- —Iron Man[src]
Maria Stark suffered from severe problems during the conception of her child with Howard Stark. After being informed that the boy wouldn't survive birth, Howard traveled across the world desperately seeking for a way to cure his unborn child. He found himself rescuing the Rigellian Recorder 451 from the alien race known as the Greys, in exchange for means to ensure his child's survival.
451 had seen potential in the Earth, but feared that the various cosmic empires would endanger the planet before humanity could defend itself. In order to ensure humans reached their peak, 451 intended to insert someone in society to accelerate its technological growth. 451 revealed its plan to the Starks, and told them that their unborn child was the perfect candidate. After considering their options, Howard and Maria agreed to comply with 451's terms. In the course of the five-month procedure during which 451 genetically modified the baby in the womb, Howard found a hidden genetic tweak, a kill switch that would endanger the life of his son after he reached maturity. Fearing that 451 would simply better cover his tracks if confronted about it, Stark developed in secret a biococktail to neuter it, and injected it into Maria.
Some time later, baby Arno Stark was born. 451 helped deliver him, and then left the planet. The Starks were relieved with the final result, but their comfort was short-lived. Barely a few hours after Arno was born, his health quickly degenerated. When the Starks consulted with a doctor, it was determined the boy would never be able to breathe without medical assistance. Fearing the consequences if 451 ever discovered Howard's meddling, the Starks decided to keep Arno hidden in the Maria Stark Foundation Hospice and adopt a healthy son as a decoy. The adopted son became known as Tony Stark, whom the Starks tried to love like a real son.
Arno spent the following decades trapped in an iron lung, observing the world from his confinement and paying attention to his adoptive brother. When Arno and Tony were twenty-one years old, Maria and Howard died in a car crash. Tony inherited Howard's company Stark Industries, and years later became the armored super hero known as Iron Man. During a space voyage, 451 orchestrated an encounter with Tony, unaware that he wasn't Howard's true son. 451 told him about his supposed secret origin, and forced him to pilot the Godkiller, a giant suit of armor that only Howard's child could command due to his genetic modifications. Tony turned out to be unable to pilot the suit, and 451 killed himself. Tony eventually returned to Earth and looked into the reason 451's plan failed. His investigation led him to an old hidden recording left behind for him, in which Howard explained the truth of the events that transpired decades ago, and revealed the existence of Arno. Tony visited Arno at the Maria Stark Foundation Hospice, and the two brothers finally met. Since 451 was no longer a threat, Arno was given a new lease on life, and he set out to work together with Tony to help change the world.
Arno and Tony began transforming the decrepit Mandarin City into a futuristic utopia called Troy. Their plan soon found opposition in the form of the sentient Rings of the Mandarin, who started searching for hosts to destroy Tony and Troy. One of the Mandarins, Lord Remaker bombed the Troy Central Control were Arno was housed. Arno survived the attack, deploying his own suit of armor that he then used to help Tony and the Trojan Guard fight the enemy forces. Helping them was far-left reporter Abigail Burns, one of the Mandarins who turned against Lord Remaker since she only hated Tony Stark, but didn't want to see Troy suffer for it. After realizing the city would never be safe as long as his name was attached to it, Tony quit working directly on Troy, leaving Arno as the city's new custodian.
Afterward, Arno started donning an exoskeleton to move. While assisting Tony in his hunt for the ring-bearers, Arno became acquainted with Abigail, who had since repented after losing her ring and her hands to Malekith. Arno also joined the final confrontation against the ring-bearers in the Mandarins' City, using a modular component cell of Troy configured in the form of a giant battlesuit. During this time, Arno started working on reformulating the dangerous Extremis to turn it into a universal cure. This refined Extremis became the key to save Bruce Banner from a head injury. When Banner became at odds with Iron Man, he tricked Arno into helping him tweak the Extremis dose to enhance the intelligence of his Hulk alter, making him even smarter than Banner's persona.
Arno's technology advancements eventually allowed him to rewrite his own DNA and abate the symptoms of his congenital disease, though he would assume he had conquered his sickness in its entirety. Arno further "hacked" his biological systems to discard the necessity to sleep. As the head of the Maria Stark Foundation, Arno travelled around the world using his intellect and advanced procedures for charity work, though he only intervened in situations that caught his attention and not out of the goodness of his heart.
