- 1 History
- 1.1 Birth and Adoption
- 1.2 Early Life and Education
- 1.3 Death of Howard and Maria Stark
- 1.4 Inventing the Iron Man Armor
- 1.5 Becoming a Super Hero
- 1.6 Illuminati
- 1.7 Alcoholism and a New Iron Man
- 1.8 Founding Stark Enterprises
- 1.9 Armor Wars
- 1.10 Stark Shot
- 1.11 Immortus and Younger Self
- 1.12 Stark Solutions
- 1.13 Secrets and Lies
- 1.14 Sentient Armor
- 1.15 S.K.I.N. Armor
- 1.16 The Best Defense
- 1.17 New Avengers
- 1.18 Extremis
- 1.19 Civil War
- 1.20 Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- 1.21 Dark Reign
- 1.22 Stark Disassembled
- 1.23 Siege
- 1.24 Heroic Age
- 1.25 Fear Itself
- 1.26 Long Way Down
- 1.27 The Secret Origin of Tony Stark
- 1.28 Superior Iron Man
- 1.29 Time Runs Out
- 1.30 The Second Civil War and Return
- 1.31 Stark Unlimited
- 1.32 Robot Rebellion
- 2 Personality
- 3 Powers and Abilities
- 4 Paraphernalia
- 5 Girlfriends
- 6 Notes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Related Articles
- 9 Links and References
- Everything I've done, everything I'll do today, everything I'll ever do, I do to protect this world. [...] When I put on this armor, I took on more power than any human was ever intended to have... and maybe more responsibility than my heart can truly bear. But today... I will do my job. I will protect you. No matter what it takes...
- -- Tony Stark src
Birth and Adoption
Anthony Edward Stark, also known as Tony Stark, was born to two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Amanda Armstrong and Jude. Jude was a secret Hydra double-agent with little regard for anybody but himself and regularly sold-out fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. He was almost responsible for Amanda's own death at the hands of an assassin. However, he fell in love with Amanda before sending her to her death and decided to save her. After this incident they got to know each other and began a relationship. Two years later, Amanda became pregnant. A week before giving birth to the baby, Jude decided to reveal his true allegiance to Amanda and its implications in Jude's timely intervention that saved her life. The subsequent discussion escalated, and Amanda killed Jude.
Traumatized by this development, Amanda asked S.H.I.E.L.D. to ensure her future baby would find a safe and happy home. However, director Nick Fury followed the same procedure used for unwanted pregnancies in the agency, and the baby was left in an orphanage in Sofia, Bulgaria after Amanda birthed him in a local hospital. Fury's associate and famous industrialist Howard Stark learned of this and decided to find the baby and adopt him, keeping the name Amanda wished he retained: Anthony.
In addition to Howard and his wife Maria suffering the latter's inability to give birth again, they needed to find a healthy boy to act as a decoy in place of their secret firstborn, Arno Stark. Arno's gestation had been extremely difficult, and his birth was only made possible with the help of an alien robot, the Rigellian Recorder 451, who had agreed to help the baby survive in exchange for the opportunity to bio-engineer him, so he could accelerate humanity's technological growth in the future.
However, as 451 genetically modified the baby in the womb, Howard had discovered the robot hid some sort of kill switch, that would compromise the life of his son in the future, for which Stark developed a "biococktail" to interfere with it behind 451's back. Once Arno was born, 451 left the Earth. In a turn of events, Howard's interference with 451's machinations caused the newborn to become fatally ill. The Starks decided to keep the baby hidden in the Maria Stark Foundation Hospice. In addition to filling the void left by Arno's fatal illness, Tony's adoption would prevent 451 from learning of Howard's meddling if it ever returned to Earth.
Early Life and Education
Tony grew up completely unaware of Arno's existence or that he was adopted. While loved unconditionally by Maria, Tony suffered from a strained relationship with his father, both due to the contrast of Tony's sensitive and reclusive nature with Howard's glorification of physical prowess and Howard's ever-increasing drinking habits, which caused him to verbally abuse Tony and suffer from mood swings. This last factor caused Tony to turn to electronics as a coping mechanism at barely five years old, as he started to believe hardware to be comprehensible and reliable, whereas people were unpredictable and hard to understand. Tony's world couldn't find order, but the things he built did.
In order to toughen his son, Howard sent Tony to boarding school at the age of seven, much to Maria's dismay. In the following years, Tony learned of discipline of body and strength of character as Howard intended, while spending his free time reading alone. At the age of thirteen, the stories of Arthurian legends opened Tony the doors to a new world of dedication to a cause greater than oneself, of chivalry, honor, and armored heroes.
After boarding school, Tony joined an undergraduate program at MIT at the age of fifteen.[verification needed] He would effortlessly graduate as class valedictorian with double majors in physics and engineering. When he was seventeen, Tony met Meredith McCall, his first love and, unfortunately, the daughter of Howard's greatest business rival. Their relationship didn't develop beyond being a summer love, due to the combined interference of Meredith's father and Howard. Meredith was sent to live with relatives, and Tony was scheduled to go to Europe for education, with neither being told where the other was.
The break-up was numbed by Tony's school routine at Cambridge University in England, where he met another girl named Cassandra Gillespie. Worse luck, Cassandra was also the daughter of a rival weapons manufacturer of Howard. Their relationship and Tony's attendance to Cambridge were both cut short by Howard, who believed the recently-established relationship to be nothing but a way for the Gillespie's to get information on Howard through Tony. Tony doubted Howard and even tried to run away with Cassandra, but she eventually admitted that while she had fallen in love with Tony, their relationship did start as a ploy of her mother.
Around this time, Tony met Dr. Ted Slaght during a symposium. The physicist became a mentor to Stark, and taught him values beyond the importance of science, like the significance of guiding the search for knowledge with an ethical compass, and carrying an open mind.
Tony's mental dexterity caused him to drift into his 20's as shiftless thrill-seeker in the search for the challenges mundane life lacked. However, he would also lose interest in the dangerous hobbies he mastered, like skiing, parachuting, and hang-gliding.
Death of Howard and Maria Stark
When he was twenty-one, Tony's parents died in a car crash and he inherited his father's business, Stark Industries. Within a few years, he turned it from solely a munitions firm to a multinational corporation with a range of interests covering virtually all types of contemporary scientific industry, and the leader at the cutting edge of electronics. Tony also bought the company that built the car his parents were driving when they lost their lives and fixed the flaws in their brake system.
Tony's new life as a CEO provided him with new challenges. But as the company grew bigger, his job became less exciting, and Tony fell into self-indulgence once again.
Inventing the Iron Man Armor
While overseeing a military demonstration of his technology in Siancong, Tony tripped a booby trap that killed his escort and lodged shrapnel in his chest.[note 1] The gravely injured Stark was taken captive by the terrorist leader Wong-Chu, and was informed that within a week the shrapnel would penetrate his heart and kill him. Wong-Chu falsely promised Stark that if he built a powerful weapon, he would be allowed to undergo an operation to save his life. Even though Stark realized the tyrant was lying, he agreed, hoping to gain time and access to tools.
Stark was given access to a small laboratory with another captive, the renowned Asian physicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate Professor Ho Yinsen, whose work Stark admired in college. With Yinsen acting as his assistant, Stark designed and built an electrically powered suit of armor with a pacemaker-like device that enabled Stark's heart to keep beating, the armor was also equipped with heavy offensive weaponry.
Donning the suit, Stark connected it to its power source, an electrical generator. Lying on a table Stark was helpless until the suit was fully charged. In the least fortunate turn of events, Wong-Chu decided to check on his prisoners. Knowing that if they were found all of their work was for nothing, Yinsen decided to sacrifice his own life by distracting Wong-Chu, giving Stark the extra time he needed to charge the armored suit fully. As the Iron Man, Stark avenged Yinsen's death and scattered Wong-Chu's guerrilla troops. Then, still clad in his armor, which was necessary to keep his heart beating, Stark made his way toward the front lines, trying to escape enemy territory.
James Rhodes, a pilot with the United States Marines, had been shot down by rockets while he was on a reconnaissance mission. Rhodes managed to land safely and was attempting to get his helicopter air-worthy when he encountered the wandering Iron Man. After Iron Man helped Rhodes fight off an attack by enemy forces, Rhodes allowed him to drain the helicopter's batteries to recharge his armor. The two continued to make their way back to American forces and stumbled upon a hidden rocket base. Stealing an enemy helicopter, they destroyed the site and flew to the nearest American base.
Back in the United States, Stark redesigned his chest plate, which contained a pacemaker-like device, reducing the chest plate's size and weight so he could wear it under his normal clothing. Required to wear the armor's chest plate at all times to keep his heart alive and beating, Stark decided to put the rest of the armor to regular use as well.
After redesigning the entire armored suit to match the lighter chest plate, Stark made the existence of the suit public. He concealed the suit's true origin, as well as the fact that he himself had to wear the chest plate to live. Stark made it known that he would soon manufacture the suit, which he called "the human machine," for sale to be then public.
