for him when they were fighting a brainwashed Stark. When Loki attempted to enthrall him, the Arc Reactor in Stark's chest was blocking the Scepter from Stark's heart.
Making a performance joke, Stark was suddenly attacked by Loki who vowed to destroy the Avengers before Stark was then thrown out of the window hundreds of feet above the ground. However, Stark just managed to call for the Mark VII Iron Man Armor; it was rocket-propelled to him, and formed the suit around him by connecting to the Colantotte Bracelets he had put on right before he could hit the ground. Iron Man flew back up to Loki and told him there was one other person Loki had pissed off; Phil Coulson, and blasted Loki backwards before he could even react in the name of the late Agent Coulson.
- "Call it, Captain."
"All right, listen up. Until we can close that portal up there, our priority is containment. Barton, I want you on that roof, eyes on everything. Call out patterns and strays. Stark, you got the perimeter. Anything gets more than three blocks out, you turn it back or you turn it to ash."
- ―Iron Man and Captain America[src]
Iron Man was, however, confronted by Loki's device which opened a portal into space where Loki's army of Chitauri flew into New York City and began their war against Earth. Amazed at what he was witnessing, Iron Man charged upwards and fired all of the Mark VII Iron Man Armor's weapons upon the attacking alien forces. Iron Man recruited the help of Hawkeye by flying by the Quinjet and having him shoot the aliens out of the sky behind him while mockingly asking if they had stopped for drive-thru as they were so late to the fight.
Iron Man fought off the Chitauri and tried to call War Machine, who told Iron Man that he was too busy fighting soldiers working for the Ten Rings, but would come to help as soon as possible. Iron Man then began to chase after a Leviathan, a flying giant alien serpent and the warship to dozens of Chitauri. When he was notified of the arrival of Bruce Banner on the field, Iron Man led the flying serpent towards him, saying he was bringing the party to the others, so that Banner would transform into Hulk and defeat it, with Iron Man firing a tank missile at the Leviathan to destroy it's body and finally kill it.
Iron Man landed on the ground alongside his fellow Avengers. The team were then confronted by hundreds of Chitauri who flew in through the portal as well as several more Leviathans. Captain America gave out orders and instructed Iron Man to take to the skies and fend off more Chitauri as well as keep them within New York City. Captain America then ordered Hawkeye to get onto the roof of one of the skyscrapers in order to inform them of the Chitauri's movements during the battle while also sharpshooting them, so Iron Man flew him up there while Captain America gave out his orders to the other Avengers.
As the Battle of New York began, Iron Man focused on his task of insuring that the Chitauri forces did not leave the city and wreak havoc elsewhere. He soon found himself being chased down by multiple Chitauri Chariots which attempted to shoot him out of the sky, until Hawkeye advised Iron Man to fly towards a tight corner as he noted the Chitauri weren't as good at maneuvering their craft as he was. Iron Man did as recommended and successfully caused the Chitauri Chariots to crash into nearby buildings. However, despite Thor's best efforts to block the portal, they still continued coming through.
Charging throughout the entire battlefield, Iron Man came to the aid of Black Widow who was currently riding one of the Chitauri Chariots to try and reach Stark Tower, who Iron Man soon shot the pursuing Chitauri out of the sky to ensure she could get there. Iron Man then charged through multiple aliens to team up with Captain America, as they used his shield to deflect Iron Man's gauntlet blasts across the multiple enemies, increasing its power as a result. Iron Man then aided Hawkeye by knocking several Chitauri off the building he was on before they could get to him as he continued flying.
Having been told by J.A.R.V.I.S. that all his lasers were not cutting through a Leviathan's armored skin, Iron Man took inspiration from the tale of Jonah by taking out the Leviathan by flying head-first into its mouth and launching missiles from the inside, tearing it apart before crash landing on the street. However, Iron Man soon got battered by numerous attacks. Iron Man asked Thor if he had ever seen Game of Thrones, saying he reminded him of it. Thor asked him how he can joke around during the battle, but was then eaten by a Leviathan. Out of rage, Thor used Mjølnir to get out of the Leviathan.
As the Battle of New York continued, the Avengers found themselves still outnumbered and learned that Black Widow had now found a way to close the portal. Iron Man hindered this as Nick Fury had instructed him that Gideon Malick and the World Security Council had sent a missile to blow up Manhattan. Iron Man soon intercepted the missile and demanded that Black Widow keep the portal open, despite Captain America wishing to close it as soon as possible to end the invasion while they still could.
