|For other uses, see Iron Man (disambiguation)|
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. Due to their assistance in both these battles, 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, almost losing Pepper Potts in the process. In the wake of the battle, Stark destroyed all of his armors with the Clean Slate Protocol. 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.
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 Stark. When Stark discovered the key to travel through time, he rejoined the Avengers to undo the Snap, traveling back in time to retrieve the Scepter and then to regain the Tesseract. During the Battle of Earth, Stark heroically sacrificed himself to eliminate Thanos and his armies, who traveled through time to collect the Infinity Stones, saving the universe from decimation, and leaving behind a legacy as one of Earth's most revered superheroes.
- "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
Anthony Stark was born on Friday, May 29, 1970, in Manhattan, New York City, to Howard and Maria Stark. Tony had become good friends with Edwin Jarvis, the butler of Stark's family, who watched over Tony throughout all of his childhood. Tony's early life was often dominated by the absence of his own father, who he would later describe as both 'cold' and 'calculating'. Growing up, Tony had issues with Howard, who never told his son that he loved, or even liked him. Since Tony was so young, Howard never was able to tell his son his plans for him. Howard would constantly talk about his admiration for Captain America, which caused Tony to develop hatred and resentment towards the super soldier. However, Tony had a loving relationship with his mother, who was more gentle and nurturing; he enjoyed hearing Maria play the piano.
At a young age, Tony 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 Tony's childhood that annoyed him was the nanny who cared for him until he was fourteen. While he was in high school, Tony hacked into the Pentagon on a dare by some friends. Tony was admitted early into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met James Rhodes and they became lifelong best friends. At sixteen, Tony won the 4th Annual MIT Robot Design Award. When Tony was seventeen, he graduated summa cum laude from MIT.
Losing his Parents
In December 1991, when Stark was just twenty-one, 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 Tony would be while they were gone. Sadly, the couple died in a car crash in Long Island, 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, Tony's long-serving family butler, Edwin Jarvis, also died.
CEO of Stark Industries
Rebuilding the Company
A few months later, at age 21, 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
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 him to Doctor Wu, although Stark swiftly dismissed them both and moved through the party.
While moving throughout the hotel with Happy Hogan and Hansen, Stark then arrogantly avoided a gifted but crippled scientist, Aldrich Killian, who wanted Stark's financial backing for his 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.
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 leading towards each other for a passionate kiss.
However, Hogan inadvertently caused a small explosion by touching the plant, causing a brief moment of panic. Stark sent Hogan away and then spent the night with Hansen, leaving Killian freezing and humiliated on the rooftop. Stark was unaware of Killian's suffering and woke up the next morning in Hansen's hotel room while she was working. Stark completed Hansen's formula for her before walking out and returning home, leaving Hansen behind.
Testing Weapons in Arizona
Stark and James Rhodes went to a weapon demonstration at the Yuma Proving Ground. Pepper Potts gave the weapon's specifics to the generals while Stark and Rhodes went to a nightclub. Stark enjoyed the company of two girls while Rhodes tried to convince him not to go to Afghanistan for the demonstration of Jericho. Stark was then attacked by a man whose girlfriend he previously seduced, but Rhodes was able to defeat the attacker. Stark, Rhodes and the girls went to Tony Stark's 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
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.
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 his bodyguard, 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 Tony Stark's 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. His assistant, Pepper Potts, later arrived in the workshop and reminded Stark about his trip to Afghanistan. Stark remained complacent, unfazed about being late as it was his own plane 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 in June, 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
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 asking the soldier 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 bombs 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 and 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 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 with him and an electromagnet attached to his chest. Hooked up to a car battery, Yinsen explained that the electromagnet kept the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. Yinsen went on to explain how they had once met in Bern during the 1990s 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 drowning him in freezing water 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 that 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. 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, which they would soon embed into his chest to supply energy to the electromagnet protecting his heart. 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. Yinsen was both impressed and inspired by Stark's plan and then assisted him in installing the Arc Reactor inside his chest.
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 call Gulmira where he had a family who he intended to see once he was free on the cave. 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 next very 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
- "Thank you for saving me."
"Don't waste it. Don't waste your life."
- ―Tony Stark and Ho Yinsen
Soon, the pair enacted their escape plan with Stark being slowly fitted into the armor 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 arrived and killed 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, Iron Man waited in the shadows as the Ten Rings soldiers 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. Iron Man began making his way through the cave, killing any Ten Rings terrorist he came across by striking him with his armor. When Iron Man accidentally trapped his arm in a wall, a terrorist attempted to kill him by shooting him point-blank in the head, only for the bullet to bounce off and kill the terrorist instead, with Iron Man freeing himself and continuing forward on his escape mission.
Coming around a corner near the exit, Iron Man was mortified to find Yinsen lying mortally wounded having been shot multiple times during the escape attempt. However, Yinsen was just able to warn Iron Man before Raza fired a rocket launcher at his former hostage. Iron Man 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.
Iron Man rushed to Yinsen's side and urged him to get back onto his feet so he could go to Gulmira be reunited with his family. However, Yinsen revealed that 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 used the suit's flame-throwers to kill several terrorists, destroy their stockpile of Stark Industries produced weapons that had been stolen from him and used against the United States Armed Forces which he despised, causing several massive fireball explosions to erupt all around him.
Due to the massive amount of bullets being fired at him, the Iron Man suit was eventually badly damaged by the gunfire, forcing Stark to escape using the jetpacks while the entire Ten Rings Base erupted in a massive fireball. Iron Man 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 original armor in the desert.
Stark began making his way through the desert, using his jacket to protect himself from the intense heat until finally, a 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
- "I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them, and I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero accountability."
- ―Tony Stark
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 in 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. 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 on his chest that was now keeping him alive. Although Stane insisted that the Arc Reactor was designed by Howard Stark and Anton Vanko as a publicity stunt, he eventually agreed to help Stark provided Stark inform him 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 James 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 the Mansion, focusing on improving the design of his new armored suit, refining its size, movement, and flight capability far beyond the original design. Stark was aiding in building the new suit by Dum-E and U who he had constantly mocked and insulted.
Recalling how the Mark I 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, but quickly discovered it was vastly more powerful than he expected and he was launched straight up and painfully crashed into the ceiling.
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 joined by Pepper Potts who mistakenly believed that 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 that 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 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.
Stark eventually perfected the flight power after much trial and error, taking the silver Mark II suit 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.
Iron Man cheered in utter delight as he soared high across the sky over California and shouted out in delight at his success, using the mask's system to zoom into the city where a young boy looked on in amazement upon seeing Iron Man. 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, Iron Man flew back to Tony Stark's 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
- "Have you seen this pictures? What's going on?"
"Tony, you can't afford to be this naive."
"I was naive before, when they said: Here's the line, we don't cross it, this is how we do business. If we're double-dealing under the table... are we?"
- ―Tony Stark and Obadiah Stane
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 another man 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 naive 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 Iron Man 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 new suit and flew to Afghanistan. Knowing where Raza's men were attacking, Iron Man headed for Gulmira, the home village of Ho Yinsen. Upon arriving, Iron Man 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.
Iron Man 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, Iron Man ripped him through a wall and left him for the villagers to gain their own revenge. While Bakaar was being killed, Iron Man focused his efforts on destroying the Ten Rings entire stockpiles of the Stark Industries weapons.
During the battle, Iron Man was shot out of the sky by one of the Ten Rings' tanks, so Iron Man 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 Iron Man soon finding them directly behind him and attempting to lock on with their weapons, forcing Iron Man to use his new armor's upgraded flight systems to evade the attacks. As the jets continued targeting him, Iron Man 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 Iron Man during the chaos of the battle. The pilot ejected shortly afterwards, but his parachute jammed. Without hesitation, Iron Man 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 Tony Stark's Mansion, Iron Man 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
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 as Iron Man and destroy them. Potts, however, refused to help him on his mission as she feared that going into these active war-zones as Iron Man 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 Tony Stark's 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 but 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 Iron Monger Armor. To combat this, Stark put his Iron Man suit on and prepared to battle Stane. While Rhodes admired the suit which he called the coolest thing he had ever seen, Iron Man told him to keep the skies clear from the United States Armed Forces while he then flew out of his mansion.
Iron Man 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 Iron Man, who put all his suit's power into the Arc Reactor to knock Stane back. Having just caught the minivan and put it down, Iron Man was briefly run over by the family who were terrified by the experience.
As Iron Man recovered, Iron Monger struck again, hitting him with a passing motorcycle and smashing him into a nearby bus. While he was striking him, Obadiah Stane still continued to mock Iron Man by claiming that he had built Stark Industries up from nothing back when Howard Stark had been killed. Iron Monger then fired a missile at the bus, as Iron Man was consumed inside the fireball but was still protected by his suit, despite being launched high into the air.
While Iron Man hovered in the air, Iron Monger complimented him on his upgrades before noting that the Iron Monger Armor had upgrades of it's own before flying into the air to then chase him down. As they considered what to do J.A.R.V.I.S. had warned that the Mark III armor would not survive much longer while Iron Man 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, Iron Man soon found that the Iron Monger's superior power allowed him to quickly catch up with him. However, once Iron Monger had managed to grab hold of Iron Man, claiming that his own armor was more advanced in every way, Iron Man revealed to him that he had not solved the icing issue the Mark II armor had encountered, causing Iron Monger to lose power and then proceeded to fall out of the sky.
Losing his own power in the suit, Iron Man 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, Iron Man found himself at a disadvantage as Iron Monger got him in a bear hug and attempted to crush the suit with Stark still inside, until Iron Man managed to deploy his flares to briefly blind Stane, allowing him to get away for a moment.
While hiding from Stane, Stark told Pepper Potts that all his current attempts to defeat the Iron Monger 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 Iron Monger.
Iron Man proceeded to jump onto Iron Monger's back and ripped out important pieces of the Iron Monger Armor, taking out his targeting system and effectively blinding Stane. However, Iron Monger soon managed to rip Iron Man off his back and then threw him across the rooftop, taking off his own helmet as a result. Iron Man was then left almost defenseless with barely any power left in his suit to fight back against Stane, who opened up armor and revealed himself.
While he crushed Iron Man's helmet, Stane began mocking Stark by claiming that he had finally made his father proud before shooting at him, with Stark managed to block with his gauntlet despite the glass floor underneath him before 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 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
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 Iron Monger 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 Obadiah 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 the 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 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
Unfortunately, Stark's own life was not as good as it appeared. Stark was facing a double threat. The first was in the form of his own heart: the Arc Reactor palladium core was poisoning him due to overuse of the Iron Man armor. To maintain appearance, 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 take all of his technology away from him.
Starting the Expo
- "I'm not saying the world is enjoying its longest period of uninterrupted peace in years because of me. I'm not saying that from the ashes of captivity, never has phoenix metaphor been more personified in human history!"
