Appearing in "Skate or Die"
- Chet the Gorilla (First appearance)
- Space Friends (Mentioned) (Disbanded)
- Michael Korvac (Mentioned)
- Jim Rhodes (Mentioned)
- Jim Hammond (Mentioned)
- Halcyon (Mentioned)
- Gargoyle (Isaac Christians) (Mentioned)
- Frog-Man (Eugene Patilio) (Mentioned)
- Ben Reilly (Mentioned)
- Misty Knight (Mentioned)
- Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd) (Mentioned)
- New York Mets (Mentioned)
- Williamsport Bills (Mentioned)
- Son of Satan (Daimon Hellstrom) (Mentioned)
- Winifred York (First appearance)
- Stark Unlimited
- Unnamed representative
- Doctor Shapiro (Mentioned)
- Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom) (Referenced)
- Beyond Corporation (Name only)
- God (Yahweh) (Referenced)
- Buzz Baxter (Referenced)
- Daredevil (Matt Murdock) (Statue)
- Heimdall (Name only)
- Daily Bugle (Name only)
- Vic Martinelli
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- Sagehen Shores Rehabilitation Institute
- New York
- United States of America
- Hell (Mentioned)
- Exascale 5150 (First appearance)
- Iron Man's Briefcase
- Iron Man Armor Model 70
- Mandarin's Rings
- Hofund (Replica)
Synopsis for "Skate or Die"
Patsy Walker picks up Tony Stark from a three-month-long stay at the Sagehen Shores Rehabilitation Institute. Tony's phone receives a call from Vic Martinelli, but Tony ignores it. When they stop by a pub, Tony hands Patsy a letter, which is a marriage proposal. Although she reciprocates Tony's feelings, Patsy asks for time to think it through.
The following day, Stark presides a presentation for Stark Unlimited's latest super-computer, the Exascale 5150, ignoring another call from Martinelli in the process. As part of the exhibition, a hologram of the computer is pitted in a game of chess against the hyper-intelligent gorilla Chet. The match goes awry after Chet is caught performing an illegal maneuver, and 5150 accuses him of purposefully making such a novice mistake to stall for time. Chet goes on a rampage and Tony suits up in the Iron Man Armor, ignoring another call from Martinelli to focus on the emergency. The gorilla uses the Exascale 5150 to hack into Tony's suit and disable most of its systems. Meanwhile, Patsy is taking a stroll while mulling over Tony's proposal. Chet chases Iron Man on the streets, and Tony resorts to deploying his armor's roller skates to keep a distance. Chet steals a Vespa from a bystander to keep up. After Chet tears off the replica sword of a statue to kill Tony with it, Stark stops him by snapping a flag pole off the ground and ramming the gorilla with it, knocking him out.
Patsy later visits Tony at his apartment, causing him to miss another call from Martinelli. She presents him a Daily Bugle headline reporting Iron Man unfavorably in his bout with Chet, but Tony laughs it off. She then returns Tony his letter, rejects his marriage proposal for the time being, and leaves somberly. In the meantime, Martinelli leaves Tony a voice mail asking for his help. He is in the possession of the Makluan Rings.
Patsy Walker's car arrives at the Sagehen Shores Rehabilitation Institute, with Tony Stark waiting at the entrance with his luggage by his side. He approaches the vehicle and Patsy jokingly offers him a ride. They banter as Tony gets in the car. He thanks Patsy for picking him up, and stresses that he's been there for three months, but he wanted to stay until he felt "all the way there," to which Patsy agrees. He asks how the Space Friends are, and Patsy explains that they've disbanded and turned the group into a fantasy baseball league. As Patsy continues talking about it, Tony sees an incoming call on his phone from Vic Martinelli. Patsy asks him if it's important, but Tony tells her he'll return the call. He resumes the conversation, asking Patsy who is the league leader. She confides that, while Rhodey and Jim Hammond play for keeps, it's her.
At Patsy's request to watch a New York Mets game, she and Tony stop by a pub. They eat chicken wings while Patsy is transfixed on the TV, commenting on the game energetically. Tony pulls up an envelope and interrupts Patsy, telling her that he wanted to wait until they were back to the city, but asks her to read it now. He slides it to Patsy and she agrees. She takes out a letter and starts reading it with amusement. Tony asks her to keep reading it, and she does so until she's taken by surprise and looks at Tony. He asks her what she thinks, and apologizes for not bringing a ring, since he felt it was tacky. Tony reaches Patsy's hand from across the table and explains that he's been overcome with clarity, and has come to believe that Patsy anchors him in a way no one ever has. He expresses that he really loves her. Patsy reciprocates his declaration, and states that she always will. Tony is concerned for what she means, and Patsy recalls that her last marriage to the Son of Satan, which led to her death and being trapped in Hell. As she begins to tear up, Patsy explains that Tony's proposal means everything to her, but she needs to think about it. Tony tells her that he understands.