Iron Man flew it up through New York City and up alongside Stark Tower and finally straight through the portal as he was taken into deep space. Iron Man looked in amazement at what was before him, all while he lost contact with J.A.R.V.I.S. and the oxygen swiftly ran out. As he lost consciousness, Iron Man released the nuclear missile and blew up the Chitauri Command Center, which resulted in the deaths of the Chitauri and Leviathans across the city. However, Iron Man lost power in the Mark VII Iron Man Armor in the process and then fell unconscious back through the portal just before it closed.
As Iron Man fell back to Earth, he was caught midair by Hulk who landed with him back on the ground. Captain America and Thor ran over to Iron Man who appeared to be dead, only for Hulk to scream in his face, waking him up. Iron Man said they should get some shawarma to celebrate, despite not knowing what shawarma was. Captain America told him they'd do that later, since Loki still needed to be apprehended.
Stark and the rest of the Avengers returned to Stark Tower, where they found the defeated Loki. As Loki asked if he could have the drink Stark offered earlier, Stark merely told the other Avengers to apprehend Loki while noting the mess around him.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s STRIKE team then showed up to take possession of the Scepter, while Stark focused on safely securing the Tesseract in a silver case, with Thor intending it to bring it back to Asgard. Stark, Thor and Loki, along with a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, began to take the elevator down the lobby, but as Hulk moved to join them, Stark reminded him that the elevator had a weight capacity and motioned that he take the stairs instead, angering Hulk. As Stark and Thor made their way through the lobby, they were halted by Alexander Pierce of the World Security Council, which oversaw S.H.I.E.L.D.. Pierce demanded that Thor and Stark relinquish custody of Loki and the Tesseract respectively to him, although Thor refused, citing that Loki would be returning to Asgard and would be punished by Odin. Pierce then ordered Stark to hand over the Tesseract, citing that it had been S.H.I.E.L.D. property for seventy years. After Stark and Thor refused to relinquish the Tesseract, Pierce attempted to grab the case when Stark would not comply. Pierce's efforts were in naught, as Thor was allowed to take Loki and the Tesseract back with him to Asgard.
Following the altercation, Stark and the other Avengers went into the Shawarma Palace where they all ate silently. They were soon interrupted by War Machine, who arrived from the Battle of Hong Kong, and too late to aid Stark and the rest of the Avengers in battle.
After their meal, the Avengers met in Central Park, witnessing Thor and Loki's return to Asgard using the Tesseract. The team then went their separate ways; with Stark saying goodbye to Steve Rogers and shaking his hand before he drove away in his Acura 2012 Stark Industries Super Car with Banner by his side. Stark was later with Pepper Potts in Stark Tower ready to rebuild after the damage that was done.
Feeling all the guilt of his recent actions involving the Battle of New York, Stark invested into Damage Control in order to clear up the wreckage left behind by the Chitauri and the Leviathans that now littered New York City. Putting Anne Marie Hoag in charge of the newly established Damage Control, Stark had Hoag take control away from Adrian Toomes' Crew to work on the clear up of the battle's aftermath, much to Adrian Toomes' great dismay.
Stark would go onto focus his efforts into creating the Iron Legion in order to protect the Earth from the next threat from the Nine Realms, Stark showed Rhodes several Iron Man armors that could be remotely controlled.
Seven months after the Battle of New York, Stark continued building up the Iron Legion, creating new suits for all possible eventualities. While in his Malibu Mansion, Stark tested out the new Mark XLII, which was built so that he could now activate and summon various pieces of the armor when needed using micro-repeaters implanted in his body. Stark ignored J.A.R.V.I.S.'s concern about his lack of sleep and the armor's safety briefing, recruiting Dum-E and U to assist him in filming the newest test to Bombay Dub Orchestra's "Jingle Bells".
Stark successfully summoned both of his gauntlets, deciding to have the entire armor assemble at once. However, due to glitches, the pieces started coming too fast to properly attach, forcing Stark to dodge the flying projectiles as they damaged his workshop, with the face and crotch plates hurting him if they impacted by themselves. After slowing down the armor assembly, Stark only had the face plate left and noticed it was upside down, so he flipped himself over to help it fit. Just as Stark celebrated, a final piece for his backside knocked him over, causing the entire suit to fall apart.
Right after testing the new armor, Stark watched the television, only to see that the terrorist the Mandarin had made yet another attack on the United States of America. At the same time, James Rhodes had his own suit rebranded as Iron Patriot under President Matthew Ellis' direct orders.
