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Quote1.png I'd had enough of everything back home. Being constantly humiliated when all I wanted was a stake in something. So I came here with a plan. I wanted to show that I could be a leader. Create something good. And I did. Quote2.png
Stilt-Man

Appearing in "Walking Away from Omelas"

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Synopsis for "Walking Away from Omelas"

Brief Synopsis

After the Megiddans mourn those they lost fighting the invading Ultimo, Iron Man suggests to take the fight to the robots' source since he wants to see Megiddo prosper, but Stilt-Man shoots down the idea. When Hellcat reaches out to Stark telepathically, he admits that he turned off his armor's morphine governor and is abusing it. Much to Tony's chagrin, Hellcat tells Tony that she and the rest of his makeshift team have decided to confront Korvac on Taa II without him.

At night, Iron Man sneaks into the quarry of Ultimo remains to analyze them, but he's intercepted by Avro-X. Tony quickly defeats him and continues his work, finding inside the millennia-ancient robots remote-control technology that is very recent. The two heroes confront Stilt-Man at his workshop temple, and Day admits that he is the mastermind behind the Ultimos. He reveals that, tired of his constant humiliation on Earth and desiring to have a stake in something and prove he could be a leader, he was responsible for bringing everybody to this planet and only pretended the same had happened to him. Stilt-Man explains that he had learned how to reprogram the Ultimos that were already roaming the planet and used them as a looming threat for the Megiddans to bond together over survival. He also admits that when he heard the S.O.S. signal from Stark's ship, he decided to abduct him to show Tony his work. Following Stilt-Man's defeat at the hands of Iron Man Iron Man and Avro-X, the Megiddans arrive at the temple and take him away. Afterward, the Living Tribunal appears in front of Iron Man to warn him that the universe is on the verge of catastrophic imbalance and only he can stop it. After Iron Man asks him to return every Megiddan back to their home, the Living Tribunal teleports him and Avro-X to Taa II, but the arrival of the two heroes alerts the ship's security systems.

Detailed Synopsis

At sunset in Megiddo, Iron Man, who is wearing only the chest plate and helmet out of his entire armor, accompanies the community as they mourn in front of a row of newly-filled graves for those who died in the Ultimo attack, including Yar. Stilt-Man and Avro-X say a few eulogistic words. The Megiddans head back to the camp, but Tony and Colin linger. After lamenting the deaths, Stark asks Colin how many people have died in the colony. Avro turns his head toward Tony and somberly expresses that too many. Tony asks about attacking the source of the Ultimos, and Colin points out that the community is barely functional to launch an attack. As Colin walks away to catch up with Wilbur, Tony suggests checking the wreckage of the robot later. Avro interrupts him to inform him that the remains are already being melted for better use. From the distance, Day gazes at Tony with a stern look.

As he enters his hut, Tony becomes perplexed when he recalls Colin's mention of the wreckage being melted down. Wilbur follows Tony into the hut to check up on him. Tony suggests to stamp out the Ultimos, which he sees as the one terrible thing about something that is otherwise a paradise. Irritated, Day expresses that the idea does cross his mind, but he points out that the colony's inhabitants are not fighters and the best he can do is try to protect them. Tony explains that they could take a stealthy approach, but Wilbur warns him that they have approximated the Ultimos' source to be a singularity; a self-automated endless assembly continents away, and assures Stark that even if one errant Ultimo knew of their location, it would take months for it to reach it. Tony maintains that he wants to help. Reaching out to Tony's shoulder, Wilbur clarifies that he wants his help, but proposes that they have a better chance to being rescued. He reveals he has been working on a signaling system, and Tony appears hesitant to the idea. Wilbur agrees that they have created a beautiful home, even if by accident, and contemplates with amusement the fact that the threat of the Ultimos keeps the Megiddans bound together. Tony posits that Megiddo could really grow without that threat. As he gestures Tony to join him outside the hut, Day urges Tony to help him with the rescue signal. Tony concedes, and Wilbur invites him to join the rest for dinner. The two walk down the village, and as Tony and Wilbur exchange words about how they feel about their new life, Tony hears Hellcat's voice, asking Stark if he isn't forgetting about something. She explains that she's reaching him telepathically, and asks for a moment with him. Tony tells Day to go ahead without him, and Patsy expresses disbelief at him being in good terms with Stilt-Man. She reveals that she's reading Tony's mind to get up to speed on what he's doing. Tony disproves her doing that, and tells her to go somewhere else to talk.