Becoming a Super Hero
Soon afterward, Stark donned one of his battle suits in order to prevent thieves from stealing parts from the other copies of it. This experience made him realize that the suit was too dangerous to be made available to the public. The next day Stark revealed what had happened to him in the war zone to Joanna Nivena, his then fiancé. Together they attended a tennis match in Forest Hills, N.Y. that afternoon. Stark brought along his armor, which he was taking to a nearby laboratory for tests. Terrorists who threatened to kill everyone present with a bomb invaded the match. Joanna urged Stark to don the armor to stop the terrorists. Stark did so, captured the terrorists and saved the spectators by throwing himself atop the bomb. Iron Man thus publicly became a hero, and Stark had a new sense of purpose, having decided to combat evildoers as Iron Man.
Wishing to retain some degree of anonymity, Stark established the fiction that Iron Man was his paid bodyguard wearing a suit of armor that he had invented. Only his most trusted aides learned Stark and Iron Man were one and the same. One of these early confidantes was "Happy" Hogan, whom Tony hired as his chauffeur. Hogan fell in love with Tony's secretary Pepper Potts, whom Tony eventually fell in love with as well. Even though Potts reciprocated Tony's feelings, she eventually began a whirlwind romance with Hogan, which ended with the two of them getting married.
During this time, the original Crimson Dynamo attacked Stark Industries, but Tony Stark persuaded him to defect. Also, Stark faced off for the first time against the Mandarin, who would become one of his most recurring enemies.
Later, he expanded the scope of his alter ego's activities to battle any force or person who threatened the security of America or the world. Stark was instrumental in the organization and armament of the original global intelligence and law-enforcement agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.. As Iron Man, he became an founding member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the team of super-human champions known as the Avengers. Stark donated his Manhattan mansion to the Avengers for their exclusive use.
As an Avenger, Stark would go on to participate in many missions over the years, although he sometimes had trouble reconciling his private affairs with his responsibilities in the Avengers. With the other remaining founders after the Hulk left, he was among those who discovered the frozen form of the heroic Captain America, still frozen since World War II. He was also the Avenger who sponsored the membership of Hawkeye, a man whom he had briefly fought with, after realizing his good intentions. Hawkeye was one of the new Avengers who joined when Stark and the other founders decided to take leaves of absence.
Over the years Stark constantly refined and modified the design of his armor. From a bulky, transistorized iron suit, he eventually built a relatively lightweight, integrated circuit, magnetically-polarized suit with more human-looking articulated musculature. Stark's extraordinary genius in theoretical mechanics has enabled him to keep his suit of armor state-of-the-art. Stark eventually underwent heart transplant surgery so that he was no longer obligated to wear his metallic chest plate.
For moral reasons, Stark eventually decided to stop manufacturing armaments and devoted his company to other areas of technology.
In the wake of the Kree-Skrull War, Stark initiated a meeting in Wakanda with Professor X, Mister Fantastic, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Namor to form a clandestine, unnamed group to devise strategy and policy regarding overarching menaces (the "Illuminati"). Stark's original goal was to create a governing body for all superheroes in the world to answer to. However, the different beliefs and philosophies, besides the fact that many heroes chose to conceal their real identities, made Stark's plan impractical. Despite this, the group agreed to share vital information.
Alcoholism and a New Iron Man
In recent years Tony Stark's greatest nemesis has been alcoholism. As a wealthy socialite, alcohol had been a constant part of his life. When his company, which had changed its name from Stark Industries to Stark International, was threatened with the takeover at the same time he was experiencing oppressive personal problems, Stark began to abuse alcohol. Although he managed to recover quickly from his first serious bout, the compulsion to drink remained a constant temptation. The second time he succumbed to alcoholism, due to even more devastating personal problems than the first time, Tony Stark went on a several month binge during which he was cheated out of Stark International, had all Iron Man suits destroyed (except one), lost the leases on his various apartments, and had his personal assets frozen so that he could not touch his fortune. All of this was the result of the machinations of the mysterious entrepreneur Obadiah Stane, who took over Stark's company, renaming it Stane International.
During this time, Stark's friend James Rhodes, who had gone to work for Stark after leaving the military, assumed custody of the Iron Man armor and operated as Iron Man in his stead.
When Stark finally regained his sobriety, he joined with Rhodes and two of his friends, Morley Erwin (late of Stark International) and his sister Clytemnestra Erwin of Richmond Enterprises, to set up a new electronics firm in California named Circuits Maximus. In its brief existence, Circuits Maximus became a prestigious and successful firm.
While the armor was in his custody, Jim Rhodes became increasingly enamored with being Iron Man and, upon Stark's return to sobriety, feared that Stark would ask for it back. The cybernetic helmet had never been properly calibrated to Rhodes' brain patterns; he began to have severe headaches and his thinking was clouded. As a result Rhodes began to manifest hostility toward Stark. As part of his therapy, Stark constructed a simple suit of armor based on his original design with no intention of donning it until he felt in control of his alcoholism. When Rhodes began acting irrationally, however, Stark felt obligated to put on this crude suit of armor to prevent Rhodes from doing harm. Stark managed to subdue Rhodes and made necessary recalibrations on the cybernetics. For a brief time Stark and Rhodes used their respective suits of armor as Iron Men, although Stark did so reluctantly. At the suggestion of the West Coast Avengers chairman, Hawkeye, Stark designed and built his most sophisticated armor to date, presumably so that the Avengers could find someone to wear the suit and bolster the team's strength.
However, soon after its completion, Obadiah Stane became alarmed at Stark's steps toward recovery. Circuits Maximus was bombed, injuring Rhodes and killing Morley Erwin. Desiring vengeance, Stark donned the untested new armor and sought out Stane. Stane himself put on a suit his engineers had built using Stark's plans, and met Iron Man in battle as the Iron Monger. Losing the battle against Stark, Stane committed suicide.
Stark decided that although one is never truly cured of alcoholism, he could also not deny the responsibility of being Iron Man. He resumed his career as Iron Man, and joined the new West Coast branch of the Avengers.
Founding Stark Enterprises
Stark also managed to reclaim control of his fortune, although he decided not to claim ownership of the company formerly known as Stark International. Rather, he founded a new technological design and manufacturing company, Stark Enterprises, based in Silicon Valley in Northern California. Stark Enterprises quickly became a highly successful and innovative company.
Stark learned that an industrialist calling himself Spymaster had stolen the plans for the many secret technological innovations found in the Iron Man armor. Spymaster had then turned these plans over to Stark's most powerful and antagonistic business rival, Justin Hammer, who in turn had made them available to criminals. These criminals had then incorporated the stolen technological innovations into their own armored battle suits. Outraged that his inventions were being used for criminal activity, and even for killing, Stark determined to deprive these criminals of his secrets. He planted a computer virus in Hammer's computer system that would wipe out all traces of the plans for Stark's Iron Man technology. As Iron Man, Stark sought out and caught many criminals and others (such as the United States government's Guardsmen) who wore a battle suit utilizing his technology. He implanted devices called 'negator packs' on their armor to fuse the circuits, rendering the suit useless. With the computer records of the plans for his technology gone, presumably it could not be used in reconstructing the suits.
The United States government branded Iron Man an outlaw as a result of these and other vigilante actions, and his longtime Avengers comrade Captain America was among those opposing him. Stark publicly claimed that he had fired Iron Man in displeasure over his illegal activity. He even went so far as to create a false history for "Randall Pierce", allegedly the original Iron Man's identity, which he turned over to the government. Shortly afterward, Iron Man was apparently destroyed in combat with government forces.
In fact, however, Stark had survived. He created an even more sophisticated armored battle suit to wear as Iron Man using technology far more advanced than that which Spymaster had stolen from him. Stark continued to go into action as Iron Man, but publicly claimed that the previous Iron Man was dead and that another employee of his whose identity was being kept secret was now wearing the armored suit.
Later, Kathy Dare, a former lover of his with an unstable mind, shot Stark. The gunfire severely injured Stark's spine and it appeared he could be crippled for the rest of his life, unable to walk. However he could still function normally within his Iron Man armor. A microchip device was later implanted in Stark's spine that enabled him to walk and move normally once again. During this time, Stark was part of a team of Avengers that travelled into Kree space when Earth's sun was endangered by their attempt to use the sun as a power source for a hypergate in their new conflict with the Shi'ar, which led to Stark leading a group of Avengers to kill the Kree Supreme Intelligence when its actions destroyed a sizeable portion of the Kree empire to try and jump-start the species evolution.
The 'bio-chip' that allowed Stark to walk proved problematic and degenerative nerve damage occurred. This was aggravated by the attack of Kearson DeWitt, a madman who claimed Stark had stolen his father's designs. DeWitt had Stark's nervous system attacked with a techno-organic virus, but Stark was able to survive. He temporarily had to be placed in cryo-stasis, with James Rhodes taking his place as CEO. Soon after recovering, Stark was injured from feedback from a 'telepresence' system to remotely control his Iron Man armor and battle Ultimo. Stark eventually recovered after extensive rehabilitation.
Stark was forced to restructure Stark Enterprises when several of Stane's business decisions were leaked to the press. This also caused a number of other heroes to confront Iron Man, such as the Hulk regarding gamma bomb production plants.