Alliance with Baintronics
At the end of the second superhuman civil war, Tony fell into a coma due to battle injuries. He was placed in a bio-restructuring pod of Arno's design which reconstituted his body cell by cell. When he woke up, Tony went into hiding until he fully recovered. Arno was recruited into the search party that investigated Tony's disappearance, and they later heeded Mary Jane Watson's call for help when she was helping Tony's biological mother, Amanda Armstrong, confront Tony's father, Jude, a terrorist backed up by Hydra soldiers.
During Arno's continued globetrotting endeavors, he made acquaintances with Sunset Bain, the unscrupulous CEO of Stark Unlimited's main rival, Baintronics. Arno began colluding with Bain, assisting her efforts to steal data from Stark Unlimited. During a crisis involving a virtual world of his own creation called the eScape, Tony confronted two rogue A.I.s made out of the engrams of Howard and Maria Stark, Arsenal and Mistress, respectively. Arno hacked into the eScape's surveillance system and observed Tony's confrontation against them, during which he used the unfettered potential of his brain unrestrained by his physical body to conceive the ultimate weapon, the Godbuster Armor, which caught Arno's interest. Arno managed to salvage the digital engrams of Arsenal and Mistress as well as some data on the Godbuster Armor.
Becoming Iron Man
Fueled by a desire to become more human, Tony's robotic ally Jocasta sought Arno's help to replace her body with synthetic organs. Despite the procedure being interrupted by Ultron Pym to abduct Jocasta, the experiment laid the groundwork for Arno to provide the engrams of Arsenal and Mistress artificial bodies, turning them into duplicates of his parents with all of their thoughts and memories. Arno also used his procedures to replace her Sunset with an unsuspecting artificial duplicate in order to have leverage on her.
Around this time, Arno had become convinced that the Earth was in danger of the looming threat posed by an alien A.I. aberration dubbed the Extinction Entity, a delusion caused by Arno's dormant disease which was going to return and kill him in less than a year. Shortly afterwards, Tony came to terms with the apparent revelation that he was an artificial being due to his new body having been engineered from scratch, meaning he was supposedly only a simulation of the real, late Tony Stark. In order to ensure all of Tony's resources would be at his disposal to stop the alleged Extinction Entity, Arno helped delegitimize his brother as a human being, and seized control of Stark Unlimited, based on the postulate that Tony was his property because the bio-restructuring pod used in his creation was of his design. Arno merged Stark Unlimited with Baintronics and poured their resources into building his own Iron Man armor in an attempt to recreate the Godbuster Armor. Assuming the moniker of Iron Man, Arno set out to save all life on Earth from his personal demon, the Extinction Entity.
When artificial lifeforms worldwide started fighting for equal rights in light of increased oppression, Arno assumed the robots' rogue behavior was a result of the coming of the Extinction Entity to assimilate all A.I.s and then organic life. As Iron Man, Arno became the premier anti-A.I. force, repeatedly coming to blows with the A.I. Army. The A.I. Army was in turn led by Tony, clouded by his own delusion, in his case, that he was no less artificial than a robot. After getting hold of an Un-Inhibitor, a device the A.I. Army used to give robots free will, Arno used it to create a "submission code" capable of making any robot compliant to humans if their operative system was infected with it. Arno planned to broadcast it worldwide from Bain Tower to turn all robots into an army to combat the Extinction Entity. The A.I. Army learned of Arno's plan and launched an attack on Bain Tower to stop the broadcast, unaware that Arno was expecting their presence.
Arno captured Tony and tried to convince him to help unite robotic and organic life through the use of the submission code, but Tony dismissed his brother and escaped. Tony managed to take out the antenna that was going to broadcast the submission code, and Arno retaliated with an attack that plummeted Tony to his apparent death. Following this episode, Arno came to the conclusion that the only way to unite humans and robots was to take control of the former. After building a device capable of taking control of people's minds, Arno traveled to the Stark Space Station to install it with his duplicated parents, whom he had granted new robotic forms modelled after their original Arsenal and Mistress identities. Arno was followed by Tony, who had reemerged in a restored body no longer believing to be a copy of himself, and an assortment of allies.
Having previously become aware of the truth behind the Extinction Entity and Arno's life expectancy, but realizing he didn't have enough time to convince Arno of his delusion before he enslaved humanity, Tony encased his brother in his Virtual Armor. The suit acted as a life-support system to prolong Arno's life while submerging him in a virtual dream that saw him become a beloved hero after defeating the Extinction Entity. Tony also convinced Arsenal and Mistress to upload their consciousness into Arno's virtual world to keep him company and prevent him from realizing that he was in a simulation.
