Appearing in "The Great I-M"
- Space Friends (First appearance as Space Friends)
- B.O.S.S. (Voice)
- Galactus (Galan) (Mentioned)
- Avro-X (Colin Richard) (Referenced)
- Kermit the Frog (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Invoked)
- Iron Man Armor Model 70
- War Machine Armor Model 8
- Cat Suit
- Scarlet Spider's Suit, Utility Belt, and Web-Shooters
- Frog-Man's Suit
- My Little Pony (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Control Disc
- Power Cosmic
Synopsis for "The Great I-M"
Inside Taa II, Korvac and his acolytes recover from the crash landing of the ship carrying Iron Man's allies. Korvac accesses the shipwide portal system of Taa II and leaves through a portal. Iron Man's allies reconvene around him, and Tony is still in a state of near stupor because of his morphine high. He orders War Machine, Halcyon and Frog-Man to go search for a self-destruct mechanism while Hellcat, Misty Knight, Gargoyle and the Scarlet Spider go with him. At Frog-Man's request, Tony christens the team the Space Friends.
In the tunnels of Taa II, Rhodey's group is attacked by Blizzard but they defeat him. Frog-Man spots Korvac walking into a portal and intercepts him after he has opened the entrance to the transmutation chamber. Iron Man and Misty Knight step out of the same portal and take down Unicorn. B.O.S.S. accesses the portal system and uses it to bring Hellcat and Gargoyle. They intercept the Controller and defeat him. The mind-controlled Human Torch flies past them and into the chamber carrying Korvac. Iron Man and his allies follow them, reaching a giant platform where spotlight-like projectors are converging in the middle, manifesting the Power Cosmic.
Hellcat has Gargoyle throw her at the Human Torch, and she manages to remove the Control Disc attached to his neck. Misty shoots one of the beam projectors, but drones arrive to repair it. Before Korvac can reach into the Power Cosmic, Iron Man and the Human Torch combine an attack that blasts away his synthetic skin. Tony lashes out at Korvac and pummels him, seemingly deactivating the android villain, but begins to succumb to brain damage. Korvac reactivates and taps into the Power Cosmic and is assimilated by it. Thinking to himself that he wasn't enough to stop Korvac, Tony decides to reach into the Power Cosmic as well, and a burst of light flashes.
It's pitch black and in his inner monologue, Iron Man thinks to himself that he can't stop Korvac. The villain is surrounded by his fallen acolytes in the hangar inside Taa II. As he regains his footing, he demands them to get up as well. Feebly, Unicorn tells him that he is hurt, but his master spurs him on to stand up. All of his acolytes follow Korvac as he approaches his ship. Its systems announce the shipwide portal system of Taa II is activated. Korvac reminisces his original obtainment of the Power Cosmic, and exclaims it is his destiny. A glowing yellow energy door manifests in front of him, and Korvac and his acolytes walk through it. Still knocked down in the floor, Tony expresses his chagrin. Noticing that Tony is alive, War Machine lifts him from behind by the arms. Hellcat emerges from the wreckage of Tony's ship through its broken windshield, and makes a chiding remark that he couldn't let his team carry the mission to stop Korvac without him. Tony replies that he doesn't know if he can do anything without her, and asks if anybody has seen his armor's faceplate. Tony is in a state of near stupor due to his morphine high.
The rest of Tony's crew emerges from the spacecraft as well. The Scarlet Spider makes a sarcastic remark while kicking the shuttle's door open with Frog-Man behind him. Misty Knight, Gargoyle and Halcyon exit through the broken windshield. Gargoyle complains about his broken glasses, but also notices Halcyon's suit appears to be malfunctioning. With the team gathered, Tony asks B.O.S.S. to try to access Taa II's portal system as well. Tony enlists Hellcat, the Scarlet Spider, Gargoyle and Misty to join his side, and tells Rhodey, Halcyon and Frog-Man to go find the ship's self-destruct mechanism as a last resort. Patsy hands over Tony's faceplate to him, while also holding Avro-X's helmet. She wonders who did it belong to, and Tony recalls that he was a friend and a hero. Frog-Man expresses that it's time this team got a name, and Tony unceremoniously dubs it the Space Friends. Gargoyle chortles, questioning the use of "friends." Patsy asks Tony if he is okay. Tony puts on his faceplate and argues that they are his friends and not his employees, as one of them previously remarked. Iron Man orders the team to move, and asks Rhodey to keep his suit's communications channel open.
