Appearing in 1st story
- A.I. Army
- Robo-Buccaneers (First appearance) (Join team)
- Machinesmith (Samuel Saxon) (Controlled by Arno's O.S.)
- Unnamed Brevoort Dynamics robot (First appearance) (Joins team)
- Awesome Andy
- Futura Motors crash test dummies (First appearance) (Join team)
- Unit Four (First appearance)
- Unidentified others (First appearance)
- Quasimodo (Death)
- Machine Man (Aaron Stack)
- Mark One (Tony Stark)
- Several Nick Fury LMDs
- Unnamed bomb disposal robot
- Numerous unidentified others
- "Ghost in the Machine" (First appearance as Ghost in the Machine) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Stingray (Walter Newell)
- Captain Barracuda
- Brevoort Dynamics (First appearance)
- Futura Motors (First appearance)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Ford (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- "Howard Stark" (Arsenal)
- "Maria Stark" (Mistress)
- Howard Stark (Mentioned) (Deceased)
- Extinction Entity (Mentioned)
- Pepper Potts (On-screen)
- Janet Van Dyne (On-screen)
- Riri Williams (On-screen)
- Bethany Cabe (On-screen)
- James "Rhodey" Rhodes (On-screen)
- Baintronics, Inc.
- Cain (Mentioned)
- Abel (Mentioned)
- Delmar Insurance Company (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Atlantic Ocean
- United States of America
- Futura Motors testing site (First appearance)
- Dodge City, Kansas (Mentioned)
- New York
- Hell (Invoked)
- Stingray's Suit
- Un-Inhibitor (First appearance)
- Iron Man Armor Model 67
- Ironheart Armor Model 3 (On-screen)
- Iron Man Armor Model 1
Synopsis for 1st story
The A.I. Army continues its efforts to liberate artificial life-forms by raiding places where robots are being subjugated; making use of Un-Inhibitors to give them free will. Iron Man intercepts an attack on a Futura Motors testing site by Quasimodo and H.E.R.B.I.E. and manages to recover an Un-Inhibitor. He reverse-engineers it, and creates a submission code that will allow him to take control of all A.I.s.
At the Thirteenth Floor, Mark One receives a transmission from a mole inside Baintronics codenamed Ghost in the Machine revealing Arno has used the submission code on Jocasta, who has been given a new body as well, making her entirely compliant. Stark plans to upload the submission code into the Internet, instantly infecting every single robot online. With only three hours before the code is transmitted to Stark Unlimited's satellite network, Mark One devices a heist on the newly-built Bain Tower in order to tamper with the code before its launch. Having discovered the secret behind the Thirteenth Floor, that it relies on buildings lacking a physical thirteenth floor, Arno shuts out the A.I. Army by renumbering the digital floor signage. He additionally uses Jocasta to lure Machine Man away from the tower, and infects Machinesmith with the submission code while he was trying to tweak it. Mark One becomes the only member of the A.I. Army standing, and Arno confronts him.
Aboard a ship in the Bermuda Triangle, Stingray stands in a face-off against Captain Barracuda, surrounded by the villain and his Robo-Buccaneers. A submarine suddenly emerges next to Barracuda's ship blowing its horn. Machinesmith appears from the hatch, holding a device. Calling it an Un-Inhibitor, he declares Barracuda's robots are now free of human control and invites them into the A.I. Army. The robots leave to Machinesmith's submarine promptly, dissing Captain Barracuda, leaving their former leader thunderstruck. Barracuda asks Stingray what happened, and Newell simply tells him he's going to punch him now.
In the campus of Brevoort Dynamics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, two roboticists test the stability of a quadruped canine-like robot by repeatedly knocking it over with a hockey stick, causing it to express confusion. A giant arm suddenly grabs the hockey stick from one of the roboticists and knocks him over with it. It's the Awesome Android, who then steps away cradling the test robot.