When Tony first met Arno, he displayed a pleasant demeanor, and didn't appear to hold any resentment towards him or his parents, possibly due to his principle not to dwell in the past and instead live for the future. He additionally appeared eager to work alongside his brother. However, Arno eventually showed vestiges of a darker side, working on reformulating the dangerous Extremis virus behind Tony's back and sneering at him when he protested, remarking that he was smarter than him. This exchange outright caused Tony to question if he really knew Arno at all.
As time went by, Arno became more openly conceited, self-interested and acerbic. He displayed further sociopathic tendencies, acting apathetic towards other people and showing an outright lack of concern for others; when caught in a stampede of mutagenic bulls, he only worried for his own survival and was unfazed by the massacre surrounding him. Despite this, when presented with the opportunity, Arno saved Tony's life when his armor was left stranded in orbit without oxygen, since they were brothers. It's also apparent that Arno has only repressed his negative feelings for Tony and his parents, having one time caught himself thinking bitterly of his brother. Arno also became extremely judgmental and punitive; he has refused to assist people who disingenuously abused his methods to solve their issues despite undoing his solution; and one time purposefully transplanted the arm of a dead woman victim of a negligent car accident to the person that caused it, causing his new arm to become possessed by traces of the victim's memory and haunt him.
Arno is extremely concerned by the wellbeing of the planet Earth as a whole, having spent his entire life before coming out of hiding thinking on solutions for the planet's problems. He considers himself a person motivated by ideas and likes to dive into inspiration when it strikes. However, despite pouring himself into charity work to improve the world, Arno only assisted those cases that caught his attention. Arno believes that his entire life has led to a destiny of saving all life on Earth.
Due to Recorder 451, Arno is extremely apprehensive towards artificial intelligences. When Tony Stark became convinced that he was an artificial being, Arno worked to delegitimize Tony as a human being, and even referred to him as an "it."
Powers and Abilities
Super-Genius Class Intelligence: The Rigellian Recorder 451 used Kree technology, among others, to genetically engineer Arno when he was still unborn, in order to create the ultimate genius who would uplift humanity, by modifying his thought process and enhancing his intelligence, in order to make him think differently and more practically compared to other known geniuses like Black Panther, Mr. Fantastic, or Dr. Doom. Arno has claimed to be even smarter than his foster brother Tony.
Enhanced Biology: Arno used his own heavily modified variant of the Extremis virus to rewrite his cells so his body could function much more efficiently. The exact extent of these enhancements have not been fully revealed yet.
- Enhanced Stamina: Arno has remarked that got rid of his body's necessity to sleep.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: The alterations healed Arno and now Arno can also function and walk without any support.
- Limited Self-Control: Arno could also control his body to reach instant meditation.
Arno was initially confined to an iron lung, and used a keyboard-controlled speech generator. Before Arno improved his quality of life on his own, Tony gave him a speech-generating earpiece that worked with a telepathic interface. Arno later developed a special exoskeleton to help him walk upright and move normally until he removed his congenital disease from his body.
- Arno Stark is an adaptation of the character of the same name from the divergent future of Earth-8410, better known as Iron Man 2020 due to Earth-8410 taking place in that year. This version of Arno, however, is Tony Stark's first cousin once removed instead of his adoptive brother. Just like his counterpart, by the year of 2020, he eventually became Iron Man.
- Arno being trapped in an iron lung was idea of editor Mark Paniccia.
- Arno's first suit of armor had "MMXX" engraved in its surface. MMXX is 2020 in Roman numerals.
- Tony Stark: Iron Man and Iron Man 2020 writer Dan Slott has compared Arno's behavior to that of Spock from Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes as portrayed in the BBC series Sherlock.
- The script for Iron Man 2020 (Vol. 2) #1 asked for Arno to be portrayed as the most off-putting and alien of all the cast of characters, creating a dichotomy since Arno would be portrayed more odd and inhuman than the artificial life forms he fights.
- 40 appearance(s) of Arno Stark (Earth-616)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Arno Stark (Earth-616)
- 8 mention(s) of Arno Stark (Earth-616)
- 77 image(s) of Arno Stark (Earth-616)
- 8 quotation(s) by or about Arno Stark (Earth-616)
- 3 victim(s) killed by Arno Stark (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Arno Stark (Earth-616)