Stark met with James Rhodes at Neptune's Net for lunch, where he spent much of his time mocking the new Iron Patriot identity, being told that it had tested well with focus groups; the government felt that "War Machine" was too violent a name, which would send the wrong message. Stark then asked Rhodes about the Mandarin's attacks, wanting to know the facts regarding the terrorist.
Rhodes revealed the explosions' origins were unknown due to no bomb casings left behind. Stark argued that he was more than capable of helping with the mission thanks to his advanced Iron Legion, though Rhodes worried that his friend's recent actions were negatively impacting his health. Two children then approached and asked Stark to sign a drawn picture, which he agreed to. The picture showed him in the Battle of New York diverting the missile into the portal above Stark Tower.
As Rhodes continued insisting that Stark let the Pentagon handle the Mandarin since the public is still on edge from the Chitauri Invasion, Stark suddenly lost focus and scribbled a message for help on the drawing, reminded of his near-death experience. The boy asked how Stark escaped the wormhole, leading him to experience a severe anxiety attack as he recalled what he had seen in the battle. Stark rushed to put on his Mark VII suit to test for any faults in his physiology, only to learn nothing was wrong. Taken aback, he then left to return home and resume work on his suits.
After completing and storing away the Mark XLII, Stark called Happy Hogan to get an update on what was happening at Stark Industries, where Hogan was now head of security. After Hogan complained about all of his experiences and embarrassments as Iron Man's bodyguard, he told Stark that Pepper Potts was currently having a pitch meeting with Aldrich Killian at the headquarters, although he failed to flip the screen to show Stark their conversation.
Having discussed meeting Killian in Switzerland back in 1999, Stark and Hogan then conferred if Hogan should follow him, as he did not trust Killian nor the man's bodyguard, Eric Savin. While Hogan advised Stark to pay more attention to Potts, Stark said he missed his friend, with Hogan noting that he missed him too but also how Stark spent more time with the Avengers now. Stark promptly hung up the call and left his phone inside the wine cellar to continue working.
- "I–I'm just a man in a can. The only reason I haven't cracked up is probably because you moved in. Which is great. I love you, I'm lucky. But, honey... I can't sleep. You go to bed, I come down here. I do what I know. I tinker. But, threat is imminent, and I have to protect the one thing that I can't live without. That's you."
- ―Tony Stark to Pepper Potts[src]
As Christmas was nearing, Stark decided to show Pepper Potts his love for her by buying a large stuffed bunny as her gift. Unfortunately, it was too big to fit through his mansion's door, so he would need to have the wall taken down to get it inside. Deciding to test his new remote-control unit, Stark had his Mark XLII armor sit on the sofa and wait for Potts to come home. Once she arrived and greeted him, Stark lied that he was breaking in the armor.
However, his ruse fell apart when Potts wanted to open the armor to kiss him; she went down to Stark's workshop, catching him watching news reports on the Mandarin. Stark managed to quell Potts' anger by explaining how he's been feeling like an amateur in the big leagues since the Battle of New York; he's just a man in a suit against Asgardians, portals to other worlds and the Chitauri coming through. Stark then admitted that probably the only reason he had not snapped is because Potts moved in with him, for which he is greatly thankful. However, he was also been plagued by nightmares about these hostile forces attacking what he loves most: her.
Because of this, Stark spent most of his time, even when Potts is asleep, building more and more of the Iron Legion to help protect her. Potts comforted him, understanding why he'd been so distant from her since getting involved with the Avengers. As she then left to wash up for bed, Potts turned around and offered to have Stark join her in the shower to cheer him up. Stark agreed, hoping not only to lighten his mood, but try closing the gap forming between them.
Later that night, Stark attempted to have a good night's sleep, but suffered visions of himself in the Chitauri Invasion, causing him to go into distress as he recalled almost dying while destroying the Chitauri Command Center. Potts tried to rouse Stark until the Mark XLII armor came to his aid due to responding to his brainwaves, seeing her as a threat. Stark awoke and deactivated the armor before apologizing to a terrified Potts, who left him alone in bed.
Threatening the Mandarin
Happy Hogan was caught up in the Destruction of the Chinese Theatre, seemingly caused by the Ten Rings working under the orders of the Mandarin. Stark visited his friend at the Los Angeles Mercy Hospital, ensuring that the nurses kept Downton Abbey, Hogan's favorite program, on television and they all wore ID tags since Hogan was a "stickler" for those.
Having ensured that Hogan's health recovery was as comfortable as it could be, a distressed Stark prepared to return home while he was mobbed by the press who had requested a statement about the true cause of the blast. Stark ignored all of the questions and made his way to his car until he was stopped upon being asked if he would kill the Mandarin and put an end to his war against the United States of America. Stark immediately turned around upon being asked this.