Stark also quarreled with Rhodes over several good-intentioned but wrong decisions Jim made as CEO (such as selling off nuclear assets to a dummy company secretly operated by A.I.M.), as well as his actions in Imaya. Rhodes was still angry Stark had lied to him about his nerve damage condition. The two briefly clashed in battle, ultimately repaired their friendship.
Tony agreed to end the West Coast Avengers after internal tensions over past conflicts, but formed Force Works instead. Intending for this team to try and preempt natural and man-made disasters rather than just reacting to events, Stark provided his team with full access to his cutting-edge technology.
Immortus and Younger Self
Later, while under the influence of Immortus, Stark committed a number of horrible acts and was killed. Stark was temporarily replaced by a younger version of himself from another timeline. This was corrected when Franklin Richards brought him and the other heroes who sacrificed themselves against Onslaught back. When the replacement Tony Stark returned to the Marvel Universe, he was merged with the Earth-616 Tony Stark who was resurrected thanks to Franklin Richards. Shortly after returning he subjected himself to judgment by his fellow Avengers and was exonerated.
Stark declined to challenge the Fujikawa acquisition and formed a new company, Stark Solutions. Injuries from battling the Mandarin and other foes revealed a danger of long-term armor exposure. The armor's power systems and insulation were significantly redesigned to compensate. Jocasta's AI was recovered from Sunset Bain.
Secrets and Lies
When Iron Man defeated the villain Mentallo, Tony took advantage of the situation and used Mentallo’s global mind control device to erase all knowledge of his often-compromised secret identity from every person on Earth. He then revealed it to those people he deemed trustworthy, causing them to remember the memories he had buried.
While fighting Whiplash during a storm, Iron Man's armor became sentient. This would be later revealed due to the Ultron Imperative. The Safe Armor developed a feeling of overprotection, and tried to replace Stark, but ultimately sacrificed itself to repair damage to its creator's heart caused during a fight.
After this experience with the Sentient Armor, Tony suffered an uncharacteristic bout of technophobia, and decided to give up being Iron Man and Tony Stark. He gave away his fortune and adopted the persona of 'Hogan Potts' and posed as a simple worker at Askew Electronics, incorporating a new alloy called S.K.I.N. into his armor designs. After a test run against the Shocker, Iron Man faced A.I.M., the Ghost, and finally Ultron, after the villain revealed his role in manipulating the Sons of Yinsen, the sentient armor, and corrupting the S.K.I.N. technology.
Stark investigated an early military armor that had been distributed to rebel forces around the world.
The Best Defense
The U.S. military attempted to claim older model Iron Man armor. Their pretense was that Stark had not patented the technology and that he violated agreements made after the Armor Wars by continuing to adventure as Iron Man. At the same time, a new Secretary of Defense was needed. Stark vied for the position and halted a disaster involving the technology as Iron Man.
The Avengers were disassembled due to the actions of an unbalanced Scarlet Witch, which led to the deaths of Ant-Man, Vision, and Hawkeye. During this crisis, Stark was manipulated by the Scarlet Witch to suddenly threaten a Latverian ambassador at a UN meeting. Additionally, Clarence Ward used stolen armor to kill nearly all of Stark Industries' board and Rumiko Fujikawa, Stark's girlfriend. In light of the incidents, Stark resigned as Secretary.
Six months later, a massive breakout was executed at the Raft. While flying around the city, Iron Man arrived at the prison to aid Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Matt Murdock, and the Sentry in keeping prisoners in after a prison break. Steve believed this event, the gathering of heroes by chance to fight a common foe, was a signal that the Avengers needed to be reformed. Tony was initially reluctant to make a new team but eventually agreed. The New Avengers used the Stark Tower as their headquarters.
Stark returned to work at a hectic pace, often sleeping in his lab. A former classmate of his named Maya Hansen asked for help, a super soldier project named Extremis had been given to a small terrorist group. Iron Man battled the augmented terrorist Mallen, but suffered massive injuries. Being forced to use Extremis on himself, Iron Man healed and found himself able to directly interface with technology, especially with his new armor. Going after Mallen again, the terrorist forced Tony's hand, and he had to kill him.
Learning of the government's plans to instigate a Superhuman Registration Act that would force costumed super-powered individuals to reveal their identities to the government and sign on as licensed agents, Iron Man at first sought to defeat the proposal, even going to such lengths as to hire the Titanium Man to attack the hearing on the act as he testified in order to manipulate opinion in his favor. However, Tony's opinion of the Act changed, seeing it as a new means to achieve the goal that he had sought in forming the Illuminati, and to tie the knots of friendship between humans and superheroes. Additionally, Stark believed that the environment of fear caused by events like Nick Fury's Secret War or the House of M was going to cause the Act to pass unconditionally, and it was better to support and diffuse it at the moment before any further events made the conditions of the superheroic community worsen.
After a disaster at Stamford, Connecticut involving the group of amateur heroes the New Warriors fighting supervillain in which over 600 people died, mostly being children from a school, the public opinion against super humans turned and fast-tracked the Act into law. The new law split the hero community in two. Tony knew that with no major representative in favor of the SRA, the government would've applied harsh measures, and that going to the "good old days" wasn't an option. Because of that, he decided to provide a fairer path and lead the pro-Registration forces himself. The anti-Registration side was led by Captain America. In his first major public action as a supporter of registration, Stark again unmasked as Iron Man.
As part of his measures to deal with the anti-Registration forces, Iron Man, Yellowjacket and Reed Richards created the Prison 42 in the Negative Zone, a holding facility specially designed to contain rogue super heroes, for as long as the Civil War lasted. It was a temporary measure because heroes could easily escape from prisons like the Raft. The trio also built a cyborg clone of Thor and used nanobots to control the Thunderbolts as a task force to hunt down unregistered heroes.
The Pro-Registration forces proceeded to set a trap for the Anti-Registration side. They surrounded them, and Iron Man tried to reach a truce to stop fighting and work together to reach a middle ground. However, Captain America rejected Iron Man's proposal, and attacked him, leading to a direct conflict between the two sides, during which the Thor clone malfunctioned, and killed Goliath in cold blood. Events like this led Tony to doubt himself. People like Miriam Sharpe, the mother of one of the victims of the Stamford incident, and Tony's best friend Happy Hogan would motivate him to carry on. Shortly after, Happy would be attacked by Spymaster in an attempt to get Iron Man and succumb to his injuries. He was rushed to a hospital and placed on life support, but died shortly afterwards.
Prior to the events of the Civil War, Stark assisted fellow New Avenger Spider-Man and his family. Peter Parker came to regard Stark as a mentor, became his assistant, and accepted a new technologically enhanced costume from him. Stark also convinced Spider-Man to unmask and go public with his identity as well. However, Peter's feelings of being manipulated and unease about the rightness of Stark's cause grew until Stark revealed a prison for super humans he and Mister Fantastic had built in the Negative Zone. When Spider-Man attempted to escape from Stark Tower, after secretly moving his family out, in order to join the Resistance, he attacked Stark, who had confronted him. However, due to Spider-Man's override of the suit given to him by Stark and some unexpected intervention by the Punisher, the web-slinger managed to escape and was now considered a traitor by Stark and the Pro-Registration side.
During an attempt to free the prisoners from Prison 42, the Anti and Pro-Registration sides clashed in combat, and were taken to NYC by Cloak. Eventually, Captain America would realize the conflict was being tackled the wrong way, and surrendered. The Anti-Registration side was granted amnesty, with Cap agreeing to go on trial for his actions during the Civil War.
However, while in custody, Captain America was killed in an assassination orchestrated by the Red Skull. Stark was devastated by his friend's death, and left unsure on how to proceed. In a letter Steve had written before his death, he asked Tony to insure that the Captain America legacy lived on and to look out for Bucky Barnes. Tony was instrumental in getting Bucky to assume the mantle of Captain America.
Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
During the Civil War, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill suggested that Tony would become the next acting head of S.H.I.E.L.D. She cited his higher qualification than her, and the fact that it would "piss the right people off." After the dust settled, Stark was appointed with the position of Director.
Iron Man and the other Illuminati were responsible for exiling Hulk from Earth, and were the people Hulk sought revenge on when he returned. Luckily, Stark saw this possibility as an eventuality, and was prepared to engage the Hulk with a brand new Hulk-Buster armor. The battle between them destroyed most of New York City, and blows were thrown so powerful that no other hero could get close enough to help or act. Stark Tower collapsed on top of the two during the battle, and ultimately, Hulk took Tony captive to the Stadium with the rest of his captured heroes. Once all of Stark's sources (and comrades) were exhausted, he rendered the Hulk (who had been weakened from his fight with the Sentry) unconscious with orbiting military satellite lasers he helped install during his appointment as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. He had to draw money from numerous sources (most notably S.H.I.E.L.D itself) to repair Avengers Tower and the several damaged buildings and structures of New York.
As Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man investigated the death of Nebraska Initiative member, Gadget and stumbled upon her investigation of hundreds of missing persons. Realizing that Stark was a danger to his work with Prometheus Gentech, Inc. in creating a new super-soldier, Secretary of Defense Jack Kooning had him depowered from his Extremis Armor and placed on leave for mental strain. Stark secretly returned to Nebraska and with the help of Leonard Samson and Captain Ultra discovered that Prometheus Gentech was using the missing persons as test subjects for the Extremis virus and that Maya Hansen was unwittingly working for a reborn Mandarin to create an aerosolized version of the virus which he intended on unleashing to create a race of super-humans. Iron Man, forced to use outdated armor, confronted the Mandarin and a cadre of Extremis-enhanced combatants at the Prometheus laboratories. He ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. to take out the complex with a miniature warhead contained within the gravitational pull of a black hole, thus limiting the damage just to the laboratory, as he tried to escape the event perimeter. Mandarin escaped to China with Maya Hansen and pretended to be Tony Stark and convinced her to give him the sequence for the aerosolized virus. Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. were taken into custody by the Commission on Superhuman Activities for their release of the nuclear device in Nebraska. Stark's main witness, Jack Kooning escaped to Myanmar and enlisted the help of Xang "King" Kong in tracking down the Mandarin, but was killed by him before he could take him out with a sniper rifle. Stark is convicted, but Dugan orchestrated an attack on the United Nations over which S.H.I.E.L.D. has jurisdiction as a distraction for Stark to escape and to track the Mandarin to China. In defeating the Mandarin, Stark is forced to cut off part of his foot to remove the Extremis armor dampener but was able to redirect the virus-containing rockets by sending them to an extremely high altitude and killing the virus. Having saved the day, he was cleared of all charges and reinstated as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
During the Skrull Invasion Stark's armor was infected by an alien cyber virus which ultimately purged him of the Extremis virus. Stark discovered Spider-Woman herself was the Skrull Queen Veranke who nearly deceived him to join ranks with her. He was saved by Ms. Marvel who upon Tony's request left him with Black Widow who acted as his defense until he could fix his damaged armor to a point to where it was fully functional. Tony led the heroes of New York against the Skrull invaders. His armor however, began to fail in midst of the battle forcing him to return to Avengers Tower for another one. The President of the United States was less than reasonable regarding Stark's action and ultimately removed Stark as director of S.H.I.E.L.D, and disbanded the entire agency itself. Although the battle against the alien invasion had been won, Tony suffered a great loss. His technology was nonfunctional, his corporations were in dismay, he had many new enemies, and little to no allies willing to help him with any of his problems.
After the invasion, the U.S. government also disbanded the Avengers, handing control of the Initiative over to Norman Osborn. Iron Man was later a member of Henry Pym's Mighty Avengers. Before fighting the threat of Chthon, Iron Man helped to subdue the Hulk. He left the team after realizing he was not yet ready to be a part of it.
With his Extremis powers failing, Stark was able to upload a virus that destroyed all records of the Registration Act, thus preventing Osborn from learning the identities of his fellow heroes. The only copy of this database remained in Stark's head, while he was now on the run in one of his extra armor, and his remaining armor in Stark Tower were now in Osborn's hands. Iron Man managed to gain a new armor and fought Namor in the Stark Undersea Base. Stark was able to outsmart the Atlantean and escape the collapsing base. Osborn then placed a bounty on Stark's head, offering mountains of gold to the Hood's gang. The members of the secret organization the Cabal gathered to discuss many issues, among which was the hunt for Stark. Stark was losing intelligence by the day which slowed his thinking time and caused him to not be able to pronounce difficult words correctly. He started gathering and assembling parts to make his Iron Man suit easier to navigate and control as it was becoming more and more difficult for him to do so. He later abandoned it for the Dynamo Armor, which he borrowed from Dimitri Bukharin. Tony was later tracked down by Pepper but the two were captured by Madame Masque.
He managed to escape with Pepper's help, but was forced to leave her behind so she could fend off Masque. He then made his way to Siancong, but before he could reach his destination, he was shot down by Siancong militants. With his armor destroyed, Tony was forced to abandon it and proceed on foot to his destination, the secret laboratory that Stark worked with Ho Yinsen as a captive in developing the first Iron Man Armor. Dusting off the outdated computer systems, Stark was able to reactivate the old suit, which was now the only armor simple enough for his deteriorating mind to operate.
When Osborn personally caught up to the debilitated Stark and beat him savagely, Pepper Potts broadcast the beatings, costing Osborn credibility and giving Stark public sympathy. Stark went into a vegetative state, having previously granted Donald Blake (Thor's alter ego) power of attorney.
A holographic message stored in Pepper's armor revealed that Stark had developed a means of 'rebooting' his mind from his current state prior to his destruction of the database. Blake and Bucky resolved to use it to restore him to normal despite Stark's offer in the message to stay in his current state if it would make things easier and Pepper's own uncertainty about the fact that Tony could come back when so many others could not.
The procedure on how to reboot Stark was very complicated. First, they had to place Pepper's electromagnet implant onto his chest, which would be fueling his entire biology. Then they jacked in the hard drive that Maria Hill recovered, which was a backup copy of his brain before he underwent the Extremis injection and then they activated the implant by channeling Thor's lightning through Captain America's shield connected to it.
Meanwhile, in the last remaining vestiges of Stark's mind, he was in a barren wasteland, digging for the lost relics of his life, assisted by a couple named Howard and Maria. However, every time he found something, giant machines resembling his own Titanomechs would attack, causing the illusion to reset. He eventually found he was digging for an iron chest plate, resembling the original version of his armor.
Back on Earth, Pepper, Rhodey, and Captain America sent in Doctor Strange to help Tony after the first attempt to revive him failed. The Ghost interrupted the doctor's ritual, but Tony Stark manually overcame his coma and used the Ghost's ghost phone to transport the assassin away. It was then everyone realized Tony's backup memory drive was not quite complete, as he was awed by the events he read about on his computer after the skirmish, which included the Civil War, Captain America's assassination, the Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign.
During most of the Siege of Asgard Tony Stark was out of commission, but returned wearing an older version of his armor, disabling Norman Osborn's stolen Iron Patriot armor and signaling the return of all three main Avengers; including Thor and Steve Rogers. He was instrumental in the defeat of the Void, by ramming a H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrier into the villain at full speed, weakening him, finally giving Thor the chance to kill him.
In the aftermath of Siege, the superhuman registration act was repealed thanks to the efforts of Steve Rogers, who now took over the position of the overthrown Norman Osborn. Iron Man reunited with Thor and Steve Rogers and rekindled their relationship while setting their past differences aside. Iron Man and Thor were assigned to Avengers along with Bucky Barnes as Captain America while Steve Rogers headed the Secret Avengers. Iron Man was slightly troubled that he may not be able to take orders from Steve, but Steve told him that Maria Hill would oversee the Avengers.
With a new lease on life, Tony built a new model of armor with the help of Mister Fantastic and announced that he would make a new company, Stark Resilient, to rebuild his former wealth and to extend his repulsor technology as a civilian energy source, pulling from making government weapons.
Meanwhile, Sasha Hammer and Justine Hammer from Hammer Industries filled in the gap in military technology left by Stark Industries, with their own Detroit Steel Armor. They attempted to sabotage Stark's attempts at testing and presenting the new repulsor car developed by Stark Resilient, but failed. During a race to test the car, drones controlled by the Hammer girls and Detroit Steel attacked the event, in an attempt to destroy Stark Resilient's plans and prove Detroit Steel's superiority over Iron Man. However, they failed, and Stark managed to save the event and even use it as a stunt to promote the repulsor car.
During the Serpent's bid to rule Earth, Tony fought Mokk in the streets of Paris, France, where all citizens had been turned into living statues. Finding himself unable to defeat Mokk with conventional methods, Tony entreated Odin to allow him to design magically powered weapons in the forges of Nidavellir.
Haunted by the casualties and his failure, Tony began drinking again. Odin appeared and after discussing with Tony, the All-Father proposed for him to create magical weapons at Nidavellir. Tony, determined not to fail again, restored his sobriety. With these weapons, the Avengers defeated the Serpent's Worthy and Skadi, while Thor defeated the Serpent himself but paid with his life. Days later, Tony destroyed the weapons at Nidavellir and after discussing with Odin, the god brought back to life the "statues" of the Parisians who weren't broken. Also, Stark offered the Dwarf Splitlip a place to work at Stark Resilient and to quit drinking.
Long Way Down
A few days later, the Mandarin and Ezekiel Stane started deploying numerous revamped and upgraded villains of the Golden Avenger to make acts of wars over the world. The Mandarin also used a photo of Iron Man having his armor in short cut to manipulate the press into reporting that Tony Stark had been drunk, compromising Stark's image as an appropriate pilot of the armor, ultimately making the military force him install a device that allowed them to shut down the Iron Man armor when necessary. Stark realized that he was being played by the Mandarin, so he came up with a counter-plan, which began with faking War Machine's death and resigning from being Iron Man.
After Mandarin's plan led to a tragedy within Resilient, Stark contacted the villain to ask him what did he want. The Mandarin subsequently revealed he had been inside Tony's systems for a long time ago, and forced him to become his slave, making Tony build the Titanomechs with Ezekiel Stane at the Mandarin City.
Months later, Stark and Stane had built three Titanomechs, where the Mandarin placed three of his rings. Tony and Ezekiel convinced three of the Mandarin's prisoners, Whirlwind, Blizzard and Living Laser to join him in a rebellion against their "master." Additionally, Resilient was able to use the microbots known as the Swarm to track down Tony's repulsor tech and find him.