Moments later, War Machine is flying through the tunnels of Taa II with Halcyon riding on his back and Frog-Man hopping by his side. Eugene wonders why did Stark send him with the engine experts to find the self-destruct mechanism. Rhodey admits that Frog-Man is somewhat of a liability, and suggest that Tony didn't want him near Korvac. As Frog-Man is taking offense to this, a beam of ice suddenly freezes War Machine's legs. He crashes into the ground, but Halcyon manages to jump beforehand and land safely. Frog-Man jumps to Rhodey's aid, and Blizzard appears from the shadows, sending Korvac's regards. Halcyon lunges at Blizzard, and War Machine orders Frog-Man to back him up while he uses his repulsors to thaw out the ice. Blizzard knocks Halcyon back with a punch and prepares to freeze Frog-Man, who is jumping toward him, but War Machine blasts him from behind with repulsors. Frog-Man sees Korvac in a level below entering a portal and jumps into action despite War Machine's warning, hoping to help save the universe.
Korvac and his remaining acolytes step out of the portal and into a circular platform surrounding a column of technological components that stands tall above the ground. Korvac states that he will access the power within the transmutation chamber, but first the path of God needs to be illuminated. Twisting a lever in the column, a number of panels fly into formation, materializing a set of stairs from the platform to an otherwise unreachable door in the wall in front of the column. Frog-Man jumps out of the portal and kicks Korvac, plunging himself and the villain off the platform. The Human Torch dives to Korvac's aid. The Controller tells Unicorn to guard the portal while he secures the chamber upstairs. Before hitting the ground below, Korvac blasts Frog-Man with electricity, and both hit the ground. Iron Man flies out of the portal, rallying his allies. Unicorn fires his horn, but the blast misses Stark. Misty Knight arrives as well and pummels Unicorn, after which she reminds Tony that the bionic arm she uses remains one of his best ideas. Tony thanks her for using it to beat up Unicorn. B.O.S.S. states that it has accessed the portal system and has enabled to reprogram it. Unicorn yells as he stands up, but Misty shoots him in the kneecaps with her gun. Tony quips that the gun wasn't his idea, and Misty replies it was hers. Tony orders B.O.S.S. to open as many portals in the ship as possible but redirect them all into the room where he is. A portal manifests at the end of the set of stairs, intercepting the Controller. Hellcat and Gargoyle step out of it, and Patsy uses her reawakened psychic powers on the villain, sending him tumbling down in agony. Hanging upside down from a web, the Scarlet Spider prepares to use the lever, but the Human Torch grazes him as he carries Korvac past Iron Man, Hellcat and Gargoyle and straight into the entrance, to Tony's exasperation. Patsy is perplexed when she notices the Control Disc attached to the Human Torch's nape.
The Scarlet Spider swings to rejoin the group, complaining about his scorched hoodie. As the heroes rush through the entrance, Iron Man contacts Rhodey to inform him of their current status and winces verbally. He tells Rhodey to use one of the access portals to help Frog-Man. Tony warns his allies that although the Human Torch is being controlled, they will need to do whatever they need to get him out of the way, and his words are once again interrupted by wincing. Tony expresses that his brain might be bleeding. B.O.S.S. steps in to diagnose Tony with epidural hematoma. Patsy expresses concern, so Tony hurries the team. When they enter the massive transmutation chamber, Korvac is standing in front of a giant platform. A set of spotlights are converging in the middle, forming a bright shape of light which is the Power Cosmic. The Human Torch flies through the room, drawing a line of fire in front of the heroes. Iron Man cries out of Korvac. The villain looks down and Tony and brags that he is late. Patsy nags Gargoyle to fly her up, and when Tony questions what she's doing, somebody needs to put out the fire. Gargoyle reluctantly flies her closer to the Human Torch, who tells them to stay away from Korvac. Misty asks Tony to give her a target. As he is taking flight, Stark explains that bullets won't work on their enemies. Misty expresses that she feels the need to at least do something, so Tony tells her to try taking out the beam sources in the ceiling. His attention then turns to Patty, and he yells out for her. Patsy has Gargoyle throw her at the Human Torch. She manages to extend her arm past his head and take off the Control Disk. Both fall to the ground.
As he reaches out to the Power Cosmic, Korvac derides Tony, stating that people hate that which they see in others but can't have, like power, control and vision. He expresses that seeing one's shortcomings this way can be painful, and states that he will still welcome Tony with open arms. Misty shoots at one of the beam sources and destroys it, causing the manifested Power Cosmic to falter. Tony cradles Patsy, whose costume is partially scorched. She coyly points out that Tony did ask to do whatever possible. Tony expresses that she scared him, and she replies with amusement that she wasn't afraid at all. A group of miniature drones arrive and start repairing the beam source, and the Scarlet Spider swings toward them. The Human Torch regains his composure and asks Tony what had happened. Taking flight, Gargoyle joins the Scarlet Spider in intercepting and destroying the drones. Korvac prepares to continue, but Tony refutes him. He states that people hate that which they see in themselves. In Korvac's case, Tony asserts it's arrogance and megalomania. Stark says that these traits are a mask convering Korvac's own cowardice. From each of the villain's flanks, Iron Man and the Human Torch fire at him, and Misty shoots as well. As the android's skin is blasted away and he screams in pain, Tony renounces him, stating that they don't need any gods born from fear. Iron Man takes flight and pounces on Korvac, violently knocking him to the ground. Tony pummels him and punches through his chest, causing his robotic eyes to go dark. In a fit of rage, Tony screams and throws Korvac away, causing his legs to shatter when they hit the edge of the platform. Tony then loses consciousness and falls into the ground. Patsy rushes to him.