He then issued a public threat to the Mandarin, calling him a coward who hid behind the Ten Rings and would not dare face him alone. Without a second thought due to his rage at Hogan's injuries, Stark revealed the address of his Malibu Mansion so they could face off. As he left, Stark smashed the reporter's phone and told him to send him the bill. This resulted in numerous news choppers flying around Stark's home, waiting to film Iron Man vs. the Mandarin.
Stark ended up fighting with Pepper Potts over leaving the Malibu Mansion for their own safety, since he carelessly gave up his real address. Stark spent his time in the workshop creating a database on the Mandarin, and recreated the explosion which left Happy Hogan in a coma, searching for any clues that he could find as to what caused the fireball that had killed several people.
With new information from S.H.I.E.L.D. databases, Stark tried to learn who the Mandarin really was. Viewing the holograph of Hogan, Stark found he was pointing at a dog tag belonging to Jack Taggart near the center of the explosion; using this clue, he looked for records of similar explosions of 3,000°C . Ruling out the Mandarin attacks, Stark eventually found one case in Rose Hill, Tennessee, seemingly caused by Chad Davis committing suicide with a bomb vest.
To Stark's surprise, the doorbell rang; J.A.R.V.I.S. informed him that there was only so much he could do since Stark had told the world his address. Donning the Mark XLII, Stark confronted his visitor, only to find Maya Hansen instead of the Mandarin. Stark eventually realized she was the "botanist" he met in Switzerland but initially mistook Hansen's comments about needing to get him alone as an offer for sex. Stark turned her down, explaining that he was now in a happily committed relationship with Potts, which amused Hansen.
At that moment, Potts dropped luggage from the second floor. Stark nervously asked Hansen if their one-night-stand had resulted in a child. After teasing him by hinting this might be true, Hansen assured Stark that it was not the case and she needed to talk to him about the Mandarin, bluntly warning that he would be killed otherwise. As Hansen met Potts, Stark continued protesting her desire for them to leave the city, insisting he needed to confront the Mandarin and could better protect Potts if they stayed. When Hansen tried to help move them out, Stark stopped her and ended up yelling in frustration about the rabbit he had bought Potts.
However, as Stark and Pepper Potts were still arguing about what action they should take next, Maya Hansen turned their attention towards their television, which showed a missile currently heading straight towards the mansion fired by Eric Savin. Before they could react, the missile struck the side of the Mansion and sent the pair flying back. With seconds to spare before hitting the wall, Stark signaled his Mark XLII armor onto Potts, protecting her as they slammed into it, with Stark taking the brunt of the impact.
Having been winded by the impact of striking the wall hard, Stark attempted to crawl away but noticed a large chunk of the ceiling was about to fall and crush him. However, Potts appeared wearing his armor and saved his life. Stark claimed to have always said it was not safe to stay in the Mansion and told Potts that they needed to get out. Upon being separated as the Mansion fell apart, Stark ordered Potts to get an unconscious Hansen to safety outside.
While Potts pulled Hansen from the rubble, Stark was forced to avoid the helicopters' attacks as they tried to shoot him down. Once J.A.R.V.I.S. confirmed that Potts and Hansen made it outside, Stark summoned the armor back to himself. Still avoiding the gunshots, Stark collected all the sections of the Iron Man armor, getting saved from a bullet in the back just in time, before triumphantly rising to his feet as he prepared to fight back against his attackers.
Iron Man was unable to call upon the Iron Legion due to the Mansion falling apart around him and trapping them under rubble, so he was forced to defend himself using the new prototype armor, which lacked the offensive abilities of his battle armors. Despite being warned by J.A.R.V.I.S. that both the suit's flight and weapons protocols were not ready and needed time to charge, Iron Man continued fending off the helicopters surrounding him. When a missile had failed to fire, he then simply threw it at the helicopter and shot it with his repulsor, destroying the helicopter in the resulting explosion while the others still fired.
Taking out a second helicopter by launching his grand piano at it, Iron Man had another missile fire at him and fell through the floor into his workshop. Iron Man helplessly watched as Dum-E and U were destroyed along with his armors from Mark I to Mark VII, which were consumed in fireballs. Having been outgunned, Iron Man was pulled into the ocean while his home and possessions were all demolished over him, as the suit was still without adequate power to fly himself to safety.