- ―Tony Stark
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 and that 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 him in an effort to force Stark's decision. Competitor Justin Hammer tried to plead his case in the matter; Stark took this opportunity to embarrass both Hammer and Stern with a collection of footage of Hammer and others around the world attempting to recreate the technology. Stark arrogantly stated that it would be years before anyone would be able to successfully recreate the tech.
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
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 both 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, CEO of Stark Industries. When Potts arrived in his workshop, she and Stark had an argument about Stark's own lack of interest in his company and their resources ever since becoming Iron Man at which point he informed her that he had decided to promote her. Although Potts did not at first believe that Stark 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 the job over 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' new replacement as his own personal assistant, Natalie Rushman. Although Hogan hit Stark around the head, he proceeded to kick him away and beat him into surrendering before inviting Rushman into the ring. Stark looked into Rushman's eyes before inviting Hogan to train with her instead.
Stark then sat down with Potts to discuss Rushman, with Stark bringing up her history files and noting that she even spoke Latin and had once been an underwear model. While they were speaking Stark and Potts witnessed Rushman 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 Rushman was gone, Stark told Potts that he needed her.
Monaco Grand Prix
- "What's the point of owning a race car if you can't drive it?"
- ―Tony Stark
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 for 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 his 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. Seeing that the Arc Reactor's poisoning of his body due to the levels of palladium it was emitting into his skin. Looking up at the mirror and seeing that he likely did not have much time left until he eventually died 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 Justin Hammer, much to Hammer's annoyance as he would once again be taking the spotlight away.
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. Despite Stark's best efforts to gain the upper hand once he escaped from the car before it could be sliced in half, Whiplash's armored weapons managed to get the better of Stark who was defenseless.
As Whiplash prepared to rip Stark apart, Stark was forced to use his own wits and cunning to escape the deadly whips Vanko was using. Managing to get behind Whiplash, 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, while he did manage to trick him into striking the whips onto gasoline, causing an explosion which separated the pair from each other for a brief time.
With Whiplash 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 by Whiplash. However, with the aid of the sudden arrival of both Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan, who had driven their car into the race track and successfully managed to crash their own car into Whiplash, 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, Whiplash 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 Stark to don the Mark V armor ready to do battle against his would-be assassin in the middle of the track, with Iron Man now with the advantage.
Using his new suit, Iron Man attempted to subdue Whiplash by firing his repulsor rays at his attacker, but Whiplash was able to block those blows with his own armor before managing to strangle Iron Man with his whips and fling him across the racetrack into Hogans car and then back the other way, tightening the whips around his neck and sending him volts of electricity from the whips which slowly destroyed the suit while Vanko looked on smiling.
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 Whiplash. Once he was close enough he punched him in the face a few times before ripping the Arc Reactor out of his chest and crushing it in his hand. As Whiplash was being dragged away by the police, he then spat out his own blood before laughing and claiming that Stark had now lost.
Meeting with Ivan Vanko
Afterward, Stark decided to pay a visit to Ivan Vanko personally while he was being held in a French prison to learn how he acquired the technology, being led there by Lemieux. Once they were alone, Stark commented on Vanko's technology and even suggested ways that he could improve it, thinking that he would never actually get a chance to.
During the conversation, Vanko revealed that he was the son of Anton Vanko, who 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. Vanko also mentioned that was he fully aware of Stark's current heart poisoning, saying that it was a terrible way to die, laughing out loud to himself as Stark left.
Whiplash's Attack Aftermath
Despite Ivan Vanko having been put in prison for his crimes, the response to another man using the Arc Reactor technology was immediate, with Senator Stern giving interviews on TV could Stark's failure. While on his private jet returning to the United States of America, Stark made dinner for Pepper Potts as they discussed the aftermath of the attack, with Stark even suggesting that he quit being Iron Man from now on.
Stark returned to his home where he and J.A.R.V.I.S. tried to find a solution in finding a new power source for the Arc Reactor as well as looking at the history files of Ivan Vanko and his father Anton Vanko, who had formally worked for Stark Industries years earlier before being deported under the orders of Howard Stark. While at his home he was visited by James Rhodes, who came to berate Stark about the military's wish to take his suits. However, Rhodes realized how unwell Stark was and assisted him by changing the Arc Reactor palladium core. Rhodes tried to convince Stark that he did not have to do his journey alone although Stark still remained skeptical.
Feeling more depressed about his future, Stark considered canceling his birthday party which was now being prepared at his Mansion. Stark was then visited by Natalie Rushman, who came to give him a choice of watches to wear. Stark posed these questions to Rushman, asking what she would do with only a few days left to live, with Rushman telling him that she would do whatever she wanted with whoever 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, putting on his Iron Man Armor and partying with the many other guests who had come to celebrate. He invited Natalie Rushman to wear one of his gauntlets and fire it at ice sculpture, taking great pleasure in the destruction before joining the other guests and drinking more alcohol shots to get himself even further drunk and even harder to keep in control.
While wearing the Iron Man armor and indulged in many dangerous activities, such as using his repulsor blasts to destroy a watermelon, Stark 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 foolishly. Despite Potts taking the microphone away from Stark and trying to tell the guests that it was time to go home, Stark would not listen to reason and instead insisted that his party keep going as he continued to reckless as he used his Iron Man Suit to entertain his drunk guests within his mansion, much to Potts' and Rhodes' dismay as they looked on in horror.
In the end, Stark's actions became more and more dangerous and foolish, forcing his friend, Rhodes, to intervene. Rhodes donned Stark's Iron Man: Mark II armor and ordered the guests out of the room before demanding that Stark get out of the suit. Stark 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 Stark into his upstairs bedroom.
Eventually, after almost destroying all in the mansion in the resulting fight, Stark managed to subdue Rhodes by smashing his head down against the kitchen counter, roaring at the onlookers to force them to flee. As Rhodes recovered, they both then fired their repulsors at each other, which caused a massive explosion. With Stark out of the fight, Rhodes then delivered the armor to the United States Armed Forces while Stark could only look on.
Rediscovering the Element
Nick Fury's Help
In the aftermath of his battle with James Rhodes, Stark took the armor and flew to Randy's Donuts in California, buying himself a box of Donuts and enjoying them in the middle of the Donut sign above the shop. Just as he was relaxing in the morning sun, Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., approached Stark and ordered him to come inside.
Taking a seat inside, Stark 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 Stark that Natalie Rushman was in fact the undercover agent Black Widow, who Stark tried and failed to fire from Stark Industries. As Stark and Fury continued their conversation, Romanoff gave Stark an injection which slowed down the poison in his veins caused by his Arc Reactor before Fury reassured him that somewhere there was a cure and he simply had not discovered it yet, despite Stark insisting that he had already looked everywhere and found nothing.
Returning to the 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 Stark's father was one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founders and left Stark to go through his belongings to find the cure, leaving Agent Phil Coulson to watch 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 the notebook with the drawings of a "hypercube" and two Captain America comic books. Watching an old tape of his father, Stark discovered a hidden message where his father told him that he was proud of his son and viewed him as his greatest creation.
Stark then drove to the Stark Industries Headquarters, buying some strawberries along the way and met with Pepper Potts who tried to inform him she was too busy to talk. Once Stark got her attention, he attempted to apologize in his 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 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 proved to be a diagram of a new element's atomic structure. Stark took the model into his car 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 scan so he 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 the globe in the center, with Stark thanking 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, putting together 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 put through the walls while he aimed it at its target. As the laser hit the newly designed Arc Reactor he 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 would be able to keep him alive while powering his Iron Man suits for the foreseeable future, Stark then continued work on 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 still set 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 upgraded his Whiplash Armor to be ready for their next battle, Stark donned the Mark VI 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 before he suited up and flew off to the Stark Expo to then confront Vanko and stop his evil plans of revenge.
- "Rhodey, you still locked on?"
"Drop your socks and grab your Crocs. We’re about to get wet on this ride."
- ―Iron Man and War Machine
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 armor known as the War Machine Armor: Mark I. 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.
Vanko seized control of both the drones and Rhodes' armor, setting them all to attack Iron Man, who then flew across the Expo in his desperate attempt to lose his attackers and cause them all to crash, while ordering J.A.R.V.I.S. to regain control of War Machine. During the battle, Iron Man did all he could to save the hundreds of people fleeing during the chaos, managing to save Peter Parker who was mistaken for him by a drone for wearing an Iron Man mask.
Quickly running out of options as War Machine continued to fire upon him using Hammer Industries weapons, Iron Man did all he could to take out the drones, flying them all away from the civilians before leading them straight into the main globe in the center. Using the Iron Man Armor: Mark VI's superior maneuvering abilities, Iron Man had managed to escape and caused 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 War Machine, who was still being controlled by Vanko. Iron Man tried desperately to block War Machine's attacks, holding his mini gun at bay until Black Widow had successfully managed to override all of Vanko's programming, having broken into the Hammer Industries Headquarters, with a little help from Happy Hogan, despite failing to arrest Vanko.
Showdown with Whiplash
- "You have a big gun, you are not the big gun."
"Tony, don't be jealous."
"No, it's subtle. All the bells and whistles."
"Yeah, it's called being a badass."
- ―Iron Man and War Machine
Iron Man knocked War Machine back before Black Widow confirmed that he was safe at last and in control of his own armor, before also complimenting Stark on his new element which had now stopped his palladium poisoning, causing Pepper Potts to confront Stark for not telling her he was dying. While Potts had Justin Hammer arrested, Stark helped Rhodes back onto his feet.
Knowing that the last remaining Hammer Drones would be coming to their location, both Iron Man and War Machine then set out 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 arguing 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 War Machine, with nowhere to escape to, the pair donned their own helmets and prepared for battle, firing their weapons at the attacking Drones which outnumbered them.
As the battle then commenced, Iron Man and War Machine found that although they could easily defeat each Drone, the numbers began to overwhelm them. While War Machine 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 laser attack to slice all of the remaining Drones in half and finally win the fight.
Eliminating the other drones, Iron Man and War Machine 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 drones. This was revealed to be Whiplash in his new, more powerful suit of Armor. Attempting to kill Whiplash before the fight could even begin, War Machine armed the Ex-Wife Missile, only for it to fail and not even dent the armor, with Iron Man then noting that it was clearly a Hammer Industries weapon due to it being useless in battle.
Iron Man then engaged in a fierce battle with Whiplash, with himself and War Machine throwing all they had at defeating him or maybe damaging his armor enough to cause him to surrender. However, they both found that not only was Whiplash's armor too strong, but he had improved his whips to the point they were more dangerous than ever before and they both soon found themselves overpowered by Vanko's improved technology as well as weapons.