The tide of the battle against the Mandarin and the Titanomechs was turned in favor of Iron Man and his allies when the Triumph Division and the Dynasty heeded Resilient's call for help. Resilient was also able to remotely use the Swarm to revamp Tony's systems, and give him control over the mist of microbots, which he weaponized to destroy the Titanomechs. Meanwhile, Stane had taken the Mandarin one-on-one and killed him.
Stark returned to Seattle, and after isolating himself in order to create new technologies and think about his life, he decided to take some time and clear his mind in the process by going to space.
The Secret Origin of Tony Stark
When Tony returned to Earth, he created a new armor to test new technologies. After many aspects of his life were questioned upon defeating numerous people who got their hands on the Extremis virus, Tony decided to accept an offer Star Lord made to him and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy to explore the universe.
During his voyage in space, Tony Stark was faced by a rogue Rigellian Recorder called 451, who claimed he had met Tony's father, and was the one responsible decades ago for allowing to Tony be born. The Recorder revealed he had supposedly genetically engineered Tony in-womb, providing him with his intelligence and wits, and also that he modified Tony to let him be the only future pilot of a giant armor called Godkiller which would be the nuclear deterrent of Earth. Tony was forced into piloting the Godkiller, but somehow couldn't. 451 discovered his long-time plan had no profit, and decided to destroy his consciousness along with the Godkiller. Tony managed to escape from the Godkiller with the brain-dead body of 451.
Upon returning to Earth, Tony investigated why he couldn't pilot the Godkiller, and discovered the hidden secret that he wasn't the baby 451 modified at all, but an adopted son used as a decoy to prevent 451 from finding the actual boy. Tony finally located his long-time secret adoptive brother, Arno Stark, who was no longer in danger as 451 was now dead. Reunited with his genius brother, Tony decided he could use the millennial information stored in 451's database and the intellect of Arno to help build a better world.
Superior Iron Man
During a confrontation against the Red Skull, who was empowered by Charles Xavier's brain, the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom cast an inversion spell to alter the moral axis of Skull's mind in order to defeat him. The spell was successful and the Skull was beaten, but it also affected the moral compass of those present in the scene, unleashing the inner evilness and selfishness of numerous heroes. A reinversion spell with the purpose of getting everything back to normal would later be cast, but Tony would avoid it using a special shielding to escape the spell.
Once again egocentric and determined, Iron Man relocated to San Francisco, where he secretly infected the entire city with a dormant new version of the Extremis virus via the water supply, to make the achievement of perfection available for everyone in the city. Using an "Extremis 3.0 app" for phones, the virus could be triggered inside an individual, giving the impression that the virus was downloadable. However, his plan had a second phase. After a month of free Extremis, he started charging each user of his Extremis App $99.99 a day for the renovation of this technology.
After a multitude of battles with several heroic figures, including Daredevil, Pepper Potts, and an artificial intelligence copy of an earlier, non-inverted version of his mind, and the ally-turned-enemy Teen Abomination, Tony's utopian vision for San Francisco fell through on account of a public relations campaign run by Pepper that destroyed the faith that the San Franciscans had in him, vilified Extremis 3.0, and revealed Tony Stark as "the monster [he'd] become", forcing him to work without his friends if he even wanted to secure his vision.
Time Runs Out
Some time before his space journey, Tony and the rest of the Illuminati reassembled to investigate a newly-surfaced threat known as incursions, occurrences in which universes collided with their respective planet Earths as the focal point, and the only way to prevent the death of one's own Earth was to destroy the other. Because of this, the Illuminati had to prepare themselves for the prospect of killing an innocent planet for survival. In order to ensure that threats of lesser importance could be handled accordingly so the Illuminati could focus on the incursions, Tony revamped and expanded the Avengers into a multi-purpose versatile unit. Tony additionally constructed a Dyson Sphere called Sol's Hammer in order to weaponize the Sun, and helped reverse-engineer the Antimatter Injection System. The futility of their efforts to tackle the incursions and the necessity to hide their knowledge of it from the rest of the world took an emotionally toll on Tony, to the point the Illuminati's ally Black Swan described him a "man coming to the end of himself."
Early into the incursion crisis, Captain America had denounced the acceptance of his fellow Illuminati of the prospect of destroying other worlds. His teammates wiped his memory from any knowledge about the incursions, but Rogers re-learned about them after being exposed to the explosion of the Watcher's eye, which revealed to everyone caught in its blast deep secrets pertinent to each person. Steve confronted Iron Man about it, and declared the Illuminati public enemies.
At this point, Iron Man had been affected by the inversion spell. An attempt at reclaiming Wakanda from the Cabal that Namor had created to destroy incursive Earths resulted in Tony being held captive in the Necropolis. After the Cabal had been apparently killed following a truce made by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Illuminati, the Illuminati returned to Necropolis and freed Tony, who was forced to flee due to the Illuminati's unwillingness to let Stark be there with them when they met Rogers and the Avengers, to prevent old fires from being stoked.
When the Shi'ar and their allies arrived at Earth in order to destroy it, as it was the focal point of the Multiverse's decay, the Avengers and the Illuminati tried to retaliate against the enemy fleet. However, they failed. As they ran out of options, Iron Man flew to Sol's Hammer in order to use it.
Iron Man successfully destroyed the Shi'ar fleet, saving the Earth, but the final incursion was on the horizon. With only a few minutes before the event, Steve confronted Tony to settle up. The ensuing fight between the two old friends led Steve to force Tony to admit that he had lied to him and all of their allies, when he had known about the incursions all along, but Tony also confessed that he wouldn't change a thing. The final incursion started, and Earth-1610's planet Earth started approaching Earth-616's planet Earth while Tony and Steve kept fighting. Earth-1610's S.H.I.E.L.D. launched a full invasion to destroy Earth-616, and Tony and Steve were crushed by a Helicarrier. The two Earths ultimately collided, destroying each of the universes.
The Second Civil War and Return
When the Prime Universe was brought back to existence, any sign of Tony's moral inversion disappeared, having returned to his normal self. Eight months into the future, Tony made an unlikely ally in the allegedly reformed Victor von Doom during an adventure investigating the returned Madame Masque. Doom became a key player in Masque's defeat and continued supporting Stark, much to Tony's skepticism.
Soon later, the superhero community was divided upon learning the existence of an Inhuman named Ulysses Cain who had the ability to profile the future. Tony opposed Captain Marvel's idea of actively using Ulysses' abilities to preemptively tackle any threats, suggesting it was dangerous to take his visions for granted for several reasons. The fact that it was possible to prevent the events Cain saw meant he didn't have access to anything set on stone, additionally, little was known about how did Ulysses' powers work, including their efficacy. Stark also brought into question the morality of stopping and punishing somebody for a disaster they could potentially do, and might not even know they'd do.
Shortly after this first display of tensions between Captain Marvel's and Tony's ideals, Stark decided to begin a search on the identity of his biological parents. Once he ran into a dead end, Tony visited the orphanage in Sofia, Bulgaria where he had found he was adopted. Following a failed attempt to continue the research on his own that led Tony to re-encounter his old flame, Cassandra Gillespe, he was informed by the administrator of the orphanage about the discovery of hidden hospital records from Tony's mother, kept in secret by the former administrator after Tony's birth records had been taken with him. Stark learned that his biological mother was music producer Amanda Armstrong, and he met her.
Following the family reunion, the tension between Iron Man and Captain Marvel increased resulting from two different occasions when she heeded Ulysses' visions resulted in tragedy. First, War Machine died and She-Hulk was put in a coma during a preemptive ambush on Thanos. Later, Bruce Banner was murdered by Hawkeye allegedly the split second before he was going to transform into the Hulk when Banner was being interrogated due to one of Cain's visions foreseeing him Hulking-out with catastrophic consequences.
After Captain Marvel arrested an innocent finance banker named Alison Green based on nothing more than a vision from Ulysses that turned out to be wrong, Iron Man enlisted the help of several superheroes who opposed profiling to attack the Triskelion and rescue Green. The ensuing battle between Iron Man's and Captain Marvel's forces was cut short when a new vision announced Captain America's death at the hands of the new Spider-Man Miles Morales at the steps of the Capitol Building. Black Panther subsequently deflected Captain Marvel's side publicly, giving Iron Man and his allies enough time to teleport away.
Iron Man and Captain Marvel came to blows one last time after both Spider-Man and Captain America travelled to Washington, D.C. to prove the vision wrong. Tony lost the fight and slipped into a coma, surviving solely due to secret alterations he had done to his body keeping him alive. His body was placed in a stasis pod in the Triskelion, where Beast set out to investigate his condition. Meanwhile, Ulysses' powers had evolved beyond the ability of human comprehension, and he left the Earth to join other cosmic entities.