As the Mark XLII began filling with water, causing Iron Man begin drowning, Savin and the other attack choppers circled above the wreckage, looking for any signs of life. Iron Man was saved when J.A.R.V.I.S. took control of his gauntlet and used it to pull him out of the wreckage and fly away just in time as the power had been restored. Escaping, Iron Man lost consciousness from the strain and left J.A.R.V.I.S. in charge of the suit's flight path.
Back to Basics
- "Pepper, it's me. I've got a lot of apologies to make and not a lot of time. So first off, I'm so sorry I put you in harm's way. That was selfish and stupid and it won't happen again. Also, it's Christmas time, the rabbit's too big. Done. Sorry. And I'm sorry in advance because... I can't come home yet. I need to find this guy. You gotta stay safe. That's all I know. I just stole a poncho from a wooden Indian. "
- ―Tony Stark to Pepper Potts[src]
Stark found himself in Rose Hill, Tennessee after J.A.R.V.I.S. followed his initial flight plan to locate the Mandarin. Unfortunately, since the Mark XLII was still a prototype and highly damaged from use, it lacked the link to the Arc Reactor to sustain its own power. Therefore, Stark awoke just as the suit crash-landed in the middle of rural Ross Hill and lost power, including the link to J.A.R.V.I.S.. This left Stark in the cold, with nothing left but his own genius to help him find a solution.
Lacking the power to return to California and with the world at large believing him to be dead from the destruction of his mansion, Stark dragged the Mark XLII behind him as he looked for shelter. Finding a phone booth, Stark called his system back home, leaving a private message for Pepper Potts. Apologizing for putting her in harm's way, Stark stated that he still had to find the Mandarin and therefore, he could not return home just yet, urging Potts to protect herself in the meantime.
Stark broke into a garage belonging to the family of 10-year-old Harley Keener, where he laid down the Mark XLII and attempted to fix the damaged parts until he was discovered by Keener. Despite being threatened with a potato gun, Stark found that he got along well with Keener, who soon reminded Stark of a younger version of himself, a child genius; Keener admired the Mark XLII armor and had recommended using new retro-reflection panels to create a stealth armor, although he claimed to prefer the Iron Patriot name over War Machine for James Rhodes, which Stark highly disagreed with.
Having discussed Keener's home life where he was growing up without a father, Stark mocked him by noting his own father was not there for him. Stark then requested that Keener find him a a digital watch, a cell phone, a map of town, a big spring, and a tuna fish sandwich. Stark offered Keener a flash grenade from his suit in exchange, recognizing the signs of a kid being bullied, which Keener accepted while Stark demanded he get his sandwich.
Stark enlisted Keener's help in finding the truth behind the terrorist bombings seemingly involving the Ten Rings and the Mandarin. While being lead to the site, Stark complained about the Dora the Explorer watch he was given. Upon examining the site of the explosion, Stark realized something was amiss as there was no ash-imprint of Chad Davis, who died, and the blast was similar to the Destruction of the Chinese Theatre, with no bomb parts being found.
However, when Keener started asking him about the Battle of New York, the Avengers and whether or not the Chitauri would return, Stark started having another panic attack. At this point, Stark admitted that he should have been on medication to deal with his Post-traumatic stress disorder. Having pulled himself back together and thrown a snowball at Keener, Stark asked where Mrs. Davis could be found, with Keener directing him to a local bar.
Seeking information, Stark set up a meeting with Mrs. Davis, the mother of recently killed Extremis-infected soldier Chad Davis. Arriving outside Walker's where he had been told he could find Davis, Stark bumped into Ellen Brandt, who complimented his Dora the Explorer watch, which he proudly noted was limited edition while also complimenting Brandt.
Inside, Stark soon found Mrs. Davis, offering her his condolences for the death of her son. To Stark's surprise, Davis handed him a file on her son's work with A.I.M., which he had not asked for and held key information regarding Chad's death, showing that he had worked along with Jack Taggart. Stark told Davis that he believed her son did not commit suicide but was instead used as a weapon, at which point Davis realized Stark was not who she expected.
Stark and Davis were then interrupted by Brandt, who revealed she was the one that contacted Davis and attempted to arrest Stark. When the Rose Hill Sheriff tried to stop this and questioned what was happening, Brandt claimed to be from Homeland Security before she suddenly used her Extremis powers to murder the Sheriff while Davis hid the file and Stark ran out, still handcuffed. Outside, Stark encountered Eric Savin, forcing him to run for his safety.