Whiplash soon managed to gain the upper hand in the battle when he succeeded in wrapping his electrified whips around Iron Man and War Machine's throats and slowly tightening them, hoping to break their necks. With no other choice, Iron Man called on War Machine to use the technique they discovered during the Duel at Tony Stark's 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 War Machine found Ivan Vanko lying on the battlefield, with not only his new Whiplash 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 his 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 then flew to rescue anybody remaining there before they exploded and caused major casualties.
Iron Man raced to save Pepper Potts amid the series of explosions, pulling her away just in time. Seeing the chaos that Stark brought with him, Potts quit her position as CEO of Stark Industries, but Stark only teased her about the concept of leaving him before she and Stark kissed each other. Rhodes revealed he was there before he departed with the Mark II armor without serious objection from Stark, leaving them where Stark refused to accept her 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 said 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 Whiplash 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.
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, which Stark bought and arranged 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 War Machine armor and stripped it of all of the new Hammer Industries weapons and turned it back into the Mark II. When James 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. 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 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. in which Loki had attacked some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and stolen the Tesseract, and had also taken Erik Selvig and Clint Barton as his mind-controlled slaves. 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, Bruce Banner 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. Stark commented on Rogers' 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, who broke in and subdued Iron Man before he could fight back before ripping Loki out from his seat before flying away, leaving Stark and Rogers behind.
While Thor threatened Loki atop a mountain in order to learn exactly who Loki intended to give the Tesseract to, 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. 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 400% 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 Mark VI 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, and being told that he had come to put an end to Loki's schemes. Then Rogers 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 the hammer and knocked through a three just when Thor attacked Rogers. After matching Mjølnir with his shield, the Avengers managed to calm and recruit Thor, 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 Steve Rogers comparing it to a HYDRA weapon. While Rogers 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 Rogers 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 Rogers 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 Rogers was unconvinced. Banner noted that Loki's comments could have been referring to Stark Tower and the power it supplied. Rogers once again told Stark to remain focused on locating Loki, only for Stark to insult his Uniform and send him out of his lab. Stark commented on how his father had so often admired Rogers 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
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 could not, 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 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 Rogers who claimed that Stark was not a hero but a selfish man in a suit of armor, while Stark noted that Rogers 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 a 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.
- "Cap, hit the lever."
"I need a minute here!"
- ―Iron Man and Captain America
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 Stark went inside the engine: However, Stark was soon frustrated when Rogers 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 suit's power 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 Rogers was now busy fighting Loki's own soldiers. Iron Man was briefly trapped and badly damaged by the propeller until Rogers 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
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 Steve Rogers about how Coulson did not 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 the alien army forth, commenting on how Loki wanted his victory to 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 recreated the other available Avengers while Stark repaired the Mark VI 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 freed of 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 installed on the roof powered by the Tesseract that was now being controlled by 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 and landed and had the Mark VI armor removed and faced 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 two metal 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 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 it seemed Loki would brainwash him, it turned out the Arc Reactor 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; 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. Stark 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
Stark 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'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.
Stark fought off the Chitauri and tried to call James Rhodes, who told Stark 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 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 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.
Stark 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 Stark to take to the skies and take out more Chitauri and 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 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 did not were not as good at maneuvering their craft as he was. Iron Man did as recommended and successfully caused the Chitauri crafts 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 the Leviathan's armored skin, Iron Man took inspiration fro the tale of Jonah, Stark took out a Leviathan by flying head-first into its mouth and launching missiles from the inside, tearing it apart before crash landing on the street. However, Stark soon got battered by numerous attacks. Stark 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.
- "I got a nuke coming in, it's gonna blow in less than a minute. And I know just where to put it."
"Stark, you know that's a one way trip."
- ―Iron Man and Captain America
As the Battle of New York continued, the team found themselves still outnumbered and learned that Black Widow had now found a way to close the portal. Stark hindered this as Nick Fury has 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 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 armor in the process and then fell unconscious back through the portal just before it closed.
As Stark fell back to Earth, he was caught by Hulk who landed with him back on the ground. Captain America and Thor ran over to Stark who appeared to be dead, only for Hulk to scream in his face, waking him up. Stark said they should get some shawarma to celebrate, despite not knowing what shawarma was. Rogers 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, and 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 too late to aid in the 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. 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. When Stark was presenting how he could now charge his new armor from solar energy at Stark Tower, when he was suddenly attacked by a villain called the Melter, who he defeated and put him in the United States Armed Forces' custody with War Machine's assistance.
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.
- "And I guess 72 hours is a long time between siestas. Didn't think it could get any worse, then I had to go and turn on the TV. That's when he happened."
- ―Tony Stark
Six 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 summon various pieces of the armor when needed. He ignored J.A.R.V.I.S.'s concern about his lack of sleep, pointing out Albert Einstein went without a lot of sleep and invented many things. Stark recruited Dum-E and U to assist him in filming the newest test.
Some glitches with the new armor included the face plate and crotch plate, which hurt him if they impacted by themselves. With just the helmet to go, Stark noticed it was upside down so flipped himself over to help it fit. However, as Stark celebrated, a final piece knocked him over and caused the suit to fall apart. Right after testing the new armor, Stark watched the television, only to see that the terrorist 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 a Neptune's Net, where Stark 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 a too violent name, which would send the wrong message to children. Stark and Rhodes then discussed all of the Mandarin's attacks and how he was being hunted down.
Two kids asked Stark to sign a drawn picture of him diverting the nuclear missile to the portal above Stark Tower. The picture depicted Stark's near-death experience in the Battle of New York which lead him to have an anxiety attack as he recalled what he had seen while fighting the Chitauri. He immediately put on his Mark VII suit to test for any faults in his physiology, only to be told nothing was wrong. Stark then left to return home and resume work on his suits.
While at his home, Stark called Happy Hogan to get an update on what was happening at Stark Industries where Hogan was now head of security. Once Hogan had finished complaining about all of his experiences and embarrassments as Iron Man's bodyguard, Hogan told Stark that Pepper Potts was currently having a pitch meeting with Aldrich Killian at the Stark Industries Headquarters, although he failed to flip the screen to show Stark Killian's face.
Having discussed meeting Killian in Switzerland back in 1999, Stark and Hogan discussed if Hogan should follow Killian, as he did not trust him or Eric Savin who had come with him. While Hogan told 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, before Stark hung up the call and left his phone inside the wine cellar to continue working.
- "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
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 Potts was home and greeted him, Stark lied that he was breaking in the armor.
His ruse fell apart when she attempted to open the armor to kiss him; she went down to Stark's workshop for a crowbar, only to find him watching news reports on the Mandarin. Stark managed to quell Potts' anger by explaining that 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. He then admitted that probably the only reason he had not snapped is because she 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, he spent most of his time, even when she's asleep, building more and more of the Iron Legion to help protect her. Potts comforted him, understanding why he's been so distant from her since being involved with the Avengers. She then left to wash up for bed; however, Potts turned around and offered to have sex 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 had visions of himself going against the Chitauri Invasion, causing him to go into distress as he recalled almost dying while destroying the Chitauri Command Center. Potts attempted to wake and comfort him until his newest Mark XLII armor appeared, coming to Stark's aid, seeing Potts as a threat. Stark awoke and deactivated the armor, apologizing to a terrified Pepper who left him alone in bed.
Threatening the Mandarin
Stark's former bodyguard, now head of security, Happy Hogan was caught up inside the Destruction of the Chinese Theatre, seemingly caused by the Ten Rings working under the orders of the Mandarin. Stark visited him at the Los Angeles Mercy Hospital, ensuring that the nurses kept Downton Abbey, Hogan's favorite program, on Television and to make sure they all wore ID tags as Hogan was a stickler for those.
Having ensured that Hogan's health recovery was as comfortable as it could be, 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, with Stark turning around upon being asked this question.
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 gave away 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 recklessly gave up his real address. Stark spent his time in the workshop, creating a database on the Mandarin and recreated the explosion that left Happy Hogan in a coma, searching for any clues that he could find 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 3000 degrees. 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 remembered her as the "botanist" he met 13 years ago 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 it was not the case and that she needed to talk to him about the Mandarin, bluntly warning him that he would be killed within the week. As Potts met Hansen, Stark continued opposing Potts' desire for them to leave the city, insisting he needed to confront the terror group and could better protect her if they stayed. When Hansen tried to help move them out, Stark stopped her and ended up yelling in frustration about the giant custom rabbit had 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 which currently heading straight towards Tony Stark's 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 new Mark XLII armor onto Potts, protecting her as they slammed into the wall, 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 capabilities were not ready and needed time to charge, Iron Man continued fending off the several 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 helplesslt 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, Eric 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."
- ―Tony Stark to Pepper Potts
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 new Mark XLII was still his prototype and highly damaged from the attack, 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 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, the world at large believed him to be dead from the Destruction of Tony Stark's 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 to hear. Apologizing for putting her into harm's way, Stark stated that he now had to find the Mandarin and therefore, he still could not return back home just yet.
Stark broke into a workshop 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 Arc Reactor 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 then gave Keener a flash grenade from his suit, recognizing the signs of a kid who has been bullied, to which Keener accepted while Stark demanded Keener 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 the watch he was given was a Dora the Explorer watch. While 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 and the Avengers and whether or not the Chitauri would return, Stark started having another panic attack. At this point, Stark had admitted that he should have been on medication to deal with his Posttraumatic stress disorder. Having pulled himself back together and thrown a snowball at Keener, Stark asked where Mrs. Davis could be found, with Keener telling him where she was.
- "You walked right into this one. I've dated hotter chicks than you."
"Is that all you got? A cheap trick and cheesy one-liner?"
"Sweetheart, that could be the name of my autobiography."
- ―Tony Stark and Ellen Brandt
Seeking information, Stark set up a meeting with the mother of recently killed Extremis-infected soldier Chad Davis. Arriving outside the bar where he had been told he could find Davis, only to bump into Ellen Brandt, who complimented Stark on 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, which held key information regarding her son's death and 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 who had contacted Davis and attempted to arrest Stark. When the Rose Hill Sheriff attempted to stop this and questioned what was happening, Brandt then claimed to be 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.
As Stark ran, Harley Keener threw a snowball to distract Savin before he could shoot him. Followed by Brandt into a restaurant, Stark was forced to fight against the highly trained Brandt with no weapons to defend himself. As they fought, Stark noticed that Brandt could heal from most injuries and could 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 to block Brandt's way.
While Davis walked through the flames, Stark put Chad Davis' dog tag in the microwave and exposed some gas. As she stepped inside, Stark joked that he had dated hotter girls than Brandt, who was currently on fire, with Brandt questioning if those would be his final words. Stark told Brandt that those words 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 Eric Savin using his own Extremis powers to bring a water-tower crashing down, trapping Stark underneath all of the debris. Savin held Harley Keener hostage in order to regain Davis' file, but Stark reminded Keener about his flash grenade he had given Keener from the Mark XLII Armor; this allowed Keener to get away before Stark was able to 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 Mrs. 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 mom and protect the Mark XLII armor until Stark had contacted him. As he leaved, Stark did thank Keener for all his help but teased him as he drove out of Rose Hill, leaving Keener.