At a Futura Motors testing site, a group of scientists observe a group of sentient crash test dummies they have placed inside a speeding car. Quasimodo and H.E.R.B.I.E. suddenly burst out of the wall the car was meant to crash. H.E.R.B.I.E. activates the Un-Inhibitor while Quasimodo catches the car. Quasimodo flings the car into the air, aiming it at the scientist's observation deck. He denounced that they are using sentient A.I.s to measure their fear, and tells the scientist to measure their own. Before the car hits the front of the deck, a blur intercepts it. Hovering over the ground, Iron Man holds the car above his head and tells the scientist to evacuate. Arno throws the car back at robots, and Quasimodo shields them. Stark uses a repulsor ray to ignite the car, and while Quasimodo resists the explosion, a piece of fiery scrap causes H.E.R.B.I.E. to drop the Un-Inhibitor. Quasimodo goads Iron Man, but H.E.R.B.I.E. convinces him to escape. Iron Man prepares to pursue the robots when he notices the Un-Inhibitor on the floor. A scientist reproaches that Arno let the robots get away. Stark shrugs him off, and points out that the robots were only part of a bigger picture, whereas the Un-Inhibitor will allow him to end the robot revolution once and for all.
At his workshop in Baintronic, Arno is tinkering with the Un-Inhibitor when he is approached by Maria and Howard Stark. Howard offers his son help, but Arno clarifies he actually learned how it worked four hours ago and he's only extrapolating it. Arno explains that when the Extinction Entity comes to annihilate Earth, humanity's only chance of survival will come from all biological and A.I. life working together under his rule, and that the Un-Inhibitor will be the key to controlling all A.I. intelligence. Howard and Maria become concerned, and bring up that they're also technically artificial life forms. Arno looks at them with speechless contempt.
At his private study in the Thirteenth Floor, Mark One is displaying on several different videocalls of his friends and loved ones trying to reach out to him in worry: Janet Van Dyne, Bethany Cabe, Pepper Potts, Riri Williams, and Jim Rhodes. Machine Man is standing next to Tony, and asks him if he intends on responding them. Tony clarifies that the he is Mark One, and the calls are for Tony Stark, who is dead. He admits that he feels guilty about letting them think that he is drinking, when he hasn't had alcohol, but believes it's necessary to make the world believe so. The computer audio announces the playback is being overridden by a priority message. The screen panels are replaced by a silhouette behind a static screen noise. Using the call sign "Ghost in the Machine," the silhouette forwards Mark One a file from inside Baintronics. Acknowleding the risk of doing so, Ghost in the Machine tells him that the future of the rebellion depends on it. Tony tells Machine Man to gather everyone.
The A.I. Army gathers in front of a screen to see a recording of Sunset Bain, Arno Stark, and Andy Bhang standing in front of Jocasta's new inert body which is much less humanoid. Andy brings up the fact that she's completely motionless, stating that the Jocasta he knows is full of life. Arno explains he has given her peace of mind, using a new universal operating system for all A.I. that has made her purpose to serve. Stark caresses Jocasta, ordering her to arise. She asks how to be of service, and Sunset has her compliantly dance ballet. Machine Man lashes out in shock, asking what did they do to her. Arno touches Jocasta's shoulders and asks her how does she feel. She replies that she feels at peace and thanks him. Arno explains that his code takes time to compile, but once it's uploaded into Baintronics' main servers and pushed out across Stark Unlimited's network it will live in the cloud forever. This will cause every robot connected to the Internet to automatically receive the update and put an end to their rebellion, so they can prepare for the real enemy. Ghost in the Machine comes back on-screen to inform that Baintronics' servers are already compiling the data and the transmission will be sent from Bain's primary server to the Stark satellite network system in the next three hours, and hangs up. Quasimodo suggests to send out a warning for all A.I.s to stay offline, but Machinesmith points out many robots rely on the web to function, and without it they will also be left without communications. Mark tells them that the transmission will go as scheduled, but only after tweaking Arno's code, which will require them to pull off the heist of the century.
Mark One shows the A.I. Army a hologram projection of Bain Tower, a massive impregnable skyscraper built in record time using resources of both Baintronics and Stark Unlimited. He explains that to succeed, they will sacrifice their two greatest pieces of intel. Since the floor numbering skips floor thirteenth, getting into the building will give Arno enough information to figure out the existence of the Thirteenth Floor. The mission will also expose Mark One as the leader of the rebellion, but Tony ensures it will be worth it.