Harley Keener briefly distracted Savin before he could shoot Stark. Pursued by Brandt into a restaurant, Stark was forced to fight against the highly trained soldier with no weapons to defend himself. As they fought, Stark noticed that Brandt could heal from most injuries and super-heat anything she touched, using this to burn through his handcuffs. Stark bought himself time to set up a bomb by igniting some fuel with his cuffs to block Brandt's way.
While Brandt walked through the flames, Stark put Chad's dog tags in the microwave and opened a gas valve. As she stepped inside the kitchen, Stark joked that he had dated hotter girls than Brandt, who was currently on fire, and she questioned if those would be his final words. Stark replied that they could be the title of his autobiography before fleeing outside and hiding behind an ice machine. An explosion then erupted, killing Brandt.
As Stark recovered from his fight with Brandt, he suddenly witnessed Savin using his own Extremis powers to bring a water tower crashing down, trapping Stark underneath all of the debris. Savin then held Keener hostage in order to regain Davis' file, but Stark reminded Keener about the flash grenade he had given him from the Mark XLII Armor; this allowed Keener to escape, allowing Stark to then blast Savin with a secret spare repulsor.
Stealing Savin's car keys from his pocket, Stark commandeered his car, taking off with the file from Davis. As Stark prepared to leave, he was followed by Keener, who insisted that Stark thank him for saving him from Savin, but Stark insisted that Keener instead go home to his mother and protect the Mark XLII armor until Stark contacted him. As he left, Stark did thank Keener for all his help but teased him as he drove out of Rose Hill.
Locating the Mandarin
While driving Eric Savin's car, Stark called James Rhodes, who was overseas hunting down the Mandarin as well. Stark reminded Rhodes how last time he had vanished, Rhodes had searched for him before requesting the login to his Comsat. Rhodes eventually revealed that his password was "WARMACHINEROX", much to Stark's great amusement and Rhodes' own embarrassment.
Stark found a nearby pageant and broke into a WZPZ van in order to use their computers to find out what he needed to know. While inside, Stark was confronted by the cameraman Gary, who froze upon realizing who was there as he was a huge fan of Stark and the Avengers, noting that he had not believed Stark was killed in the destruction of his mansion. Stark amused all of Gary's requests to show his tattoo of Stark and recruited his help.
Stark used Gary's own satellite connection to hack into A.I.M.'s systems, which the file reported was responsible for Chad Davis' death. He watched footage of Aldrich Killian recruiting Davis along with Ellen Brandt and Jack Taggart before they were injected with Extremis, which enhanced their strength and regrew their limbs. Upon seeing one test subject exploding, Stark realized Killian must have sold his technology to the Ten Rings to use as human weapons.
Stark called Harley Keener to check on how the suit was doing; the armor was now 58% charged, and J.A.R.V.I.S. kept saying the wrong word at the end of each sentence. Asking for the Mandarin's location, Stark heard Miami was it; thinking J.A.R.V.I.S. had misspoke again, Stark asked Keener to read it aloud. To Stark's shock, the location was correct; this sent him into a panic attack, as he did not have any of his armors or a way to call in the Avengers to help.
Trying to keep Stark calm as he recalled the Battle of New York, which made him panic even more, Keener suggested that Stark build his own gadgets if he would now have to defend himself when he would confront both Killian and the Mandarin. The sudden thought of being independent and focusing on his work snapped Stark out of his panic attack as he drove away towards a gardening store to buy some supplies, macgyvering them into makeshift weapons.
Learning the Truth
With all of his new homemade gadgets now ready, Stark prepared to infiltrate the Mandarin’s home and finally confront and possibly even kill the terrorist in revenge for all of the lives he had endangered, including Happy Hogan. Taking position outside the walls, Stark used binoculars to spy on the compound, spotting several guards watching the entire area as he planned to get past them.
Jumping over the wall, Stark infiltrated the mansion as quickly as he could. Using all his wits and fighting skills, Stark successfully and swiftly knocked out several of the guards, using his newly-made gadgets to gain the advantage as he fired knockout darts at the guards, and used an electrified glove and homemade grenades to get past them all. Stark eventually made it inside the building, where he continued to search through the rooms for the Mandarin.
Stark eventually found a large bedroom filled with movie props, along with the Mandarin's wardrobe; there were also signs that someone was living inside and Stark came upon two half-naked women in the bed. Hearing someone enter from the bathroom, Stark then hid; the Mandarin entered, speaking in a British accent. Stark ambushed him, holding the Mandarin at gunpoint, and was surprised by the sudden cowardly reaction from the terrorist, demanding answers.