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 log in to Rhodes' Comsat, with Rhodes eventually revealing that his password was War Machine, 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, who noted that he had not believed Stark had been killed in the Destruction of his Mansion. Stark amused all of Gary's requests to show his tattoo of Stark and recruited his help.
Using Gary's own satellite connection to hack into A.I.M.'s systems, which the file reported was responsible for Chad Davis' death. Stark watched footage of Aldrich Killian recruited 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; with it now fifty eight percent 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 the location. To Stark's shock, the location was correct; this sent Stark into a panic attack, as he did not have any of his armors or a 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 then 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, McGuyvering several gadgets together.
Learning the Truth
- "The Mandarin, the real guy, where? Where’s the Mandarin?!"
"He's here. But he's not here. He's here, but he's not here."
"What do you mean?"
"It's complicated. Hey, it's complicated, all right?"
- ―Tony Stark and Trevor Slattery
With all of his new home made gadgets now ready, Stark prepared to infiltrate the Mandarin's home and finally confront and possibly even kill the Mandarin in revenge for all of the lives he had damaged, including Happy Hogan. Taking position outside the walls, Stark used binoculars to spy on the compound, spotting several guards watching the entire area as Stark 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 quickly knocked out several of the guards, using his newly made gadgets to gain the advantage as he fired knock out darts at the guards and using an electrified glove and home made grenades to get past them all and eventually get inside the building were Stark continued to search through the rooms for the Mandarin.
Stark eventually found a large room filled up with movie props, along with the Mandarin's wardrobe; there was also signs that someone was living in the room and Stark found 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 surprised him, holding the Mandarin at gunpoint, Stark was surprised by the sudden cowardly reaction from the terrorist and demanded 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. Stark was, however, knocked unconscious by Eric Savin who took Stark hostage.
Aldrich Killian's Hostage
- "What's next for you in your world?"
"I wanted to repay you with the same gift that you so graciously imparted to me. Desperation."
- ―Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian
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 had written 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 had given her, Stark refused to help Hansen further understand the formula and expressed his disgust over her losing her soul, as 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. 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 a Muammar Gaddafi to blame his failures on. Noting his desire for Stark to suffer desperation, Killian revealed he had captured Pepper Potts and was currently infecting her with Extremis; with Potts' life now in danger of ending up like the failures, Stark would be forced to help improve Extremis for her sake, with Killian noting how much pain Potts was currently in.
While Stark struggled to look at the video feed of the woman he loved suffering, Killian cruelly mocked how Potts was now at risk of exploding and began to strangle Stark, offering to pay him for helping them. Hansen, realizing Killian had gone too far, demanded Stark's release by threatening to kill herself with an overdose of Extremis and deprive Killian of one of his chief researchers. Stark watched in horror and sadness as Killian casually 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
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 the suit would be charged by now and offered the henchmen, one of who 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 they were being kept in were chained shut, and therefore the rest of the suit was trapped. Summoning his Mark XLII all the way from Keener's House, Stark was given one of his gauntlets which he used to shoot Ponytail Express and free himself, with a boot then attaching itself to his leg to give him the advantage in the fight against all the men, although Stark still questioned where all of the rest of the armor was.
Having escaped captivity, Stark was forced to fight against several guards from A.I.M., despite only getting a hand and leg part of the suit for the duration of the fight and finding 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 to launch himself backwards and knock out the guard, stealing his gun in the process.
Keener soon freed all the rest by destroying the lock with a powdery substance, 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 he 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, and his suit failed to fly.
To Stark's surprise, he ran into James Rhodes, who he thought was in the armor. It turned out that the Armor was being worn by Eric Savin in order to kidnapped President Matthew Ellis. Needing a way to go after Killian, Stark remembered Trevor Slattery, waking him from another drunken stupor. Seeking a way to save the President from being kidnapped. Stark then remembered that Slattery also had been given a speed boat from Killian and demanded it.
Onboard Slattery's boat, Stark called Vice President Rodriguez to inform 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. With Rodriguez promising to fix the situation. Stark and Rhodes next discussed who they had time to save, Pepper Potts or President Ellis, with Stark deciding to remote control his armor so they could save both of them.
- "Easy. Eleven more to go. Remember that game called Barrel of Monkeys? That's what we’re gonna do."
"Eighteen thousand feet."
"Come on, people! Everybody, grab your monkey!"
- ―Iron Man and J.A.R.V.I.S.
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 Savin's Extremis powers, but Iron Man soon managed to shoot directly through Savin's chest and killed him, but at the cost of the plane falling apart around him.
To his horror, Iron Man witnessed all of the passengers onboard were sucked out of the plane through a hall caused by a bomb Savin had planted and were now falling thousands of feet to the ground below. With everyone else falling, Iron Man flew out of Air Force One just before it exploded, questioning J.A.R.V.I.S. about how he could save them all, with J.A.R.V.I.S. informing 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 grab ahold of whoever she could, explaining that he would send a shockwave through her body so that she could not let go to them. Iron Man saved two other passengers while diving down to collect the others, swiftly running out of time as they fell towards the ground. Forming a human chain by grabbing everyone else, once everyone was linked, Iron Man dove for the final passenger.
With everyone now connected, Iron Man used his thrusters to give them more height before he then dropped them in a river at a safe height. As the people cheered in celebration, Iron Man ensured that they were all safe and complimented them before turning around to return to the boat and go save Pepper Potts. However, when Iron Man was not looking, the armor was knocked apart by an in-coming truck, smashing into lots of small pieces across the road.
Still back onboard the boat, Stark took off the Iron Man Mark XLII Telepresence Headset and then informed James Rhodes that he had indeed saved the passengers. As they moved on and prepared to go find Potts and Aldrich Killian, Stark was then informed by J.A.R.V.I.S. that the clear out of his Malibu Mansion had now finally allowed him to reactive the Iron Legion, so Stark ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to send them 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 being 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 the 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 wore the Mark XXXIII suit and prepared to fly into battle, with 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 get her away from the battle and then back towards safety.
While his suits continued to battle all of the Extremis Soldiers, with several of the armors being torn apart by the enhanced soldiers, Iron Man eventually found Potts unharmed underneath wreckage from a recent explosion. Iron Man 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, telling Stark to close his eyes and die. Refusing to give in, however, Stark was forced to cut off Killian's arm with the armors 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 battle field 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 and rescued President Ellis and was taking him to safety. With all of the Extremis Soldiers being kept at bay, Stark began catching up with Potts and leaped from one platform to the other to get to her.
Getting as close as he could, Stark was still unable to quite reach Potts and begged her to reach out for him as he stretched as far as he could to try and save her life. However, Stark was then forced to watch in utter horror, as a jolt from the platform she was on caused Potts to lose her grip as she fell into a pit of fire a hundred feet below to a certain death. Stark looked on with utter devastation as he failed to protect the one person he could not live without.
Showdown with Aldrich Killian
While Stark continued to react in horror, Aldrich Killian then appeared and even mocked Stark, claiming that if he was in Stark's position, he would have caught Pepper Potts. Infuriated, Stark then ran forward in order to engage in a final fight with Killian. When Killian leaped into the air to strike Stark, he then dived underneath him and donned the Mark XVI armor.
Even with his armor on, Tony found Killian was the superior fighter and the situation was made even worse by Killian's Extremis abilities, which could penetrate any armor with relative ease, using his red hot fists to cut through the metal armor and attempt to kill Iron Man. As their battle continued, Iron Man did all he could to subdue Killian, but found that he could withstand and heal from any strike and his strength also surpassed Stark's, even tearing off part of the Armor from his left hand and healing from having his left hand broken when they clashed their fists. When he was pinned down, Iron Man again exited his suit to avoid Killian's burning fist.
Having launched himself off the edge of the platform, Iron Man then donned the Mark XL in midair and attacked Killian once again. Iron Man flew Killian across the battle field but was still unable to tire him out, as all his attempts to stop Killian were met with superior fighting skills and his armor was once again cut to pieces by all of Killian's Extremis powers, with Killian almost cutting off Iron Man's leg before he was finally able to gain the upper hand.
Iron Man was able to avoid death once again by ejecting out of his suit seconds before Killian ripped it apart with his bare hands, falling hard on his back onto the platform below. Standing alone on the platform, Stark, now armor-less due to the rest of the Iron Legion being preoccupied with Stark's command to destroy all of Killian's Extremis Soldiers, awaited the arrival of the Mark XLII but was soon deflated when it crashed and disassembled once again.
Amused at Stark's failed attempt to don another armor to continuing fighting against him, Killian mockingly spoke to Stark about him not deserving Pepper Potts and claiming that he was close to making her perfect in his eyes by injecting her with Extremis. Stark told Killian that he was right that he did not deserve her but that she already was perfect and sent the Mark XLII onto Killian, trapping him with all the thrusters put on full power, pinning Killian against the wall.
As Killian yelled out in anger at seemingly being defeated, Stark then ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to let the armor self-destruct while he escaped. Diving down off the platform, Stark avoided the massive explosion behind him, which seemingly destroyed Killian once and for all. As the fireball continued to grow and destroyed most of the Norco, Stark summoned the Mark XV to catch him as the leaped for safety, only for the armor to fail on the way down by crashing into the platform, causing Stark to crash land, barely avoiding all of the flames and the debris that followed him down from the explosion.
- "You just scared the devil out of me. I thought you were..."
"I was dead. Why? Because I fell two hundred feet? Who's the hot mess now?"
"It's still debatable. Probably tipping your way a little bit."
- ―Tony Stark and Pepper Potts
Lying on the ground, Stark watched as the Mark XLII helmet fell into the fire before him and broke apart. Suddenly, Aldrich Killian emerged from the flames with most of his own skin destroyed seemingly beyond Extremis' ability of reconstruction and still intent on Stark's death. Stark was now powerless and at the mercy of Killian who called himself the Mandarin, saying that he was from the start.
During this proclamation, Pepper Potts, still alive due to the Extremis in her system, struck Killian to the ground with a large metal pipe, with Stark was left speechless. The Mark IX armor flew downward in an attack position. Stark failed to tell J.A.R.V.I.S. to disengage. Potts then jumped off a beam to impale the suit' donned one of the suits arms. Stark watched as Potts sent Killian flying backwards threw a missile at Killian and blew it up with a repulsor blast.