Tony opens his hut's curtains to see a projection of Hellcat. He ungracefully compliments her spectral appearance, and Patsy deadpan reminds him of Korvac. Tony apologizes and explains that he caught up helping Megiddo, to which Hellcat drily points out Korvac is the bigger threat. Tony stumbles over his words, and Patsy finishes expressing his belief that Megiddo seems to be a perfect place, even though she brings up the threat of the Ultimos. Patsy reveals she knows Tony has turned off his suit's morphine governor and as she caresses Tony's faceplate she asks him how high he is. Tony sits down leaning against a wall and dejectedly confesses that he is very high. Hellcat comforts Tony about the weight he has put on his shoulder and tells him he doesn't have to do it alone, revealing that she and the rest of the team have decided to face Korvac on Taa II without him. Tony pleads her to wait for him, and his hand phases into Patsy's astral projection as he tries to reach her. Patsy tells him that they are close to the ship and have beaten Korvac to it, and expresses she doesn't want to miss the chance to ambush him. Tony warns her that all of their deaths could end in his conscience. Patsy sternly tells him to stop putting the blame of himself, since it means he is making it about himself and taking away everybody else's choices, who she asserts aren't reflections of himself. Aboard the ship, Patsy finishes communicating with Tony, informing him that they'll come for him afterward, and ordering him to turn back on the medicine governor. Hellcat walks toward the rest of the team. War Machine reports that they are two hundred klicks out from Taa II, and asks what's the next move. Patsy tells them they're on their own, leaving the team astounded. Misty Knight sardonically points out that this already felt like a suicide mission, and the Scarlet Spider asks Patsy if there's no way they can get Tony. Hellcat expresses that even if they could, he is in bad shape, and asks the team to trust her. As the ship continues flying across space, she reaffirms that it's only them and tells them to go try to save the universe.

Tony is left sitting against the wall holding his head. At night, he is laying on his bed with his eyes open. Wearing his full armor, he sneaks out of his hut. He walks into the quarry of Ultimo remains, looking over his shoulder. He walks to a disembodied Ultimo head and begins analyzing with the components underneath one of its panels. Avro-X descend and hovers behind Tony, reminding him he was told the wreckage was off-limits. Without turning around, Tony asks Colin why is that. The Canadian hero claims Wilbur has been through half-dozen of these Ultimos and it's a waste of time. Tony's takeaway is that it was Wilbur who decided they were off-limits. Avro-X attacks Tony with an energy ray from behind. As Tony reels from the attack, Colin reminds him that he isn't their leader. Tony warns Avro that he will have to pull his punches otherwise he'd kill him. Avro taunts Tony that he would need to get close enough for that and uses his boot jets offensively on Tony, but Stark grabs him by the leg and slams into the ground, causing Avro's helmet to fall off his head. Tony angrily demands to know what is he hiding. Colin explains that he only knows the Ultimo remains are too dangerous to mess with, and as Tony keeps interrogating him he reveals that Stilt-Man has told him to just protect the people and not upset a natural balance. Avro gets off the ground as he watches Iron Man resume his analysis. Colin asks if Tony has found anything, and Tony lists off many components like circuitry and chips he has found within the robot which seem like very recent work.

Inside his temple, Wilbur is working on a device when Iron Man blasts his door open with a repulsor blast. As he and Avro walk inside, Day turns around asking if they tried knocking first, wondering if maybe he was distracted and didn't hear it. The duo approach Stilt-Man and confront him about controlling the Ultimos remotely. This results in a fight, and Day elevates himself using his stilts. Day accuses the two heroes of failing to understand that the Ultimos are part of the ecosystem, and he rambles about a grand experiment he claims it's working. Wilbur extends his arms like his legs, grabbing Iron Man and Avro with each hand and pushing them into opposite walls. He reveals that he was tired of being constantly humiliated on Earth, and all he wanted was a stake in something. He explains that he had come to this planet with the plan to show that he could be a leader and create something good. He elaborates that the interference beam that brought everybody was of his invention and he only pretended the same had happened to him, so that way everybody would bond to survive. He tells Colin that he gave the people what they all wanted, somewhere where they could let go of what they were before. Asking the reason for the Ultimos and for killing the people, Iron Man wrenches Day's robotic arm. As it collapses, Wilbur snaps his fingers, making the arm come apart at his elbow, freeing his real arm and revealing a blaster under his sleeve. He reveals that the planet's previous inhabitants had created the Ultimos, but the robots had destroyed them and then roamed free, and that he had learned how to reprogram them. Iron Man flies through the air dodging the fire from Stilt-Man's arm cannon while Avro-X is still in the villain's grasp. Colin manages to break free and snap the robot arm. Day screams in pain and the two heroes push Wilbur's stilts into opposite directions, causing him to lose his balance and fall into his work table. Tony flies down and asks Day why did he use the robots to kill. Muttering and crying, Stilt-Man justifies that he didn't want the colony to grow too big it would risk his leadership, so by keeping the community small and with a looming threat, there would be no dissension. He also reveals that when he heard the S.O.S. signal from Tony's ship, he felt the need to take his chances and bring Stark to show him that he could lead something pure. Tony contends that it's sick and sad. Taking off his helmet, Colin turns around, adding that it also seems infuriating. The duo notice the rest of the colony behind them, having just entered the temple. Tony and Colin try to dissuade them, but the crowd pushes the two aside screaming and they grab Wilbur. They hold him above their heads and leave the building while he begs to Tony and Avro, and then screams at his attackers that he loves them. Before Tony can finish wondering what they will do with him, Colin tells him they need to trust the colony to deal with him at their discretion.