The following day, Tony is dressed formally as he walks into a rooftop together with a woman. They are approaching a crowd of reporters who are standing in front of a monolithic device. The woman tells Tony that he doesn't need to make a statement, since him being there sends a clear message that he is doing well. Tony shoots her down, stating that it allows him to control the narrative. Stark stands next to the device as he thanks the press for joining in the unveiling of the latest Stark Unlimited super-computer, the Exascale 5150. As he is describing the solar-powered machine's amazing computing power, Tony receives another call from Martinelli, but ignores it. Tony announces that the computer will now win a timed game of master-level chess, and opens the floor for questions. One reporter asks if Tony's presence means he has stepped back into an active role within Stark Unlimited. Tony clarifies the 5150 was a long-running project he wants to celebrate, but he's interrupted by another reporter asking about rehab. He replies that it was good, and explains that he misused a prescribed medication. He states that he will always struggle with addiction, and before he can shift the conversation, another reporter asks him if he misses having unlimited cosmic power and ruling like a god. Stark admits that it wasn't his greatest idea, but he points out the diseases that have been cured, the new fuel sources that were discovered, and the evolutions in traffic and sanitation were tremendous gains. Another reporter asks Tony why he thinks Korvac saved his life, despite his supposed hate for Tony. Stark brings the attention back to the demonstration, and proceeds to introduce the Exascale 5150's opponent, a super-intelligent gorilla named Chet from Empire State University's advanced zoological cognition program. The gorilla steps into the scene accompanied by a group of scientists as Tony explains that he recently demonstrated an IQ of 173 due to the program's work in cultivating his intellect. As the scientists set up a chess table next to the 5150, Tony also introduces the chess arbiter Winifred York, who proceeds to explain the rules of the match.
Chet puts his arm over Tony's shoulder and thanks him for inviting him to the exhibition. He also asks Tony about any consulting opportunities available at Stark Unlimited, stating that computer programming is a passion of his. Tony explains that he is not actively with the firm, but Chet points out that it's still his name in it, and expresses that he feels he's ready to move on into the private sector. Tony awkwardly suggests passing Chet's name along, but the gorilla feels he's being brushed off. Chet cites Stark Unlimited's employment of Doctor Shapiro, but Tony points out he has a track record of experience. Chet then contemptuously turns his attention to the chess table, where he is met by a humanoid hologram being projected by 5150.
Meanwhile, Patsy is walking through the streets of Chelsea, listening to music and urging herself to get over her apprehension for Tony, thinking to herself that he is not a demon. She recalls that he became a cosmic entity and killed his allies, but also that he brought them back and apologized, so she wonders if that counts for something. Patsy sits by the Church of the Holy Communion and Buildings and asks herself whether she loves Tony or loves trying to fix him. She quickly tells herself that he doesn't need fixing, but that he needs, and loves, her. Looking down, Patsy wonders what does she need.
Back at the demonstration, Tony and the Stark Unlimited representative comment on the match, noticing that 5150 has Chet on the ropes. As Chet wipes away one of 5150's holographic pieces while moving his own, York calls him out for using two hands, which is an illegal move, and awards two additional minutes to 5150. The hologram accuses Chet of purposefully making such a novice mistake to stall for time. Chet stands up as he argues that he wiped away 5150's holographic piece because it's not even technically there, but the hologram deems his play unethical and demands the game is forfeited and it is declared its winner. Tony approaches Chet to defuse the situation, but the gorilla swats away the chess board in outrage, and Stark tries to tell him to knock it off. Chet pounds his chest, and scares away the reporters, shouting that the game is a rigged farce. The scientists surround Chet and one of them cries out that they need to get him under control, but Chet takes offense in being treated like an animal, and knocks one of the scientists. He then throws Tony off the rooftop, exclaiming that he refuses to be a pawn in a rich man's game. B.O.S.S. detects the emergency and sends the pieces of Tony's armor flying out of his briefcase. They envelop Tony before he hits the ground. The A.I. also informs him that he has another incoming call from Martinelli, but Tony states that he will call him back. Having accessed the Exascale's control panel, Chet connects it to B.O.S.S. Iron Man flies up behind Chet, and the gorilla demands a rematch, but this time to face Stark himself. Tony prepares to fire a repulsor blast, but B.O.S.S. announces they are offline. Chet taunts Tony as Stark asks his A.I. to get him out of there, but B.O.S.S. shuts off the suit's thrust boots. As Chet roars and lunges at Iron Man, Stark asks B.O.S.S. what is happening, and the A.I. explains that all defensive and augmentation systems are offline.