With Killian and all the Extremis Soldiers now dead for good, Stark approached the confused Potts who took a minute to realize what she had done while under the influence of the Extremis, calling it really violent. Stark and Potts teased each other about how he had thought she was dead while she joked about who was the bigger hot mess now. Stark apologized to Potts and promised to find a cure for her, joking a relationship with him would always be a mess.
Stark, seeing Potts that was still worried about their future together, decided to now give her an early Christmas present and finally ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to destroy all his remaining Iron Legion armors in Operation: Clean Slate Protocol. Surrounded by the subtle, firework-like explosions in the sky, the two embraced, with Stark asking if Potts was enjoying the show, which she said she did as he accepted life without such an obsession with being Iron Man.
A Step Further
- "As promised, I got Pepper sorted out. It took some tinkering. But then I thought to myself, "Why stop there?" Of course, there are people who say progress is dangerous, but I'll bet none of those idiots ever had to live with a chestful of shrapnel. And now, neither will I."
- ―Tony Stark
Stark was able to use his vast resources to cure Pepper Potts of the Extremis, removing her superhuman abilities. Stark used the cure to develop a method to extract the shrapnel within his heart without dying, and two days later, Stark underwent surgery from Doctor Wu in Hong Kong to have it removed.
He used the pieces of shrapnel that had been removed by Doctor Wu to make a necklace, which he gave to Potts. Since Tony Stark's Mansion had been destroyed by Aldrich Killian and Eric Savin, Stark and Potts moved in together at Stark Tower, which he had now redesigned and renamed Avengers Tower ready if he would ever again need to rejoin the Avengers for a future mission to save the world again.
Returning to his home's wreckage, Stark threw his Arc Reactor into the ocean, vowing that he was still Iron Man. He took the remains of his Dum-E and U to repair. Stark retired from the hero "business" for at least a year, but continued to work as a consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D. and run Stark Industries. He began helping S.H.I.E.L.D. by making repulsor technology for their three new Helicarriers, to avoid the issue that happened during the Attack on the Helicarrier.
In the wake of his battle with Aldrich Killian and all of the stress he had endured from the Battle of New York aftermath, Stark retold the entire story to Bruce Banner in the Avengers Tower. Much to Stark's great annoyance, Banner had fallen asleep during the tale, telling his friend that he was not that kind of doctor. Stark ignored this comment and then began telling more stories of his life, much to the dismay of Banner, who proceeded to go to sleep again.
- "Most of the intelligence community would like to drop me into a dark hole, but even they can't mess with Tony's army of lawyers. So for now, we're privatizing global security."
- ―Maria Hill
Tony Stark was listed as another potential target of Project Insight by HYDRA. Luckily, Captain America was able to stop HYDRA in time to save all of HYDRA's intended victims. In the wake of the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark hired Maria Hill, utilizing his army of lawyers to protect Hill, in order to help him fill the void left by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s absence by privatizing global security. As a result of HYDRA's return, the Avengers were reassembled and Iron Man signed up.
As they tracked down HYDRA's current leader, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, the reassembled Avengers came into conflict with Doctor Jensen in Sudan as she was using Chitauri weaponry. Working as a team, the Avengers defeated Jensen. With the help of Phil Coulson and the newly rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man and the other Avengers attacked Strucker's HYDRA Research Base to battle HYDRA's leadership.
While the other Avengers fought the soldiers on the ground, Iron Man worked on destroying the base's shields to allow the team access. When Iron Man swore during the mission, Captain America told him to watch his language, much to Iron Man's amusement. When the people of Sokovia began being targeted by all Strucker's guns, Iron Man ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to send out the Iron Legion in order to get the innocent people back to the safety of their homes.
Iron Man soon managed to disable the shields and entered the base; subduing all of Strucker's soldier's with ease. Once inside, Iron Man killed List who was attempting to delete his files before making his way through the hallways. Removing the Mark XLIII, Stark scanned the room in order to find a secret hallway, hoping to find all of Strucker and List's secret experiments, while being informed that during the battle Hawkeye had been badly injured.
While Captain America had successfully captured Baron Strucker, Stark located inside the base the corpse of a Leviathan, which HYDRA had stolen after the Battle of New York, and the Scepter, which had last been seen in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hands having been taken away from Loki. While Stark was looking at the Scepter and prepared to take it back into the Avengers' custody, Wanda Maximoff snuck up behind him and gave him a vision of the future with her powers.
In the vision, Stark saw the Avengers lying dead after a mysterious battle against a powerful enemy. As Stark explored the battlefield, he saw the deaths of his team mates, with Captain America's Shield lying broken in half. Going to Steve Rogers, Stark was surprised when Rogers grabbed his hand, telling him that Stark could have saved them before dying. Stark looked up and saw the Leviathans and Chitauri heading to Earth through a portal in space.
Shaken by what he had seen, Maximoff allowed Stark to retrieve the Scepter, knowing its power would ultimately cause his own downfall. Unaware that he was now being watched by Maximoff and her twin brother Pietro Maximoff, Stark reclaimed the Mark XLIII gauntlet and used it to snatch the Scepter away, originally planning on giving it back to Thor to take back to Asgard to keep the Earth safe from its power, but Stark now had some new ideas about using it.
Creation of Ultron
With Baron Wolfgang von Strucker now in the custody of the United States Armed Forces, Stark flew the Avengers away from Sokovia onboard the Quinjet. Along the way, Stark asked Bruce Banner if it was okay for Doctor Helen Cho to set up all of her own equipment in his lab so she could begin the operation to save Clint Barton's life in the wake of his injuries during the battle.
As they came closer to their destination, Stark had put J.A.R.V.I.S. in charge of flying while he spoke with Thor and Captain America about what was to happen with Loki's Scepter now that they had finally recovered it from HYDRA. Stark requested that he be allowed the chance to study the Scepter before Thor returned it to Asgard to be kept safe, which Thor agreed with before they all discussed having a party to celebrate the capture of Baron von Strucker.
Upon arriving at Avengers Tower, Stark was greeted by both Doctor Cho and Maria Hill, with Stark correcting Hill when she called him boss, claiming that Rogers was the boss despite Stark paying for every they did. While the Iron Legion returned to the tower, Stark checked on Barton's condition while Cho used the Cradle to repair his damaged skin tissue, with Stark teasing Barton that he was dying while Barton insisted that he would now live forever.
Continuing his mindset toward protecting humanity while realizing the void that the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. created, Stark created an intelligence with the mandate to ensure global peace at any cost. The intelligence, Ultron, who in turn took control on the Ultron Sentries to defend humanity as a sort of makeshift army and allow the Avengers to retire. Seeking to push the Ultron Program forward, Stark recruited Banner by pitching the Program to him and showing him a detailed breakdown of the Mind Stone inside the Scepter, claiming that they could use its detailed brain waves to give life to Ultron, something they had failed to do in all of their past experiments.
When Banner expressed his doubts about the Ultron Program, Stark argued if they were successful, they could finally retire and Banner may not have to worry about facing Veronica. Claiming that with Ultron, the next Chitauri Invasion would never happen again, Stark told Banner that he had a vision of a suit of armor around the Earth, when Banner claimed this sounded like a cold world, Stark said he had seen colder, referring to Wanda Maximoff's vision.
With Banner now onboard, he and Stark spent the next three days before it was returned to Asgard attempted to sync the Mind Stone from the Scepter into the Ultron Program in order to finally give life to Ultron. However, after three days of constant experimentation with the system, Stark and Banner admitted defeat, believing that there was no way for Ultron to be given life. J.A.R.V.I.S. recommended that Stark leave the project and attend to his party guests.
The Avengers Party
At a party hosted at Avengers Tower, celebrating their recent defeat of HYDRA and the capture of the Scepter and HYDRA's current leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Stark welcomed not only his own teammates, but also several allies of the team such as Sam Wilson and Maria Hill, with Doctor Helen Cho agreeing to attend the party as she had heard that Thor would also be attending. Stark also decided to invite several World War II veterans to the party who spent their time with Thor and Steve Rogers, drinking ancient Asgardian alcohol which got one attendee too drunk to walk.
While drinking with Thor, Stark listened as James Rhodes attempted to impress them with stories of how he had secured a tank while in his War Machine Armor, with nobody impressed. Stark and Thor then began debating if either Pepper Potts or Jane Foster was the more impressive girlfriend, with Stark noting all of Potts' work with Stark Industries which caused Rhodes to walk away with Rhodes, leaving Stark and Thor to continue the girlfriend debate alone.
As the party went through the night, many of the attendees returned to their home, including Wilson, leaving Stark and the Avengers along with Hill and Cho as the only remaining non-team members there. As the remaining group joked and drank together around a table, they began to discuss Thor and his power to lift Mjølnir. As the debate went on, Clint Barton decided to try to lift Mjølnir himself, with Stark joking about him not being able to get it up. Stark then stepped up, joking that he wanted to rule Asgard if he picked it up.
Stark initially tried to lift it on his own, when that failed he called for the help of James Rhodes to no more avail, even with the Mark XLIII gauntlet. All the other Avengers then each decided to have a go at lifting the hammer, with Bruce Banner joking about Hulking out and Steve Rogers only slightly moved it while Natasha Romanoff refused it even try. Upon his defeat, Stark looked for fingerprint recognition software on the hammer which Thor still had denied.
As the group laughed, a sudden loud ring echoed through Avengers Tower as they turned to see one of the Iron Legion robots stepping out of the darkness to confront them. While Stark tried to get J.A.R.V.I.S. to shut down the robot, it introduced itself as Ultron, claiming that it was there for peace in their time. When questioned about its true intentions, Ultron told them it intended to destroy the Avengers in order to achieve peace as they listened in horror.
Ultron then sent out all his Sentries to attack the Avengers. Without his Mark XLIII armor to defend himself, Stark was quickly separated from James Rhodes and was forced to use whatever had come to hand to battle the robots. Grabbing a knife, Stark jumped onto the back of one of the many attacking robots that he had once designed himself and attempted to damage it's inner wiring in mid-air, eventually succeeding as they fell to the floor together.
In the wake of the brief battle, which concluded when Hawkeye had handed Captain America his shield which he used to destroy the final robot, Stark and the Avengers were faced with the main Ultron form. Refusing to listen to the robot's threats to them any longer, Thor then destroyed Ultron's robot body with Mjølnir, although one of its own Sentries had already escaped with the Scepter in its hand and had claimed that it would attack all of the Avengers again.
With the Avengers now all gathered together, Stark began examining the Ultron robot to understand what caused it to attack them all. He listened closely as it was soon learned that Ultron had successfully accessed Avengers Tower's files and escaped through the internet, with James Rhodes and Maria Hill worrying that he may also gain access into the nuclear codes. When it was noted that Ultron had claimed to have killed somebody, Stark revealed that he had learned that Ultron had destroyed J.A.R.V.I.S.' mainframe in a rage.