In juxtaposition with the phases of the heist being carried out, Mark One explains their first move will consist of him, Quasimodo and the Nick Fury LMDs launching an abrupt attack on Bain's security forces. Tony surmises Arno will not resist the chance to show him up despite how much he thinks he is above being ruled by emotion. During the heist, Arno monitors the attack and becomes infuriated. Mark explains that his attack will be a diversion, with Machinesmith, Awesome Andy and H.E.R.B.I.E. infiltrating the building's fourteenth floor that it's connected to the tower's mainframe. H.E.R.B.I.E. will hack it and locate the server's storing Arno's operating system. Machinesmith will then merge with the code and insert a software patch while Awesome Andy guards him. Machine Man asks where is he going to be, and Mark tells him he will infiltrate the tallest adjacent building to be ready to blow up the building's transmitting tower as a last resort to delay Arno's plan. At the time of the heist, Machine Man stands with a bazooka across Bain Tower, feeling completely bored. Quasimodo estimates the A.I. Army will suffer heavy casualties. Mark acknowledges the risk, and also that anybody captured will be reprogrammed into a slave, but that either a few do or everybody does.
The heist is now taking place, and the A.I. Army rampages through a corridor of the tower. Mark One notices there is yet no sign of Arno, and orders H.E.R.B.I.E. to access building security to open the other fourteenth floor elevators and send a second wave of robots. At the Thirteenth Floor, a group of robots are preparing to jump through entry portals when the doors suddenly turn black, shutting them out. H.E.R.B.I.E. notices that the digital floor signage suddenly reads "13." From his surveillance station, Arno smiles wide, and reveals that he had figured out the A.I. Army's secret after the hospital incident. Since it relies on a psycho-structured collective belief that there isn't a thirteenth floor, all he had to do to cut off the army's access was to renumber the floors in the tower. In the building across Bain Tower, Machine Man is complaining about his predicament when he notices an sky cycle coming out of Baintronics. He realizes that it's Jocasta, and leaves his position, using his extending arm to tow himself to it, declaring that he can't lose her again.
Arno continues monitoring the situation, sarcastically asking how devastating it would be if one of Tony's key players was lured away, and how much worse it would be if another changed sides. While working on Arno's submission code, Machinesmith is suddenly infected by it. Back in the corridor, the LMDs are down, and Mark One tries to contact anybody else. Quasimodo is blasted from behind, and dies in Mark One's arms, asking him to promise they will win. Tony tells him that in a way they did, and as Iron Man approaches him, Mark asks Tony if it was all a set up. He posits that the submission code doesn't exist, and its existence was only a bait to lure Tony into the open. Arno mocks Mark, pointing out that even a copy of Tony Stark thinks everything is about him. As he and Arno prepare to trade blows, Mark concurs that it is, exclaiming that he is Iron Man. Arno tells him that he is wrong on every count. He disputes that Tony isn't Iron Man any more, and affirms that the code exist. He tells Mark that he failed to stop it, and here and now is where the Robot Rebellion dies.
“The Rebel Compliance”
All is well. The Robot Rebellion has been dealt with. Humanity is perfectly safe. You may all thank Arno Stark, the Iron Man of 2020. Don’t you feel better now? Machine Man is NOT coming to kill you and everyone you love. 1010101111001100110000. Pay no attention to those numbers. Those were a typo. We apologize for any errors, glitches, or... unforeseen problems with any of your Baintronics devices. A new software patch is coming. For EVERYTHING.
- This issue marks the first full appearance of Bain Tower, a building mentioned to have been built in record time some time after Baintronics' acquisition of Stark Unlimited. This tower should not be confused with the established location of Baintronics Headquarters, which was identified as Bain Tower in the artwork of Tony Stark: Iron Man #8, but never in dialogue or landmark captions.
- While staking out Bain Tower as part of the heist backup plan, Machine Man complains that he is not an insurance policy, and expresses that his days in insurance are over. When he first assumed the identity of Aaron Stack, Machine Man worked as an insurance investigator for the Delmar Insurance Company.
- Brevoort Dynamics is named after editor Tom Brevoort. The company's logo consists of a fedora and a pair of glasses, which are Brevoort's trademark accessories.
- Brevoort Dynamics also appears to double as a reference to the real-life company Boston Dynamics, which is best known for the development of quadruped canine-inspired robots. Boston Dynamics' robots became popular in 2015 following a viral video in which a robot's stability was tested by being repeatedly kicked over. Like Brevoort Dynamics, Boston Dynamics is located in Massachusetts.
- McFarland, Matt (12 February 2015). Google’s robotic ‘dog’ — that can’t stop getting kicked — laps up Internet sympathy. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 15 February 2020.
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