To his horror, Stark soon learned that "the Mandarin" was nothing more than a character the actor, Trevor Slattery, had been hired to play; Slattery was given endless amounts of drugs and anything else he desired in return for taking the blame for the explosions. The person who had employed him was Aldrich Killian, who needed to cover up the failures of his Extremis program. Just then, Stark was knocked unconscious by Eric Savin, who took him hostage.
Aldrich Killian's Hostage
Upon awakening in captivity at Aldrich Killian's mansion, Stark was shocked and angered to learn that Maya Hansen was working for A.I.M.; she had used the formula he wrote down in a drunken daze after their night together to better stabilize Extremis but needed money so she joined Killian. Although having forgotten all about the equation he gave her, Stark refused to help Hansen better understand it and expressed his disgust over her losing her soul, since he remembered her as a woman who used to have a moral psychology and a sense of right and wrong. Stark tried to appeal to what remained of Hansen's humanity to make her help him escape.
Their conversation was interrupted when Killian arrived and revealed the reasons behind A.I.M.’s actions, and how he was grateful to Stark for teaching him that he needed to control the chaos from behind the scenes. Killian expressed that since Stark left him behind on the roof in Switzerland, it gave him a sense of desperation, which changed his life. Killian went on to discuss Trevor Slattery's role as the Mandarin, acknowledging his over-the-top personality.
Killian compared Slattery's Mandarin performance to him creating a terrorist like Osama Bin Laden or Muammar Gaddafi to blame his failures on. Expressing his desire for Stark to suffer desperation, Killian revealed he had captured Pepper Potts and was infecting her with Extremis, leaving her in danger of exploding; Stark would be now forced to help improve Extremis in order to save Potts' life, with Killian cruelly noting how much pain she was currently in.
While Stark struggled to look at the video feed of the woman he loved suffering, Killian offered to pay him for helping them and began to strangle Stark. Hansen, realizing he had gone too far, demanded Stark's release by threatening to kill herself with an overdose of Extremis and wound Killian in the blast, whilst depriving him of his chief researcher. Stark watched in horror and sadness as Killian murdered her without any remorse. As Killian left Stark to think about his next move, Stark angrily called him a maniac for killing Hansen while Killian claimed to be a "visionary".
- "Put down your weapons, tie yourselves to those chairs, I'll let you live. In five, four... Bang! You should be gone by now. You should have already been gone."
- ―Tony Stark[src]
Stark was left guarded by two of Aldrich Killian's henchmen, one of whom broke Harley Keener's sister's watch. Once he learned the correct time, Stark worked out that his suit would be charged by now and offered the henchmen, one of whom he nicknamed “Ponytail Express”, a chance to escape, believing that it would arrive in seconds; however, this led to an awkward period of Stark awaiting his suit which took considerably longer than he expected to arrive.
The reason being that the doors to Keener's barn the pieces were being kept in were chained shut, and therefore the rest of the armor was trapped. Summoning his Mark XLII all the way from Keener's home, Stark was given one of his gauntlets, which he used to shoot Ponytail Express and free himself. A boot then attached itself onto Stark’s leg to give him the advantage in the fight against his captors, although Stark still questioned where the rest of the armor was.
Having escaped captivity, Stark was forced to battle several guards from A.I.M., despite only getting a hand and leg part of his suit for the duration of the fight. Stark found that this greatly affected how he could fight, as he struggled to maintain control of flying while wearing only the pieces of armor he had. When one guard grabbed Stark from behind, Stark used the boot’s repulsor to launch himself backwards and knock out the guard, stealing his gun in the process.
Keener soon freed the rest of the parts of the Mark XLII, knowing that Stark was in need of his armor. Once the guards were all knocked out, Stark prepared to shoot the last one, only to be amused when the man quickly surrendered to him as he claimed to hate working for Killian and A.I.M.. The rest of the suit arrived and Stark made his way through the facility. He greeted J.A.R.V.I.S. while seeing the Iron Patriot Armor fly off, with his own suit failing to fly.
To Stark's surprise, he ran into James Rhodes, who he thought was in the armor; it turned out that the Iron Patriot suit was stolen by Eric Savin in order to kidnap President Matthew Ellis. Needing a way to go after Killian, Stark and Rhodes interrogated Trevor Slattery, waking him from another drunken stupor. Seeking to save the President, Stark remembered that Slattery had been given a speedboat from Killian and demanded it.
Onboard Slattery's boat, Stark called Vice President Rodriguez to warn him that President Ellis was about to be attacked by Savin posing as the Iron Patriot, with Rodriguez informing them that Ellis was about to board Air Force One. After Rodriguez promised to handle the situation, Stark and Rhodes next discussed who they had time to save, Pepper Potts or President Ellis. Stark decided to remote control his armor so they could save both of them.