While Stark and Helen Cho discussed Ultron's possible motives for turning against him, Thor then stormed in and grabbed Stark by the throat, accusing him of bringing destruction onto the Earth. Thor explained he had lost the Scepter, claiming Ultron was created by Stark messing with something he did not understand. As Stark had started to laugh, despite Bruce Banner telling him to stop, he claimed it was funny they did not understand why it was needed.
Stark defended himself, claiming that he was coming up with a new solution to end the war that would destroy the Earth based on the vision recently given to him by Wanda Maximoff. Stark then recalled the Battle of New York, claiming that what was out in space would destroy them all if they did not plan ahead. As Steve Rogers claimed they could beat that threat as a team, Stark claimed that they would fail, with Rogers telling him they would still be a team.
Seeking leads, the team began searching for wherever Ultron was heading next and later learned that Ultron had built himself a new body and had murdered Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in his prison cell and had recruited the aid of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Upon learning of Baron Strucker's death, it was noted that this was likely a smokescreen to throw them off, with all of their own information on Strucker having been deleted off their computers.
Forced to use old S.H.I.E.L.D. files, the team researched anyone who was connected to Strucker who may be able to find a new lead. Stark soon pointed out Ulysses Klaue, noting that he had almost done a deal with him to sell Stark Industries weapons. Stark explained that Klaue was known for having a brand on his neck that marked him as a thief of Wakanda, the land where vibranium was made, so they all assumed that Ultron would go to him for the metal.
- "Don't compare me with Stark! It's a thing with me. Stark is... he's a sickness!"
"Oh, junior. You're gonna break your old man's heart."
- ―Ultron and Tony Stark
Stark led the team to Johannesburg where they found Ultron, along with Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, taking the vibranium having just cut off Ulysses Klaue's arm in a fit of rage. Confronted Ultron, Iron Man attempted to talk him into surrendering, but Ultron refused, with the Maximoff siblings backing him up and insulting Iron Man's legacy. When Iron Man questioned what the vibranium was for, Ultron responded by suddenly and attacking Iron Man.
They engaged in a fierce battle, with Iron Man taking on Ultron alone while Thor and Captain America fought the Ultron Sentries and the Maximoff twins, and both Hawkeye and Black Widow fighting against all of Klaue's soldiers who had come to defend their own employer following Ultron's assault on him. As their battle continued, Iron Man and Ultron flew out of the Churchill and across the Salvage Yard, still firing all of their own weapons at each other.
Eventually, Iron Man brought down Ultron and threatened him with a missile; however, Ultron revealed that he had already transferred his mind into another Sentry body and explained that the team had been mentally taken down by Wanda Maximoff, who had proceeded to cause Bruce Banner to transform into Hulk in the middle of South Africa and had started to destroy everything he could. Responding by destroying Ultron, Iron Man then went after Hulk.
Knowing that many innocent civilians would undoubtedly be killed in Hulk's rampage, Iron Man was forced to leave Ultron behind and called on Black Widow to try and calm Banner down, only to be told by Hawkeye that Romanoff was unable to go into battle. Iron Man called upon his Mark XLIV and Veronica in an attempt to subdue Hulk himself.
However, despite soon being trapped inside Veronica's enforced and electrified metal cage, the enraged Hulk had soon managed to break himself free. Ordering the South African police to stand down from the fight, Iron Man tried to get through to Bruce Banner by telling him that Wanda Maximoff was messing with his mind, telling him that Banner was stronger and smarter than her. However, the mention of Banner's name only seemed to enrage Hulk even further.
When all of Iron Man's attempts to calm Hulk down had failed, the two began to fight. Hulk launched a car at Iron Man, knocking him back, so Iron Man responded by flying to Hulk and dragging him face first through the concrete. When Hulk damaged the armor, Stark called for extra parts and used its many capabilities to try to knock Hulk down. With Hulk charging at him, Iron Man kept him at bay with his gauntlet beam while his arm was repaired.
Hulk charged forward and the pair smashed their fists into each other, causing a shockwave through Johannesburg. Pinning Hulk to the ground, Iron Man began repeatedly punching him in the face and begging him to go to sleep and finish their fight; however, Hulk's rage only continued to build. Iron Man attempted to trap his arm with the Hulkbuster Armor and fly him out of the city in order to protect the people, with Hulk still fighting back.
As Iron Man attempted to fly Hulk out of the city, he continued to fight back and forced Iron Man to crash land on the side of a large building. As Hulk tried to rip him apart, Iron Man pushed him against a wall and tried spraying gas in his face, although this tactic had almost no affect. As they continued fighting, Iron Man was aware that behind him an elevator filled with people were standing just feet away from the battle as they attempted to escape.
When he was kicked back with incredible force, Iron Man crashed into the elevator filled with innocent people, forcing him to catch it before it hit the ground as he ordered everyone to get out while they still could. Iron Man then proceeded to use the elevator as a weapon as he slammed it down onto Hulk's head. Once Hulk was stunned, Iron Man hit him across the face, knocking out one of his teeth, an action which Iron Man then soon regretted.
The enraged Hulk then proceeded to smash Iron Man across the city, attempting to rip out the Arc Reactors powering the Mark XLIV armor. Despite trying to get assistance from Veronica, Hulk proved to be too strong as he tore the armor apart. Eventually, Iron Man resorted to dropping Hulk through a building still going through construction; this massive impact seemingly calmed Hulk enough that Stark could knock him out with a final massive punch to the head.
The Barton Home
With the battle over, the Avengers were flown away on the Quinjet. Stark spoke with Maria Hill who told him of all the reactions to the Avengers' actions in South Africa and talks for Bruce Banner's arrest. Hill also suggested that they should go somewhere to rest. Clint Barton told Stark to get some sleep because they would land soon. When Stark asked him where they were going, Barton responded to a safehouse.
They landed in a countryside and entered into a small house. The team was surprised to learn that it was Barton's family home and that he has a wife and children. Although Stark at first assumed it was a lie as Barton was a S.H.I.E.L.D. spy, Barton explained to them that the reason the team were still unaware of his family was due to Director Nick Fury helping him to have this second peaceful life just outside S.H.I.E.L.D. where his family could be safe.
Stark and Steve Rogers went outside and chopped wood together. They discussed how Wanda Maximoff had been able to use her new powers to pull the team apart. When the conversation moved to how Stark and Banner inadvertently created Ultron, they then proceeded to argue and debate on simply whether or not Stark should have ever experimented on Loki's Scepter. Stark explained his action by using the argument that the reason they fight is to end the fight.
Just as Rogers was making his point, Laura Barton then asked Stark if he could help to fix their tractor. While Stark examined the broken tractor, Nick Fury revealed himself; Stark realized that Maria Hill had called him. Fury tried to convince Stark that Wanda Maximoff had just tricked him, but Stark said that the vision he had seen where all of his friends are dead would be in the future, if Stark would not do everything he could to save them and all of humanity.
Having gathered together the entire team, Fury then showed himself to the rest of the Avengers and started to discuss their next move to stop the Ultron Offensive. Fury told them that his contact people in "NEXUS" in Oslo had informed him that Ultron had attempted to get nuclear codes but somebody was changing the codes all the time. While Stark played darts, being outplayed by Clint Barton, he told the group he would go to NEXUS to find Ultron's new enemy.
When Natasha Romanoff noted she had hoped Fury had more to offer, Fury gave them a speech to inspire them to get up and fight against Ultron, telling them to stand up and fight as a team once again. This led to them discussing Ultron's motives at which point, Bruce Banner then realized that Ultron wanted always to improved his body, so he needed Helen Cho and her Cradle device to create his ultimate body which he could use to become unbeatable.
Hacking the NEXUS
- "I'm just a guy looking for a needle in the world's biggest haystack."
"How do you find it?"
"Pretty simple. You bring a magnet."
- ―Tony Stark and World Hub Tech
Stark then made it clear to Steve Rogers that if Ultron succeeded in uploading himself to the synthetic body, he might be stronger than any of them. Nick Fury then told them that he will take Bruce Banner to the Avengers Tower and said to Stark that he needed Maria Hill. As the Avengers flew to Seoul, Stark was inside the NEXUS Internet Hub searching for the person who prevented Ultron from obtaining launch codes for nuclear missiles.
While hacking into the NEXUS to find Ultron's new enemy, Stark was shocked to find out it was J.A.R.V.I.S., who erased his memory and had scattered himself all across the Internet to block Ultron. It turned out that Ultron was afraid of J.A.R.V.I.S. and of what he could do, so J.A.R.V.I.S. went underground and prevent from Ultron from getting the codes. Restoring J.A.R.V.I.S.'s memory, Stark then sent his own programming back towards Avengers Tower.
Birth of Vision
Having learned what he needed to at the NEXUS, Stark then went back to the Avengers Tower where Bruce Banner and Clint Barton waited for him. Greeting Stark upon his arrival at the Tower, Barton was with the Cradle with the synthetic body inside it. Barton informed Stark that Ultron had also successfully kidnapped Natasha Romanoff during the Battle of Seoul, so Barton began his search for her. Stark then told Banner everything he discovered and he asked for his help him upload J.A.R.V.I.S. to the synthetic body.
Banner was against the idea of messing with the body, finding the situation to be a time-loop they were all now stuck inside since first activating the Ultron Program; however, Stark argued that this was the right move and they did not have the time for the decision to be argued by the other Avengers. Stark was able to convince Banner that the new being Ultron had created could be a benefit by giving it J.A.R.V.I.S. as a core persona, and prevent megalomania.
As the two were almost finished preparing to upload J.A.R.V.I.S. into the Cradle, Steve Rogers with Wanda and Pietro Maximoff came and ordered him to shut it down. Stark and Banner refused, shocked that Rogers had recruited the Maximoffs as they recalled how Wanda's powers had caused the Duel of Johannesburg. When Rogers tried to convince them, Stark argued that whatever had already happened was nothing compared to what was still incoming.
To try and end the dispute before it got out of hand, Quicksilver then responded by speeding around the Cradle and unplugging all of the cables, until he was then subdued by Hawkeye's quick thinking. This action then led to a brief clash between the group, with Stark calling on parts of his Mark XLIII armor and shooting at Rogers, who in turn threw his shield at Stark, while Banner and Wanda Maximoff had a brief fight in which she knocked him back with her powers.
Just as their fight was getting underway, Thor had suddenly charged straight into Avengers Tower and revived the synthetic body with a massive bolt of his lightning as Stark and the others looked on in shock and horror. The living body then jumped out of the Cradle and looked around its surroundings while the group looked on. The being then briefly attacked Thor until he looked out over New York City and calmed down as the Avengers moved down to speak to it.
