Appearing in "The Last Midnight"
- Michael Korvac (Death)
- In-Betweener (Mentioned)
- Living Tribunal (Adam Warlock) (Mentioned)
- Frog-Man (Eugene Patilio) (Name only)
Races and Species:
- Prime Marvel Universe
- 31st Century (Mentioned)
- Badoon Wars (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Last Midnight"
Korvac confronts Tony Stark in the middle of Central Park with the intention to kill him and mark the beginning of his crusade for universal destruction. However, he finds Tony in a state of stupor due to his morphine withdrawal. Tony judges Korvac's character and accuses him of constantly seeking new power to escape himself, something he empathizes with. He goads Korvac to relinquish the Power Cosmic, becoming a normal human again. In a fit of rage, Korvac brutally plummets Stark, but he stops when the symptoms of Tony's withdrawal resurface and he passes out. After a moment of contemplation, Korvac decides instead to carry Tony out of the park and leaves him at a hospital. He then climbs the fire escape of a nearby building, reaches its rooftop and walks out of the ledge, committing suicide.
One week later, Tony has recovered from his physical injuries. He meets up with Patsy Walker and she drives him to Sagehen Shore Rehabilitation Center, where he intends to stay as long as he needs to stay clean. They hug before she leaves, and Patsy agrees to come pick him up when he's ready. Tony sets up in a room to find a letter from Frog-Man with words of encouragement. Tony looks outside the window with a hopeful smile on his face.
Korvac is holding Tony Stark by his shirt and repeatedly calling his name, but Tony remains unconscious. He eventually slaps Stark violently, and Tony slowly comes to his senses. In his internal monologue, Tony is describing the symptoms of his morphine withdrawal, how he feels completely unmoored, and that he's about to vomit. Tony's eyes meet Korvac and he smiles, feebly and nonchalantly asking what brings him here. Korvac states once again that he's come to end Tony, and that neither the In-Betweener nor the Living Tribunal could match his conviction and hatred for Tony. He reiterates that Tony will be destroyed by his hand, and so will every other single thing in the universe, thus bringing harmony via nothingness. In between Korvac's speech, Tony flippantly assented to his words. Tony vomits abruptly and falls into the ground. Confused, Korvac asks Tony what is happening to him. Instead of responding, Tony asks Korvac when was the last time he was a human being; not a cyborg or an android or a cosmic god. Tony recalls that Korvac hasn't even been born yet, prompting the villain to explain that the 31st Century is a very different time than now, where being human is a curse after the Badoon invaded and slaughtered billions. Tony points out that they didn't slaughter him, and Korvac explains that he escaped their torture and murder. Stark asks what deal did he make. Enraged, Korvac tells Tony not to goad him. He grabs Tony by the throat and tells him goodbye, but Tony tells him to know that this is how Korvac had to beat him. Korvac lets go of Tony, and Stark explains that this has always been Korvac's deal since the beginning; that he is smart but always needed an advantage, whether it is protective alien masters, an android body or the Power Cosmic.
Korvac is speechless, and Tony poignantly asks him how long he has been scared to lose. Now speaking more firmly, Tony deduces it has been this way since the beginning, when just being an ordinary person meant death. Tony empathizes with Korvac, pointing out that he himself wears metal around him to feel okay, just to feel real. Tony's visage becomes more sorrowful as he explains that the armor was eventually not enough. He admits that he thought Korvac's crusade was nonsense until he got some Power Cosmic for himself, but it didn't fix anything. Tony tells Korvac to stop hiding and to be a man for once in his life. He tells him to try it, and drives the point home, asking him if he's too scared otherwise. Korvac stands in silence with anger in his face as he slowly relinquishes the Power Cosmic and becomes human again. Moments later, he becomes filled with rage and brutally pummels Stark's face. Tony thinks to himself if this is where he lets Korvac kill him. As Korvac winds up for another blow, Tony vomits again and falls down, prompting Korvac to ask him again what is happening to him. Tony gasps out that he mentioned the armor and the Power Cosmic weren't enough. He explains that he's always looking for more, and that the drugs he started using lately to keep going didn't work either and have made him sick. Tony tells Korvac that he's probably going to die if Korvac doesn't kill him first, and passes out.
Korvac is astounded as he is left with Tony slumped at his feet. He looks up to the starry night sky and sees a shooting star pass through. He looks aside, looks down back at Tony, and his eyes fill with determination. Korvac picks him up and cradles Stark out of Central Park. He takes him into a hospital, and exits into the empty streets. In his inner monologue, Tony states that he doesn't know why did Korvac do that, and expresses that he doesn't know if he ever will. He also doubts that Korvac knew either. Korvac looks at the fire escape of a building and climbs through it to the rooftop. Tony states that he has been across the universe enough times to know one thing; that the cosmos feels every moment, it absorbs every fact. Korvac stands at the edge of the roof and looks down. In his monologue, Tony states that the cosmos resonates with every life and every death, whether god or man. Korvac takes a step forward, and the next moment he's gone.
One week later, Tony is leaving his brownstone carrying a bag. He walks toward Patsy Walker, who is leaning against her car. She asks her if he's ready, and he assents. They get into the vehicle, and Patsy drives them away. Tony's face is slightly bandaged. He thanks Patsy for driving him, she jokes that it's not a muscle car, but he commends its engine. Patsy thanks Tony for asking her to drive him, and he tells her she was his only choice. As they reach the outskirts, Patsy asks Tony how long he plans to stay, but he hasn't decided yet. He explains that each cycle is twenty-eight days, but he doesn't expect it will be a one-and-done, so he's planning to stay as long as it takes. Patsy tells him that is good. Tony looks out of the window and assents.
The car passes through the gates to a villa marked as Sagehen Shore Rehabilitation Center. As they stop, Patsy asks Tony if he wants help to set up. Stark tells her he knows the drill at this point. They both exit the vehicle, and Tony assures Patsy that everything is okay. She points out that she drove him an hour and asks for a goodbye hug. Tony consents her, and after they hug, he asks her to pick him up when he's done. Patsy states that she'd love to, and Tony repeats that she is his only choice. As Tony goes inside the house and enters a room, a voice in off from when he checked in welcomes him to Sagehen and tells him that the work begins tomorrow. The attendant also tells Tony that a letter had arrived for him in the morning. Tony opens the envelope, and it's a letter from Frog-Man with words of encouragement. Tony looks outside the window with a hopeful smile on his face.
AT LAST, THE STUNNING CONCLUSION OF THE BOOKS OF KORVAC!
Tony Stark must face Michael Korvac once again, and once and for all. No cosmic powers, no allies or henchmen, and no...armor? This is the very end of a very long and very rocky journey; Tony’s going to have to get by on his own blood, sweat, and tears. For the first time in his life, he’s all out of ideas.
- As per its corner box legacy numbering, this issue corresponds to Iron Man #644.
- The final page of this comic after the story ends includes two PSAs. One about substance abuse with contact information for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the other about suicide with contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- David Nakayama's variant cover for this issue is a homage of sorts to his own illustration for the Iron Man: The Animated Series DVD collection box art.
- Sagehen Shore Rehabilitation Center is the name of a psychiatric hospital from writer Christopher Cantwell's previous work, She Could Fly from Dark Horse Comics.