As Tony and Avro leave the temple, Stark expresses that he won't let the Megiddans kill him. Colin assures him that they are good people who know there's already been too much death. A light suddenly flashes, and the Living Tribunal appears in front of Iron Man and Avro-X and addresses Tony. The cosmic being explains that the universe is on the verge of catastrophic imbalance, and asserts that only Tony can fix it, for which he needs to travel to Taa II immediately. Tony quickly tells Colin about Korvac and his plan to get the Power Cosmic. Tony interprets that the Living Tribunal's words mean his friends won't stop Korvac on their own, so he has to do it. The cosmic being warns Tony that he has gravely misunderstood his words, but must still leave. Tony asks in exchange to have all the Megiddans sent back home, and the Tribunal agrees. Colin asks Tony to come with him. A light flashes and the two heroes find themselves inside Taa II. Tony notices that there is no sign of Korvac or Galactus, but realizes they have triggered the ship's defenses systems as a robotic voice blurts out, "Intruder alert."

Solicit Synopsis

After bringing down an Ultimo robot nearly singlehandedly, Iron Man continues to investigate the strange and small colony on the remote planet where he’s been marooned. Life here seems perfect…but is it? And who’s possibly pulling the strings behind its delicate design? As Tony digs deeper for answers, an astral projection of Hellcat warns him that Korvac is still the biggest threat they all face…unless Tony gives into addiction, this time in the form of pain medication for his many injuries. FEATURING ANOTHER APPEARANCE BY EVERYONE’S FAVORITE ARMORED CANADIAN HERO, AVRO-X! Plus: STILT-MAN!

Notes

  • As per its corner box legacy numbering, this issue corresponds to Iron Man #636.
  • While talking to Iron Man, Stilt-Man mentions that it feels like yesterday that Daredevil was pile-driving him through a parked car. An editor's note references Daredevil (Vol. 6) #20. In this issue, Stilt-Man is one of many super villains hired to wreck havoc in Hell's Kitchen, which he does by employing bombs. Daredevil stops Wilbur by using one of his explosives on his own stitls, and then pile-drives him into a car like Wilbur recalls.
  • Stilt-Man admits that he decided to abduct Iron Man to Megiddo after hearing a S.O.S. signal from his ship. This signal was sent out by Misty Knight in Iron Man (Vol. 6) #7.
  • Iron Man notices that Galactus is absent from Taa II. Galactus was killed by Thor in Thor (Vol. 6) #6.

Trivia

  • This issue's story is a reference to the 1973 philosophical fiction short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas". In this work, Omelas is an idyllic city whose prosperity depends on the perpetual misery of a single child. The ones who walk away from Omelas are the few people that refuse to acquiesce to this injustice and simply walk away into the unknown.
  • As he is talking to Stilt-Man about their approach to take down the source of the Ultimos, Iron Man mentions that it doesn't have to be Pickett's Charge. Pickett's Charge was an Confederate infantry assault that took place during the American Civil War which is notorious for its failure.
  • When Stilt-Man tries to posit that the alleged singularity that creates the Ultimos is the one controlling them remotely, Iron Man remarks that a sentient singularity doesn't shop at RadioShack with regards to the contemporary components in the machines. RadioShack is an American retailer of electronic items and components.

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

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