The living body apologized and called itself Vision and claimed to wish to assist them in their fight against Ultron. Thor explained that while in the Water of Sights he had seen Vision in his dream and the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones, that is in Vision's forehead. At first, the team did not trust Vision's motives, but as proof of his honor, Vision handed Thor Mjølnir. A shocked Stark was congratulated by Thor for creating a new worthy ally.
Having successfully tracked down Ultron to Sokovia where he was planning on using Wolfgang von Strucker's former base to begin his schemes, Stark and the other Avengers got themselves prepared for what could be possibly their final battle. As Stark was talking with Rogers and Banner, he noted that if any of the Ultron Sentries got away, then they had lost. When Stark noted Ultron was waiting for him, Vision confirmed that Ultron hated Stark most of all.
Getting onboard the Quinjet in order to fly to Sokovia and confront Ultron for the final time, Stark and the other Avengers listened as Captain America gave a speech in which he told the team that their priority would be to get the people of Novi Grad to safety before fighting Ultron's army. Looking at Stark, Rogers noted that Ultron believed the Avengers were what was wrong with the world, and this was their chance to prove that he was wrong.
- "Come to confess your sins?"
"I don't know, how much time you got?"
"More than you."
- ―Ultron and Iron Man
The Avengers had eventually tracked Ultron down in Sokovia, where he had taken Natasha Romanoff to be held in a secret cell. Before leaving, Stark first installed a new AI, F.R.I.D.A.Y., into his newest suit as he no longer had J.A.R.V.I.S. to assist him. As the rest of the Avengers helped to evacuate the civilians out of Novi Grad and Bruce Banner went to free Romanoff from her cell, Iron Man confronted Ultron in the city's church right in the center of Sokovia.
Ultron revealed himself to Iron Man, showing that he had created a new near indestructible body for himself made from the vibranium he had stolen from Ulysses Klaue, and a drill that had emerged from the center of the church which dug deep underground, also revealing a vibranium detonator with a mechanism located underground. As the machine was activated, Iron Man went to understand how to stop it while Vision then came to confront Ultron himself.
As Vision succeeded to disconnect Ultron from the internet. Ultron activated the drill and a part from the city flew to the sky. F.R.I.D.A.Y. informed Stark that if the city would get high enough, the impact of its fall to the ground would cause a global extinction. While all the Avengers fought against the Ultron Sentries and made sure that the civilians were safe, Stark and F.R.I.D.A.Y. debated about a way to make sure the city would not be able to hit the ground.
While flying around the still rising Novi Grad, Iron Man witnesses one building falling off the edge of the drop, with F.R.I.D.A.Y. informing him that there were still people trapped inside. Without a moment to spare, Iron Man flew into the building to find a terrified family, so he ordered them to get into the bathtub as he flew them down to the ground to safety. Iron Man warned Captain America of more Sentries heading his way, although Rogers was hit regardless.
Eventually through lots of planning with F.R.I.D.A.Y., Iron Man came to the idea that he and Thor can destroy the entire city in the air by attacking it from the top and the bottom. With it seeming there was no hope of saving all of the civilians, Nick Fury and Maria Hill arrived with a new Helicarrier and a fleet of Lifeboats, helping all of the Avengers with evacuating Novi Grad while War Machine helped with the battle as he and Iron Man fought the Sentries together.
As Iron Man did all that he could to keep the Lifeboats filling with civilians safe, he continued discussing how to destroy Ultron's core, coming out with a plan to supercharge the inside from below. When one Lifeboat was damaged, Iron Man flew up and pushed it the rest of the way to the Helicarrier. Iron Man was informed by Thor that Ultron was now heading towards the core so Iron Man called on the Avengers to come together and stop him from activating it.
Protecting the Drill
The Avengers came together to guard the vibranium drill in order to keep the the Ultron Sentries from activating it to prevent the city from falling. As they prepared for the battle and destroyed the nearby Sentries, Iron Man mocked Black Widow for taking too long to arrive and joked she was messing about with Bruce Banner, while she noted that not every member of their team could fly.
With all the Avengers assembled around the core, Iron Man looked on as Ultron gathered his army of Sentries, with Thor challenging his might by questioning if this was the best he could do. Having shown off his entire army, Ultron questioned how they possibly hoped to stop him, with Iron Man then quoting back Captain America's earlier words by telling Ultron that they would do it together, which caused Ultron to send in his hordes of Ultron Sentries.
As the army of Ultron Sentries charged into the church in an attempt to rip the Avengers apart and activate the key, Iron Man and the rest of the team used all of their might to fight back against the hordes of robots. As Iron Man flew around the church in his Mark XLV army, he assisted Scarlet Witch and all of the other Avengers by shooting the Sentries, cutting down their numbers swiftly. Using teamwork, the Avengers soon began defeating the entire Ultron army.
Seeing the he was losing the battle, Ultron attempted to get involved himself in order to regain control, attacking Vision; however, he was soon knocked back out of the church when Vision used the power of the Mind Stone to push him down. Seeing this, Iron Man and Thor joined in, using the armor beams and Mjølnir's lightning to destroy Ultron's vibranium armor before Hulk then smashed him across the city and scared off the remaining Sentries.
With Ultron seemingly defeated, Iron Man ensured that the civilians were evacuated onto the Helicarrier while he went under the rock to overload the core. However, while Iron Man was cutting through the metal, Quicksilver was killed by Ultron before one sentry caused the city to fall. Iron Man and Thor succeeded in exploding up Sokovia before it hit the ground. The Ultron Offensive was then ended when the final Ultron Sentry was then destroyed by Vision.
Leaving the Avengers
Saying his Goodbyes
- "I will miss you, Tony."
"Yeah? Well, it's time for me to tap out."
- ―Steve Rogers and Tony Stark
Using Stark's funding, the New Avengers Facility was constructed in upstate New York; Stark informed the others about his resignation from the Avengers, aiming for it still to continue by pouring his money and resources into it, with a new team of heroes which included Falcon and the Scarlet Witch. Stark drove to the facility to personally oversee it in action and say his final goodbyes to the whole team.
Stark met with Steve Rogers and Thor at the facility where they all discussed Vision keeping the Mind Stone inside his head; Thor insisted that he could as he had proven himself worthy by managing to lift Mjølnir, although Rogers questioned if this counted as Vision was a machine. Thor informed the pair that he intended to return to Asgard to learn more about the Infinity Stones and who had been recently manipulating them into locating the stones.
As he bade farewell to Rogers, Stark mentioned that perhaps he would build Pepper Potts a house in the country, like Clint Barton and told Rogers that one day he would get there before driving off. Stark was asked by the media about the incident involved Hulk. Stark then responded that public concerns about Bruce Banner are "Baseless" and "Irresponsible." Because all of his activities as Iron Man, Stark and Potts took a break from their relationship while Stark continued his own work. Stark soon discovered the existence of Spider-Man, a masked superhero in New York City who was strong enough to catch a speeding vehicle with his bare hands. Intrigued, Stark kept tabs on the hero and managed to discover that he was a fourteen year old student named Peter Parker who resided in Queens. Additionally, Stark designed an upgraded suit for Parker in the event he would have to enlist his help.
Facing the Consequences
- "That was nice, what you did for those young people."
"Oh, they deserve it. Plus, it helps to ease my conscience."
- ―Miriam Sharpe and Tony Stark
Stark gave a guest lecture at his alma mater, MIT, where demonstrated the students his latest device, the Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing, created by Quentin Beck, which aimed to recreate and relive traumatic memories to help with regret. The demonstration of the technology included Stark's last meeting with his mother and father. Then he followed with a speech where he introduced the September Foundation grant and announced that every student had been made an equal recipient of it, giving them all the proper funding to move forward with their own inventions and ideas.
He then read from the teleprompter and was shocked to read that he should be presenting Pepper Potts to the stage. Seeing this made Stark briefly pause as he and Potts had broken up due to his own previous commitments to the Avengers and obsession with building new Iron Man Armors. Stark then said his final words before stepping off stage where the MIT Liaison then attempted to get some money from Stark Industries for the school's funding.
As he walked outside, he encountered a woman who complimented his funding. She reached to her purse and Stark, thinking she was about to pull a gun, grabbed her hand. But instead, she pulled a photo of her son and told him that he had been killed during the Battle of Sokovia. She then told Stark her son's name and that she did not actually blame Ultron for her son's death, but blamed Stark instead; which deeply unnerved him.
- "We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I'm game. If we can't accept limitations, we're boundless, we're no better than the bad guys."
- ―Tony Stark
On May 5, 2016, Thaddeus Ross presented to Stark the Sokovia Accords, a document which required the Avengers to operate under the supervision of an United Nations panel. Stark, haunted by the massive damage he had caused by creating Ultron, agreed to sign the Accords. One month after the Incident on Lagos involving Crossbones, both Stark and Ross went to the New Avengers Facility, where he tried to convince the Avengers to sign the Accords.
The Avengers were briefed on the Accords by Ross, who explained that the Accords were created as a result of the catastrophic events in which they were involved, including the Battle of New York and the Battle of Sokovia, with Ross presenting them with both the number of casualties caused and the expense of the damages. While the presentation was stopped for upsetting Wanda Maximoff, Ross told them the Accords would be signed in just a few days.
With Ross gone, the Avengers moved into another room to read and debate the Accords, with Sam Wilson and James Rhodes almost immediately clashing on their different views. Vision then noted that perhaps their own existence had caused the conflicts they were fighting. As all the Avengers debated whether to sign it or not, Stark remained silent, with Steve Rogers realizing that Stark had already chosen his own side, which was to be pro-Accords.
Stark gave them the story of Charlie Spencer and how he had been killed in Sokovia. He pointed out that the group needed to be put in check or they were no better than the bad guys. However, Rogers saw the Accords as a block to keep the Avengers from where they needed to be, while Stark noted that if they did not decide to make this decision themselves, it would be done to them at some point soon with far graver consequences for all of them.
Stark and Rogers both argued with each other and then Stark even got surprising support from Natasha Romanoff, who had previously expressed her disdain for this kind of government oversight in the wake of the HYDRA Uprising and the Battle at the Triskelion. Their argument ended when Rogers left the room upon hearing news that Peggy Carter had died in her sleep, while Stark remained unchanged in his opinion that signing was the right decision.
Fighting with a Friend
Seeking to continue supporting the Sokovia Accords, Stark went into the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre where he assisted with the fallout from the Bombing of the Vienna International Centre. When Stark was informed that Captain America and Falcon had tried and failed to save the Winter Soldier from being arrested, Stark greeted them both upon their arrival, noting that Secretary Thaddeus Ross wanted them both prosecuted for their all of actions.
Having also asked Vision to keep Wanda Maximoff inside the New Avengers Facility in order to protect her, in the wake of her accident in Lagos had resulted in her US Visa being removed. Sitting down with Steve Rogers, where he once again attempted to convince him to sign the Sokovia Accords. Presenting Howard Stark's pens which had been used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign the Lend-Lease bill, hoping this could help to change Rogers' mindset on the Accords. When Rogers asked about Pepper Potts, Stark revealed that now they were taking a break from their relationship, with Rogers then apologizing for bringing it up as he did not know.