To protect President Matthew Ellis, Stark remote-controlled his armor to Air Force One, where Eric Savin had already forced President Ellis into the Iron Patriot armor and sent it away. Fighting Savin, Iron Man's armor was briefly disabled by the man’s Extremis powers, but he soon managed to shoot directly through Savin's chest and kill him, though at the cost of the plane falling apart around him.
To his horror, Iron Man witnessed all of the passengers onboard being sucked out of the plane through a hole caused by a bomb Savin had planted and now plummeting thousands of feet to the ocean below. With everyone else falling, Iron Man flew out of Air Force One just before it exploded, asking J.A.R.V.I.S. how he could save them all. J.A.R.V.I.S. informed him that the Mark XLII could not carry that many people at the same time.
With no time to spare, Iron Man grabbed ahold of Heather and told her to in turn grab whoever she could reach, explaining that he would send a shockwave through her body so that Heather could not let go of them. Iron Man saved two other passengers while diving down to collect the others, quickly running out of time as they fell towards the ocean. Forming a human chain by the passengers grabbing each other, Iron Man dove for the final passenger once everyone was linked.
With everyone now connected, Iron Man used his thrusters to give them more height before he then safely deposited them in a river. As the people cheered in celebration, Iron Man ensured that they were all okay and complimented the group before turning around to return to the boat and save Pepper Potts. However, when Iron Man was not looking, the armor was knocked apart by an incoming truck, smashing into pieces across the road.
Still back onboard the boat, Stark took off his Mark XLII Telepresence Headset and confirmed to James Rhodes that he had indeed saved the passengers. As they prepared to move on to find Potts and Aldrich Killian, Stark was then informed by J.A.R.V.I.S. that the rubble had been cleared out from his Malibu Mansion, finally allowing him to reactivate the Iron Legion. Stark ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to send the suits to him ready for the next battle against Killian's soldiers.
Stark and James Rhodes had eventually traced Aldrich Killian to an impounded oil tanker called the Norco where he now intended to kill President Matthew Ellis on live television. Sneaking in, they were attacked by several Extremis Soldiers. Stark fired his gun at the soldiers, but was unable to stop them due to poor aim, which Rhodes mocked him about. Taking out a light from a long distance, Rhodes quickly proved himself to be the superior marksman due to his training in the Armed Forces which greatly annoyed Stark.
Outnumbered, Stark summoned the Iron Legion to their aid, all of which were currently being controlled by J.A.R.V.I.S., except the Mark XLII, which was running late after trying to save the president in Air Force One. Rhodes looked on in amazement as all the armors flew in together and lined up, awaiting the orders of Stark. Taking delight in his achievements, Stark then wished J.A.R.V.I.S. a Merry Christmas before sending all of the armors into battle, ordering them to target the Extremis Soldiers with extreme prejudice. Stark watched the battle unfolding, ordering Mark XXXVIII to hold up the platform under them and Mark XVII to assist Mark XXXV in the fight.
Stark donned the Mark XXXIII suit and prepared to fly into battle, as Rhodes requested his own armor to fight in. Stark, however, revealed that the armors were only coded to himself and therefore, he had to send the Mark XVII to carry Rhodes to find both President Ellis and the Iron Patriot Armor, much to Rhodes' annoyance. Stark then flew across the battlefield in search for Pepper Potts so that he could take her away from the battle towards safety.
While his suits continued to fight all of the enhanced soldiers, with several of the armors being torn apart by their Extremis powers, Iron Man eventually found Potts unharmed underneath wreckage from a recent explosion. He mocked her about all of this happening because she spent time with Maya Hansen, while trying to get her out without risking the structure falling and crushing her. Reaching out, Iron Man and Potts were able to grab each other's hands.
However, before Stark could free Potts, Aldrich Killian unexpectedly attacked him and damaged the armor's Arc Reactor. Pinning Iron Man down, Killian began slowly burning through his suit with his finger, taunting that Stark should close his eyes and die. Refusing to give in, however, Stark was forced to cut off Killian's arm with the armor's hidden blade and eject from the suit, only for Killian's still red-hot severed arm to burn through the floor underneath Potts.
Seeing that Potts was trapped and being pulled towards a sheer edge, Stark charged through the battlefield as he demanded that J.A.R.V.I.S. provide him with a new suit. As he ran across the Norco, Stark failed to get a new armor and was informed that Rhodes had rescued President Ellis and was taking him to safety. With all of the Extremis Sol