In the aftermath of Tony's fall, Victor von Doom decided to take up Iron Man's mantle in order to both help establish his new position as a hero and carry on Stark's legacy. A digital copy of Stark's mind became active and located Riri Williams, a prodigy teenager with affinity for suits of armor who had caught Tony's attention shortly before the war, in order to train her into becoming a hero. At the request of Tony's will, Amanda Armstrong became the CEO of Stark Industries to prevent the company from falling to the hands of its board of directors. Tony's comatose body was taken to the Stark Industrial Complex in Dover, and it remained in a bio-restructuring pod until his body was reconstituted cell by cell, resulting in his sudden awakening. He disappeared from the Stark facility and went into hiding until he fully recovered, only approaching his mother once to ensure her he was safe. In hopes it could turn out that Rhodey wasn't dead but in a similar state as he had woken up from, Tony exhumed his body from the Arlington Cemetery. After performing the necessary procedures to kick-start Rhodey's biological system, Tony returned him to life. Rhodey joined Tony in fighting The Hood to prevent Stark Industries from falling on his hands. Tony subsequently took down his own biological father, Jude, who had stepped out of the shadows after decades of keeping his resurrection at the hands of Hydra a secret.
Not long after making his return official, Tony rebranded his company as Stark Unlimited, a think tank that doubled as an ideas incubator for new suits, turning Iron Man into a collaborative project, which additionally returned to the idea of creating a specific armor depending on the situation. During this time, Iron Man rejoined the Avengers, marking the collective return of the Big Three-- himself, Captain America and Thor, to the team. Tony also reconnected with fellow founding member the Wasp, and started dating her.
Despite his reinvigorated new lease on life, Tony was constantly haunted by the fear that he had lost his humanity due to the process that returned him, which reconstructed his body cell by cell. Tony's worst fear was exacerbated when he was trapped inside a virtual world of his own making called the eScape. The eScape's rogue operating system named Motherboard claimed to have discovered that there was no genetic trace of the original Tony Stark in Tony's body. Additionally, while brainwashed by Motherboard, Tony started drinking again, and his rekindled urge to drink carried over to the real world when he broke free from the digital nightmare.
After becoming merged with his own armor on a molecular level during confrontation against Ultron, Tony used a remotely-piloted Nano-Iron Man Armor to venture into his own body to reverse the damage, and incidentally confirmed that he was in fact an artificial being, finding microscopic manufacturing labels stamped in his very own cells. Tony became convinced that he was an artificial being, and a simulation of the real, late Tony Stark. Following Ultron's defeat, Tony's brother Arno laid claim to Stark Unlimited, arguing that since the bio-restructuring pod used to create Tony's new body was of his design, Tony was of his property, as well as everything that belonged to him. Afterwards, Arno poured all of his resources into creating his own armor, taking the mantle of Iron Man from Tony as well.
After disappearing from the public eyes for weeks, Stark fully embraced his identify as an artificial intelligence and joined the A.I. Army, a group of artificial lifeforms such as robots and androids dedicated to fighting for equal rights in light of the increased oppresion they suffered, often through terroristic means. Donning a recreation of his Model 1 Armor, Tony adopted the identity of Mark One and became the leader of the A.I. Army. Tony helped the A.I. Army and other robots hide from their enemies and oppressors by creating Thirteenth Floor, a solid-light construct hideout that could only be accessed by their kind.
- I can create a world without war. I can make a world without alcohol or drugs. Without hate or jealousy. But then it wouldn't be the world we live in. Nothing would be learned, nothing would be gained. We wouldn't advance as species.
- --Iron Man[src]
Tony Stark is, for the lack of a better word, complicated. During his early days of success, Stark was a man who only cared about fame and wealth. He had no sense of responsibility or humility, always rubbing his success in the faces of everyone he met. This all changed when he was captured by terrorists. After building the first Iron Man armor and escaping captivity, Stark had realized the kind of person he really was and engaged in a life of heroism to atone for his past mistakes.
Plagued by many vices, Stark is prone to womanizing, pride, and most of all -alcoholism- the latter being an addiction developed as a consequence of the abuse from his father and his social status. This lifetime of troubles has caused him to develop a cynical view of the world.
Despite this, Stark is devoted to truly make the world a better place. This desire has sometimes caused Stark to resort to morally questionable methods, as long as the end justifies them, including his crusade to safeguard his technology (leading him to confront heroes such as Stingray and the Captain), and the superhuman Civil War, during which Iron Man was hell bent on implementing the Superhuman Registration Act, because its failure would have led to a harsh response from the government. However, Iron Man has shown to be ridden by guilt over this type of course of action, which developed into self-hate. Tony Stark has been described as "man enough to do what needs to be done, even knowing full well what it will cost him." Stark's self-hating tendencies have also led to Stark being suicidal, and undervaluing his own life, specially in favor of others'.
According to Reed Richards, Tony Stark is "a future man trapped in the now. A prisoner raging against the slow crawl of human evolution." Stark's relationships, morality and ethics are highly adaptable and malleable to what he would consider the greater good of mankind's necessary survival and progress. Tony has also been described as "[A person who] really cares. He's been on the top and he's been on the bottom and he's done all 12 steps and a few more. He knows what it's like to have a habit that eats you from the inside, like worms. And he knows there's no easy answer, but every solution to every problem has to start somewhere. He's just trying to help."
Tony has also been shown to loathe taking other people's lives, and resorting to killing people only as a extreme measure, and explicitly stating he doesn't kill, and having claimed that's "not the way we work."
Iron Man is a hero that relies on his intellect and technological resources to defeat foes and achieve victory. Stark invariably prides himself on being one of the most intelligent people of the Marvel Universe.
- Of course I want [a drink], that's what being an alcoholic is all about. Alas, that also means I can't have one.
- --Tony Stark[src]
Still a child, Tony was introduced to alcohol by Howard, when his adoptive father forcibly gave Tony his first drink while inebriated. As a teenager, Tony would drink frequently starting when he was 15 years old, mainly to allow himself to better fit in with his classmates and to impress girls. As a young adult, Tony even worked under the influence of alcohol, claiming to have made groundbreaking work while drunk.
During his adulthood, Tony increased his frequency of drinking once S.H.I.E.L.D. threatened to buy his company, and his armor malfunctioned. Stark's increasingly irresponsible behavior, including handling his Iron Man armor drunk and mistreating his butler and friend Edwin Jarvis, led him to finally ask Bethany Cabe for help, who would help him fight his alcoholism for the first time.
Due to the machinations of Obadiah Stane, Stark relapsed. He got replaced by Rhodey as Iron Man and got kicked off the Avengers. Stark's condition worsened, and he became homeless. After the death of Tony's drinking partner Gretl Anders on his arms on a cold night after she gave birth, Tony found a new appreciation for life, and he finally asked for Rhodey to help him overcome his addiction. Weeks later, Stark re-assumed the mantle of Iron Man.
By the time of the Heroic Age, he managed to stay sober until his meeting with Odin during the Serpent War. Despite this, he was able to stay sober and control his drinking the following months. During an incursion he believed was going to destroy the Earth, Tony decided to line up numerous shots of alcoholic beverages and managed not to touch them, as even if he couldn't save the world, he wanted to "beat" his addiction. Due to the casting of an "inversion spell" during World War Hate, Tony's moral compass became inverted, and his changed personality has caused him to re-indulge in his alcoholism, apparently to "make up for wasted time" of sobriety.
During a crisis involving a virtual reality of Tony's creation named the eScape, Tony was abducted and brainwashed by the eScape's rogue A.I. Motherboard. Motherboard reverted Tony's personality to his younger years, causing him to drink again. Tony eventually broke free from Motherboard's grasp, but his renewed urge to drink carried into the real world. With the help of his friends, Tony managed to abstain from drinking. However, with the revelation that he was seemingly only a copy of the real, late Tony Stark following his return from a coma, Tony appeared to have given in to the drinking urge he had been fighting since breaking out of the eScape.
|Power Grid |
|* Higher values represent enhancements granted by a standard Iron Man armor.|
Tony Stark currently possesses no biological enhancements. At one point he had gained superhuman abilities due to interactions with certain types of technologies, namely the Extremis virus, but they have become inaccessible ever since.
Super-Genius Intelligence: Quite apart from the powers granted him by the suit, Tony Stark is far more than a mechanical engineering prodigy who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with honors at the age of 17. With an intelligence classified as super-genius, he easily is one of the smartest people on Earth. Furthermore, this extends to his remarkable ingenuity dealing with difficult situations such as foes and deathtraps where he is capable of using his available tools, like his suit, in unorthodox and effective ways, for example when he built the first Iron Man Armor in captivity. He has also been able to hack technology from the Kree, a race centuries more advanced than humans.
Tony's genius allows him to act as a futurist, a person capable of intuiting the future based on current trends, to the point of foreshadowing that a situation like the superhuman Civil War was going to happen years before it did. This ability also extends to a much smaller scale, with Tony being capable of predicting with accuracy the way an interaction with a given individual will go down even before talking with them, a faculty that makes it really hard for human interactions to surprise him, and causes him to sometimes finish other people's sentences.
Stark can use his superior intellect to the levels of dividing his consciousness with the help of Stark Datashades and perfectly operate three portions of his consciousness at the same time, being able to move, fight, talk and process information in three different bodies at the same time. Tony has been mentioned by Reed Richards to be the world's best multitasker.
Master Engineer: He is an excellent engineer and mechanic capable of fixing almost any, if not all machinery.