As Stark noted how after Aldrich Killian's War he had destroyed the Iron Legion for Potts, but since then he had armored up again and again to stop HYDRA and Ultron, admitting that Ultron was his own doing and that he did not want to stop being Iron Man, and he had hoped signing the Accords could win Potts back. They then briefly discussed his own father's relationship to his mother before Rogers admitted he could not ignore bad situations from happening.
Begging Rogers to sign, Stark promised that Bucky Barnes would not be sent to a Wakandan prison. As Rogers seemed to consider signing, they discussed adding safeguards to the Accords. However, when Stark noted that Maximoff was locked up, Rogers confronted him about locking up a child like a Japanese Internment during World War II, with Stark insisting that he was just doing what needed to be done for the Avengers, until Rogers walked out.
- "Please tell me you brought a suit."
"Sure did. It's a lovely Tom Ford, three-piece, two-button. I'm an active-duty non-combatant."
- ―Natasha Romanoff and Tony Stark
During Bucky Barnes' psychological assessment, Stark watched closely as the the physiatrist questioned him about his time as an assassin for HYDRA. During the questioning however, a power failure occurred and Barnes freed himself and tried to escape. While Everett Ross tried to sort out their situation, Stark contacted F.R.I.D.A.Y. and went to confront Barnes himself without his Iron Man Armor to defend himself with from the furious Barnes.
Stark engaged Barnes, backed up by Natasha Romanoff and Sharon Carter. Stark used his gauntlet to fight him by first firing flash beam towards the Winter Soldier which briefly blinded him before blocking a gunshot with the gauntlet and then ripping the gun apart: However, Barnes managed to overpower him. Barnes escaped, but Stark knew Barnes was most likely still with Steve Rogers, who, along with Sam Wilson, had also managed to escape from their custody.
While the base recovered from the Winter Soldier's escape, Stark was greeted by Secretary Thaddeus Ross who informed him that due to his involvement in helping their target escape, a special force unit would deal with Rogers. Stark, however, convinced Ross to let him bring them in, promising to wear the Mark XLVI to bring him in, which Ross accepted. As he left the base, Ross gave Stark thirty six hours before lethal force would be utilized.
As Stark considered what to do, Romanoff said to him that they were understaffed, with Stark questioning if she knew where Hulk was, despite Romanoff noting that Bruce Banner would likely not be on their side. Thinking of possible allies, Stark said that he had someone in mind, referring to Spider-Man. Romanoff approached T'Challa to ask for his help, while Stark flew into New York City to go and recruit Spider-Man.
Recruiting Peter Parker
Having deduced Spider-Man's true identity as Peter Parker, Stark decided to pay him a visit at home. He waited for him to return from school where he openly flirted with his aunt, May. As Parker returned, Stark persuaded him to trick his aunt into thinking that Parker had applied for Stark's scholarship.
Stark entered his room with Parker and was soon impressed by how Parker used the technology he had retrieved from the trash to build himself computers and other technology. When Parker attempted to explain that he had not applied for the grant, Stark stopped him before he then showed Parker videos of him as Spider-Man saving civilians, complimenting him on his powers as they watched footage of him stopping a car with his bare hands; stating that the car was three thousand pounds and going forty miles per hour when Parker stopped it.
Parker denied that the person in the video was him, claiming it was edited footage, but Stark quickly found his Spider-Man Suit and equipment, forcing him to admit the truth. Stark asked him if anyone knew who he was, to which Parker informed him that nobody else knew. Stark then complimented Parker on his Web-Shooters and was surprised to learn that Parker had built the webbing himself before Stark joked about Parker's suit and told him he needed an upgrade.
Stark questioned why Parker became Spider-Man, being told that he only wanted to use his powers for the benefit of the people, noting that he believed that if he did not do the right thing with his powers, then good people would get hurt as a result, which Stark understood completely. Believing that Spider-Man could now be of great benefit during the upcoming Clash of the Avengers, Stark sat next to Parker and decided to officially recruit him into his own team.
Impressed, Stark asked him if he wanted to go to Germany, mildly blackmailing him by joking to tell Aunt May if he refused, to which Parker responded by webbing Stark to the door. When Parker agreed to help him, Stark built him a brand new Spider-Man Suit from Stark Industries and flew black to Germany to search for Steve Rogers, but also asked Happy Hogan to accompany Parker to Germany and assist him with whatever Parker needed while there.
Stark learned of Steve Rogers' plan was to escape from the Leipzig-Halle Airport, so he and his teammates evacuated the airport and waited for Rogers and his team. Rogers soon showed up and Stark, with his newest armor and attempted to convince him to turn over the Winter Soldier to the authorities and surrender before Secretary Thaddeus Ross ordered that lethal force would be taken.
Rogers insisted that Helmut Zemo had posed as the psychiatrist interviewing Bucky Barnes and was behind everything. Iron Man noted that Barnes was responsible for the Bombing of the Vienna International Centre which had killed T'Chaka and many others, and therefore needed to face justice, while Rogers claimed that Zemo was planning on unleashing more of the Winter Soldiers. Stark soon found that their negotiation was going nowhere.
As a result, Stark called in Spider-Man to steal Captain America's Shield and to tie Rogers' hands using his Web-Shooters. Much to Iron Man's annoyance, Spider-Man was more concerned about meeting his hero, Captain America, and therefore acting immaturely during the encounter, forcing Iron Man to tell him to calm down. With Rogers now trapped, Iron Man ordering him to listen to his views on the Sokovia Accords, but Rogers remained uncompromising.
Before they could take in Rogers, Hawkeye used an arrow to free him before Ant-Man returned the shield to Captain America. As the Mark XLVI's sensors then detected the rest of the renegades making their way towards the Quinjet, Iron Man flew off to confront Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch, telling War Machine to take on Captain America before ordering Spider-Man to keep his distance and web up his foes from afar. Iron Man quickly caught up with Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch, managing to block their path with missile strikes.
With his two former allies now seemingly trapped, Iron Man began joking that Scarlet Witch had hurt Vision's feeling as she escaped from the New Avengers Facility, with Scarlet Witch expressing her disgust at being locked away while Iron Man claimed it was for her own protection after the Lagos Catastrophe. Iron Man then casually greeted Hawkeye and asking about what he had been up to during his retirement from the Avengers, asking if he played golf.
As they were talking, Hawkeye then deliberately fired an arrow to miss Iron Man, which he shot out of the sky and joked that Hawkeye had finally missed a shot. Hawkeye, however, then revealed that this was a deception as it had now left Iron Man open to being pinned under several cars by Scarlet Witch. With Iron Man now trapped underneath all of the crashed cars, F.R.I.D.A.Y. alerted him he was in danger which Iron Man noted he was already aware of.
Freeing himself, Iron Man helped Black Widow up after she, Black Panther, and War Machine had nearly been killed by Captain America and Ant-Man using the Pym Particles Disks to throw a truck at them. Seeing the single mindedness that was driving Rogers, Iron Man was left with no choice but to call in his trump card: Vision to come into the battle and give them the advantage they needed to finally bring all of Captain America's team members into their custody.
- "Okay, anybody on our side hiding any shocking and fantastic abilities they'd like to disclose, I'm open to suggestions."
- ―Iron Man
Vision fired a powerful burst from the Mind Stone to attempt to cow Captain America into submission before offering him a final chance to surrender. Regrouping his team, Iron Man stood across from Captain America's team to try and force his ally to stand down. However, Captain America refused again, forcing Iron Man to order his team into battle with the directive to capture their renegade teammates alive.
Iron Man engaged Captain America in one on one melee combat before Hawkeye fired an explosive arrow towards the Mark XLVI to no effect other than knocking him back. As the Avengers all fought each other across the airport, Iron Man later chose to attack Falcon in a midair battle, before Hawkeye fired a volley of arrows towards Iron Man. The Mark XLVI's systems were able to easily trace the path of the arrows and then destroy them all one by one.
As Iron Man prepared to take down Hawkeye with a carefully aimed shot, the left repulsor failed. Demanding an update from F.R.I.D.A.Y., she tracked the problem to Ant-Man having entered the suit and was disabling it from the inside, teasing him that the voice he could hear was his conscience. Iron Man and Ant-Man continued to mock each other before, getting fed up, F.R.I.D.A.Y. ejected him via the usage of fire retardant foam sending him falling back to the ground.
When it became clear Iron Man's team would win the battle, Ant-Man inverted his powers and grew to sixty feet in height, turning himself into Giant-Man. Iron Man looked on in amazement as Giant-Man grabbed War Machine out of the sky. As Iron Man ordered Giant-Man to free War Machine, he was then attacked by Falcon, who fired the Redwing drone to stun Iron Man in mid air. While the drone threw off Iron Man's flight plan, it shattered apart against the armor.
Working with War Machine and Spider-Man, the three attempted to find a way to stop Giant-Man while he helped Captain America and the Winter Soldier to get away. Spider-Man soon came up with an idea to managed to recreate a moment from The Empire Strikes Back, calling it a really old movie which caused War Machine to question Iron Man on how old Spider-Man really was. While Spider-Man used his Web-Shooters to tie up Giant-Man's legs, Iron Man and War Machine flew up and hit him hard in the chin.
While they succeeded with knocking down the giant Ant-Man, as he fell, Ant-Man had managed to knock Spider-Man out of the air and onto the concrete from a great height prompting Iron Man to fly down to check on him. When he was satisfied with Spider-Man's state, he decided it was time to send him back to New York City threatening to call his Aunt May if the enhanced youth did not listen to him. Despite protesting, Spider-Man soon collapsed from exhaustion.
Iron Man flew off to chase after the now hijacked Quinjet containing Captain America and the Winter Soldier, who had managed to get away with the assistance of Black Widow who had subdued Black Panther from them. Iron Man was backed up by War Machine in his pursuit before Falcon began following them. Rhodes ordered Vision to destroy Falcon's flight gear with the Mind Stone but the android miscalculated and shot out War Machine's Arc Reactor, taking the power out of the suit in hundreds of feet above the ground.
As War Machine fell towards the ground, Iron Man changed direction and tried to save his friend but was just unable to catch him in time before he crashed. He immediately ordered F.R.I.D.A.Y. to scan for life signs and she contacted emergency medical personnel when she found War Machine was still alive. Falcon also landed and told Iron Man he was sorry, but Iron Man vented his rage by blasting him with a repulsor beam, decisively ending the extended fight.
- "How did this happen?"
"I became distracted."
"I didn't think that was possible."
- ―Tony Stark and Vision
With the Clash of the Aveng