War Machine and Halcyon walk into the scene, holding Frog-Man by the side, and Rhodey is shocked when he notices what is happening. Korvac's body lies in front of the Power Cosmic, but its eyes light up and he clenches his fist. Tony's allies reconvene around him as Patsy helps him get up. She expresses that they need a doctor, but Tony speaks deliriously about being in space with his Space Friends. Korvac begins to rave, and reaches his arm into the Power Cosmic. In his inner monologue, Iron Man thinks to himself that he can't stop Korvac. A burst of energy surrounds Korvac and absorbs him into the Power Cosmic. Tony ponders that he can't stop Korvac because despite all of his abilities and efforts, he isn't enough. Tony marches into the Power Cosmic and reaches his arm into it as well, somebody cries out his name from behind. Tony concedes that Korvac was right in that he wasn't enough, and asserts that he is making a choice. A burst of light flashes and Tony thinks to himself that now he is something more.
The epic showdown between Iron Man and his allies and Korvac and his cohort continues aboard Galactus' worldship! Reinforcements have finally arrived, and Tony Stark now stands a better chance of stopping Korvac from accessing the Power Cosmic and becoming a power-crazed god all over again! Can Tony—and War Machine, Hellcat, Scarlet Spider, Frog-Man, Gargoyle, Misty Knight and Halcyon—end this fight once and for all? Or are things about to get a whole lot worse? And if they do, will Tony be forced to make a choice that alters the course of his very human existence forever?
- The panel of Korvac and his acolytes approaching his ship to activate Taa II's portal system is accompanied by the King James Version of the Biblical verse John 14:2 from the New Testament: "My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?" In this verse, Jesus is reassuring his followers that there is a place in Heaven for them alongside him.
- Some of the drawings of War Machine in this issue appear to heavily rely on reference from different images of the War Machine Armor MK II from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, either from concept art of its appearance in Iron Man 3 or promotional photos of action figures of it, as it can be seen here.
- When Iron Man christens his team the "Space Friends," he points out that one of them had earlier called themselves Stark's employees. This was a line of dialogue spoken by Scarlet Spider in Iron Man (Vol. 6) #7.
- After taking down the Unicorn, Misty Knight expresses that her bionic arm remains one of Stark's best ideas. Misty's bionic arm was provided by Stark Industries after she lost her original arm while preventing a bomb attack that forced its amputation. Stark Industries' involvement in Misty's arm was established in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #7.
- The splash page revealing the inside of the transmutation chamber is accompanied by the King James Version of the Biblical verse Matthew 17:2 from the New Testament: "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." This is part of the Transfiguration of Jesus, and in this verse, Jesus has led his apostles Peter, James and John to a high mountain where he transfigures.
- Writer Christopher Cantwell has cited comics like Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #55, Infinity War and X-Cutioner's Song as inspirations for this issue's use of "huge teams of heroes battling."
- The title of this issue's story, "The Great I-M," is a religious pun. It's a play on words of Jesus being referred to as "the Great 'I Am'" and Iron Man's initials.
- The script for this issue was finished on May 26, 2021.
- As Blizzard is fighting War Machine, Halcyon and Frog-Man, he calls the latter a "Kermit-looking piece of--" He is mentioning Kermit the Frog, a character from the Muppets.
- When Frog-Man intercepts Korvac, he calls his attention saying, "Hey, preacher man!" This could be a reference to the song "Amen" by Matthew West, which opens with that line.
- At the beginning of her fight with Unicorn, Misty Knight insults the villain calling him My Little Pony, a toy line and media franchise developed by the toy company Hasbro.
- After being scorched by the Human Torch, the Scarlet Spider points out that his type of hoodies were discontinued in 1998. This is a reference to the fact Ben assumed the Scarlet Spider identity during the '90s.
- When Korvac finally reaches into the Power Cosmic, he does so while saying, "Open your mind to what I shall disclose...And hold it fast within you...he who hears but does not hold what has heard...learns nothing." He is quoting the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.