Master Businessman: Stark is extremely well-respected in the business world, able to command people's attentions when he speaks on economic matters by virtue of the fact that he is savvy enough to have, over the years, built up several multi-million dollar companies from virtually nothing. He is known for the loyalty he commands from and returns to those who work for him, as well as his impeccable business ethics. He also strives to be environmentally responsible in his businesses, and in one case, immediately fired an employee who made profitable (but illegal) sales to Doctor Doom. He states that if he wanted to, he could give away his entire fortune and build it up again within a week. Stark most notably turned his father's munitions firm into a multi-national corporation that covered virtually all contemporary scientific industry when barely in his early twenties.
Expert Tactician: He is a brilliant tactician capable of quickly formulating battle strategies and new plans if the situation changes, like being able to elaborate different complex plans in order to defeat different enemies in difficult situations, and be victorious. Even going as far as to simultaneously put Reed Richards in check on five different boards playing chess, a game he didn't learn until later in his life, leaving Richards totally astonished.
Skilled Combatant: Stark was trained in unarmed combat by Captain America, Black Widow, Black Panther, and Shang-Chi, making him a quite physically formidable combatant on his own when the situation demands it. He has managed to fight Hammer Industries guards, defeat five Skrull soldiers in single-handed combat, Stark Industries security guards numerous Voldi gladiators, handle his own against Madame Hydra, and bare-handedly confront several ninja.
Skilled Marksman: Tony knows how to handle firearms, mainly the ones he has produced.
Multilingual: Apart from English, Tony can speak different languages fluently, including Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, French, Russian, and Korean. He also might know multiple Middle Eastern languages, at one point noting that Urdu wasn't his strong suit in particular.
Without his armor Tony Stark possesses a strength a little superior than that of a normal human, he also engages in moderate regular exercise. The armor amplifies Stark's strength to incalculable levels, enabling him to normally lift (press) roughly 100 tons. If sufficiently powered by an outside source, the armor can achieve massively higher levels.
Alcoholism: While Tony has quit drinking, when he used to, Stark would occasionally operate the Iron Man armor while intoxicated, compromising his efficiency. Now that he continues to struggle and avoid falling off the wagon, Tony's alcoholism has made him susceptible to the prospect of drinking, specially when under pressure.
Armor: Iron Man wears a sophisticated suit of body armor containing various offensive weaponry. He has a number of suits aside from the current model. Some are mission-specific or prototypes for testing, others are older models kept for nostalgia or for research. He has developed a special briefcase to carry his armor in. A few models are too big for the case and require a separate module. As the multi-billionaire head of a global corporation and a genius-level inventor, Stark can procure or develop additional technology as needed as possible.
Iron Man Armor
Iron Man's primary powers mostly come from his armored suit.
Suiting up the Iron Armor: Originally, Iron Man's armor was put on manually. Since the Model 2 armor, the only parts needed to be snapped on his body were the torso, the arm-leg "adaptors" (the cuffs of the gloves and boots), the fingers and the back of the hands, and the boots' soles. Metallic meshes were pulled magnetically from the adaptors to the other sections of the armor in less than two seconds.
The Model 4 suit allowed for every section of the suit to be stored in the torso, with an ultra-sonic signal proceeding from Stark's wristwatch and I.D. bracelet activating a polarizing unit in the chest-beam, which caused the shoulder and collar rings to expand in a 3D form, letting out the sleeve and leggings of the suit, which were expanded upon reaching the forearm and calves by memory circuits into the cuffs of the gloves and boots, and then encasing his hands and feet. Meanwhile, the mask slid over his head from behind. This process took micro-seconds.
The Model 8 armor and later suits required again for the entire parts of the suit to be snapped on. The Model 16 armor was able to be stored compactly and fly towards Tony if necessary, quickly encasing him.
The Model 19 armor had the mesh covering the entire body made of S.K.I.N., a liquid metal, automatically covering the entire body once the chest piece was placed on it. Gloves, boots and torso had to be put manually.
After injecting himself with Extremis, Stark was able to store his suit's undersheath in the hallows of his bones, being able to make it cover his skin at will. A signal sent from the lockchip in his arm caused the rest of the pieces of the armor to be pushed towards Tony using vectored repulsor field, being able to equip his armor in "the blink of an eye."
After losing Extremis, Tony's new Model 37 armor was composed of neurokinetic user-controlled morphologic nanoparticle bundles that resided in Stark's body, and formed a fibrous wetweb of iron and platinum, that could be commanded to form any type of structure upon Stark's skin, from weaponry to clothing. Once that armor was rendered inert and expelled from Stark's body, Tony used several machines to suit himself up. The suit could also fly towards him and encase him incredibly fast.
After being morally inverted, Stark's new suit, made up of liquid smart-metal which hardened instantly on connection with the user's body, featured symbiotic "building blocks," creating a psionic bond between the suit and Tony, allowing the armor's start-up to be completely psionic and not rely on tech.
- Superhuman Strength: He's capable of lifting up to 100 tons when wearing his armor and can achieve higher levels of strength when powered by a sufficiently more powerful source. When She-Hulk got into a major frenzy, Tony was able to put her down in one punch. His exact strength heavily depends on which armor he is currently wearing.
- Superhuman Speed: Even when not traveling for extended distances, the armor enables the wearer to move and react at very high speeds, shown for example when he was able to outmaneuver Spider-Man and the Human Torch.
- Flight: The armor can typically reach speeds in excess of Mach 10, however Iron Man has been recently depicted as able to reach orbital escape velocities (5 miles per second) and up to speeds that can outrun black holes. Use of the jet boots provide enough power to lift a load of about 500 tons. Most recent suits are even able of reaching warp speed.
- Power Cells: Most of his armor are powered by a combination of solar converters, electrical batteries and an on-board generator that uses beta particle absorption as a fuel source. Current models after Iron Man Armor Model 37 use a set of five Repulsor Tech generators to be powered.
- Energy Conversion Power Recharge: The armor is also able to absorb and convert nearby or far away energy sources, such as heat, solar, electrical, magnetic, geo-thermal or kinetic energy or energy from the planet itself into electricity, or even drain energy directly into the batteries for recharge.
- Self-Contained Life-Support System & Environmental Protection: The armor can be completely sealed for operations in vacuum or underwater, providing its own life support, and is shielded against radiation, biological, chemical, corrosive, kinetic, and electrical attacks as well.
- Magnetism: The armor can generate magnetic fields to pull or push metal objects at will.
- Anti-Magnetism: The armor Tony has to negate the effects of magnetism on it. This skill is used often to be immune to the powers of Magneto. This skill can be triggered when the armor picks next wave magnetism.
- Onboard Computer: The armor has an internal on board computer operating system that aids Stark in providing strategies, background information on opponents, surroundings, the status of the suit, and prevents a lock on from targeting systems.
- Sensor Array: Known sensors include radar/lidar, night vision, and physiological/medical scanners that allow Stark to take and monitor the vitals of other people, including heart and brain scans. These scans also provide Stark with real-time personal physiological data. They are also capable of an all-environmental scan for atmospheric content or life forms--including astral energy projections.
- Override: When required, armor systems including strength amplification, durability amplification, and repulsor intensity can be greatly increased, by bypassing safety circuits and limiters. However, there is a chance that this can result in a complete system failure of the armor. An example of this mode is when Iron Man easily lifted a 16,000 ton Nuclear Reactor, and flew into the sky and threw it into the sea. It seems that he utilized this resource on the Hulk once, as the armor ends up completely inert. The range of the Override can be controlled as only reaching his very limit and staying at it for a long time will cause a system failure. This range goes from a safe 800% to 3200%, up to a very dangerous 5000%.
Crystallized Iron Armor: The armor has evolved from a bulky iron suit to a highly complex matrix of molecularly-aligned fully crystallized ultra high carbon iron/steel hybrid alloy enhanced by magnetic fields over layers of other ultra hyper alloys like titanium alloy and or tungsten/vanadium alloys reinforced with carbon nano-tubes creating a shell that is pliable, yet capable of amazingly high resilience and protection.
- Enhanced Durability: His armor is very durable, capable of withstanding tremendous amounts of punishment. It can withstand high caliber bullets with ease. He can also withstand rockets, missiles, torpedoes, high powered lasers, and such, taking little to no damage. Future armor were fully resistant against electricity, fire, heavy impacts, energy blasts, take zero Kelvin and up to the Suns temperatures, even some of Thor's attacks (see Thorbuster). The suit can withstand almost unlimited kinetic and thermal impact, as well as most forms of radiation thanks to its refractory coating. The armor can survive anything short of a nuclear explosion at ground zero. The suit automatically protects its wearer when he enters an intrinsically hostile environment, such as outer space or deep sea. The armor even has specialized circuitry that guards against telepathic attacks. Tony is very confident in his suit's defensive abilities, when he was caught in a nuclear explosion, he was only thinking about women and completely forgot about what was happening around him.
- Energy Shield: Energy shielding that can protect the user from harm. It is also capable of reflecting attacks and staying mobile. At 2% power, the shield is strong enough to withstand a nuclear explosion. It is even capable of protecting its user at the point blank of a nuclear explosion caused by a material even more radioactive than Uranium, Phlogistone. The suit's shielding can resist a force blast from the Spectral Mandarin Ring, a beam of energy so powerful it can destroy the bonds between atoms and molecules, and magic.
- Repulsor Rays: The armor's primary energy weapon. A particle beam weapon, standard equipment in the palm gauntlets; can repel physical and energy-based attacks, traveling as a single stream or as a wide-field dispersal. Beams possess penetrative strength ranging from effortlessly punching through 2 inches of steel to blasting a hole through a mountain. Power output can be adjust for larger beam or an omnidirectional, full-form repulsor blast. Power output can be adjusted to fire beams generating 2 gigawatts (like the Mark 3) to the beams in the high petawatt region, as seen with the Mark 27 (with assistance from outside sources). The latest version, the Mark IVa, was introduced with the Iron Man Armor Model 42, featuring a red color.
- Unibeam: A powerful searchlight, capable of projecting beams in virtually every light spectrum. Also used as a powerful weapon that can destroy anything in its path. It fires a boosted form of the Monobeam with some energy backing it up.
- Tri-beam: This unique version of the Unibeam runs on direct power from the chestplate, draining it's energy rapidly if not fully charged; causes considerable recoil.
- Multi-beam: As the name implies, the Multi-beam can fire multiple energies at the same time. Generally used with the energy that Tony Stark has absorbed.
- Pentabeam: The Pentabeam has microwave lensing projector that allows for directed beams of ultra-high multi mega-joule electrons, protons, acoustic energy, and neutrons.
- Omnibeam: Rather than only firing beam type attacks, the Omnibeam can generate heats at 25,232 degrees Fahrenheit, extremely powerful lights causing irreversible blindness in the enemy, and emit ultrasonic attacks capable of stunning even superhumanly durable foes and even causing disintegration. The other way the Omnibeam is fired is by absorbing or draining any energy in Iron Man's vicinity, drawing it into his chest reactor and converting it into billions of petawatts and firing it.
- Lasers: Standard lasers that can be used as weapons or for welding, including UV laser to penetrate light-permeable shields.
- Pulse Bolts: Extremely powerful plasma discharges that propagate in strength over distance, but implode if they get overloaded.
- Energy Blade: Based on the same design Tony Stark used to build Captain America's energy shield, this laser sword, emitted from his right arm, could also be flattened into a shield on his hands, or spread over the entire armor to encase the armor in a protective covering.
- Pulse Barrage Pulse Barrage is one of Iron Man's standard long range attack. Because of its extremely low energy consumption, Pulse Barrage can be a very effective attack. an upgraded Red Pulse Barrage has the ability to penetrate through foes hitting others behind them, and the ability to ricochet off walls hitting more targets.
- Smart Missiles: The Smart Missile is one that can target the weak points of a structure, object, or foe to inflict maximum damage with a minimal payload.
- Hyper-velocity Impact: The program Hyper-velocity allows Tony to think and move at a much faster time frame than everyone else, allowing for quicker attacks. Also, it could create an electrical bubble if Tony is going fast enough.
- Plasma Discharge: A plasma discharge is given off when the suit comes into contact with Vibranium.
- Telepathic Microscopic Tasers: Tony created this device to prevent telepathic beings use its powers. They are stored in the armor's electric jet. One inhaled by a telepath, the more he/she tries to use his/her psychic powers, the higher is the voltage of an electric current released in his/her body. It can be lethal if the telepath doesn't stop trying to use his/her powers.
- Telepathy Inhibitor: Tony's Iron Man armor is capable of blocking telepathic signals, even those of beings as powerful as the Red Onslaught.
When not traveling in his armor or using a Quinjet as an Avenger, Stark owns a number of vehicles. Some of them have been modified, such as a Ferrari capable of flight.
Various repulsor weapon systems by Iron Man armor
- Tony wouldn't cover up his secret identity by claiming Iron Man was his bodyguard until several issues after his first appearance. He initially claimed that Iron Man was simply a close friend of his, who happened to be close by whenever he needed to be in action. The first person to suggest Iron Man worked for Tony Stark was Gregor Shapanka when he found himself cornered by the Golden Avenger brief moments after attacking the Stark Industries vault, but Iron Man awkwardly rebuffed his claims. By Tales of Suspense #51, it appears Iron Man being Stark's bodyguard was a known fact when the Scarecrow mentions he heard that Stark kept Iron Man around for that purpose.
- When the teenage Timeslide Tony Stark entered Franklin Richards pocket universe, he was "reformatted" into an adult Tony Stark for the new world. When that Tony Stark came back to Earth-616, he remained an adult and had memories from all three incarnations of Stark. A scan of the original adult Tony Stark's grave determined the body was gone and strange readings were present. Whatever he technically was, physically or mentally, the post-Heroes Return Tony Stark considered himself to be the same man as the Iron Man who betrayed the Avengers in The Crossing.
- The identity of Iron Man was publicly revealed when Tony donned his suit to save a dog from being run over. This was then later covered up by Stark claiming to have given up the suit with someone else now inside. He then proceeded to re-reveal his identity as part of his support towards the Superhuman Registration Act.
- Tony Stark is the first human to possess and use the powerful Infinity Gauntlet, Mr. Fantastic wore first, but didn't use it.
- Stark didn't suffer from alcoholism up until few issues prior to the Demon in a Bottle story. Years later, his addiction was retroactively included in his past, through flashbacks.
- Stan Lee based Stark's personality on Howard Hughes, explaining, "Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-millionaire, a ladies man and finally a nutcase."
- At the time of Invincible Iron Man #500, Tony was 35 years old. By implementing the Marvel Sliding Timescale, that would mean he became Iron Man approximately when he was 23 years old.
- In-universe, the exploits of Iron Man (like those of many heroes), are adapted by Marvel Comics in authorized comics. Since Iron Man's identity was a secret for a long time, when Marvel was eventually given consent to fabricate backstories for heroes with secret identities, the company envisioned Iron Man's alter-ego as a "Top Gun type" blue-collar worker who took the risks on Tony Stark's equipment and designs, living life fast because he knew it could end the next day. The process was made complicated due to the times Iron Man was allegedly killed in action and replaced.
- Tony Stark has three doctorates.
- Iron Man is an atheist, while he acknowledges the existence of gods, he refuses to believe in them.
- Tony is the owner of the Roswell Army Air Field, a location mistakenly associated with Area 51.
- Tony Stark's blood type is A+.
- Stark hates J. R. R. Tolkien.
- Tony suffers from Major Depressive Disorder.
- Stark is allegedly an Aries, born between March 21 and April 19.
- According to himself, the greatest day of Tony's life was when the Avengers found Captain America frozen in a block of ice.
- As director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and an Avenger, Iron Man had Ultimate Clearance Level.
- As of Iron Man Vol 4 #7, Stark was the 36th richest man in the world.
- Thor once commended Iron Man telling him that he was as much a god as any immortal he had ever known.
- Tony Stark discovered the existence of sterile neutrinos on a bet (or possibly a dare, he doesn't recall correctly).
- Tony Stark once went to a fan convention posed as Iron Man cosplayer.
- Tony has his own Google-like search engine, called "Starkle."
- Tony has used the e-mail addresses TStark@StarkIntl.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tony Stark has set up a scholarship program for aliens, dimensional travelers, clones, and artificial intelligences, as well as other students outside the norm.
- Iron Man is unlockable after beating 2003's Tony Hawk's Underground video game.
- "Stark" means "strong" in several languages, including German, Swedish, etc.
- Tony Stark has considered marrying Emma Frost.
Source of inspiration & Cameos
- The character of Nathan Stark on the television show Eureka is inspired by Tony Stark.
- Tony Stark made a brief behind-the-scenes cameo appearance in Super Friends #5 by DC Comics. He telephoned a Super Friends telethon and spoke with Batman, wherein he pledged $75,000 to the Heart Fund.
Iron Man and Tony Stark figures are very popular and have been listed in many tops:
- Forbes.com has listed Tony Stark as #4 on its list of fifteen wealthiest fictional characters, with a net worth of US $12.4 billion.
- BusinessWeek has ranked Iron Man as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics.
- Iron Man was ranked 12th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes in 2011.
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Discover and Discuss
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- The place and moment when Tony Stark became Iron Man has changed over the years due to Marvel's sliding timescale, it was originally during the Vietnam War in Vietnam, it was later changed to the Persian Gulf, and later to an unnamed conflict in Afghanistan. In the end, it was changed to fictional Siancong War in History of the Marvel Universe Vol 2 #2 to avoid further modifications.
- Invincible Iron Man Vol 3 #1 shows Tony drinking a non-alcoholic beverage in contrast to Amara Perera's champagne. In a similar manner, Civil War II #1 shows Tony making a toast with a can of soft drink.
- Based on Pepper Potts' experience with a similar R.T. node to Stark's in Invincible Iron Man Vol 2 #4
- In addition to not having appeared with the R.T. node in Invincible Iron Man, lettered pages of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 showed any signs of Stark's R.T. node digitally removed when compared to the unlettered previews for the same pages, meaning the absence of the R.T. node in Stark's other appearances post-Secret Wars not to be a mistake
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