The gorilla drives Tony into the ground, and boasts that it's a show of his programming skills that he disabled the encryption of Iron Man's armor. Stark tells Chet that he is insane. He manages to get up and runs off. Chet gives chase, exclaiming that for being demeaned, he will crush Tony to death inside his own suit. Tony runs into the street, thinking about the embarassment of the situation. Chet follows him, navigating through the vehicles. Tony goads the gorilla, repeatedly calling him a cheater, but thinks to himself that it's not a wise idea. He notices he is not thinking straight, and attributes it to Patsy. Tony deduces that Chet couldn't have turned everything off, and asks B.O.S.S. to list all the systems still active in the armor. As the HUD is projected into his retina, Tony resigns himself to what he's about to do. Wheels emerge from under the heels of the armor's boots, and Iron Man quickly gains speed as he starts rollerblading down the street. He thinks to himself that the roller skates are fun and he should use them more. Chet pushes a driver off his Vespa and rides it to continue the chase. Blocks away, Patsy continues her stroll. She thinks to herself that she loves Tony, and that he's a grown-up more than Buzz Baxter or Daimon Hellstrom ever were.
Chet boasts that his hunt is about to end as he reaches out to a statue of Daredevil wielding Hofund. He bounces off a step and tears the sword off the statue, destroying its arm in the process, and cries for battle. Tony responds by snapping a flag pole off the street and bracing himself, as both opponents declare to joust. Tony rams the pole into Chet, sending him flying off the scooter and knocking him out. Iron Man proclaims checkmate and walks away while tossing the flag pole. He tells Chet that he's still free to drop his résumé off with Stark Unlimited.
Back at his brownstone, Tony is contemplating out of a window with a cup of coffee. The doorbell rings and Patsy announces herself through the intercom. He heads to the door, leaving his phone on the table right before it buzzes with a call from Martinelli. Tony opens the door to Patsy playfully holding a Daily Bugle newspaper reporting Iron Man unfavorably in his bout with Chet. Stark laughs it off as Patsy pulls out Tony's letter from her back pocket. Her demeanor changes and she hands it over to Tony. She expresses that she loves Tony, even more than she thought she did, but tells him that she can't marry him right now, and apologizes. She walks away somberly, as Tony is left at his doorway looking dejectedly at the letter. Somewhere else, Vic Martinelli is leaving Tony a voicemail. He acknowledges that it's been years since they last met and assumes that Tony is avoiding him for a lot of reasons. While sweating profusely, he asks Tony to call him back since he needs his help. In front of him, Martinelli has an open briefcase holding the Makluan Rings.
With Korvac, the Power Cosmic and a nasty morphine addiction now behind him, a freshly humanized Tony Stark has returned from rehab to the world hoping to show folks that's he's okay, highly functional and ready to re-engage. So of course it's time for him to face off against an angry hyper-intelligent gorilla. When the public unveiling of a new Stark Supercomputer goes awry and the machine's hairy 400-lb chess opponent decides to break loose in the city, it all leaves Tony feeling a little anxious. Can Patsy Walker provide any shelter in this new storm, or does it just mean more clouds are gathering?
- As per its corner box legacy numbering, this issue corresponds to Iron Man #645.
- After being introduced as "Sagehen Shore Rehabilitation Center" in the previous issue, the clinic where Tony Stark commits to treatment is now instead identified as the Sagehen Shores Rehabilitation Institute.
- Patsy Walker recalls marrying the Son of Satan, which happened in Defenders #125. She also points out that she died, which happened in Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #14. She finally mentions being trapped in Hell, which was seen in Thunderbolts Annual #2000.
- When Patsy recalls Tony killing the Space Friends and Doctor Doom, an editor's note cites Iron Man (Vol. 6) #17.
- In the panel where Chet lunges at Iron Man and B.O.S.S. announces the armor systems are offline, the word "augmentation" is misspelled as "augumentation."
- In this issue, Stark specifically calls his armor the Model 70, marking the first time the armor is given a designation. The armor had previously been named the Model 70 in the Marvel Database tentatively.
- Former Iron Man supporting character Vic Martinelli returns this issue. His last regular appearance was in 1983's Iron Man #178, with his final appearance in Iron Man altogether being in 1988's Iron Man #234.
- The final page of this comic after the story ends includes a PSA with contact information for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- The title of this issue's story, "Skate or Die," is a reference to the 1987 video game of the same name.
- Tony Stark's mention that the Exascale 5150 is broadcasting Wi-Fi to all of Tribeca implies that's where its demonstration is taking place. However, when Stark is escaping from Chet by foot, he passes by the corner of 7th Avenue and West 22nd Street, which is located in Chelsea, three neighborhoods north of Tribeca.
- Tony Stark and Chet briefly discuss Stark Unlimited's employment of Doctor Shapiro, one of the supporting characters of Dan Slott's run in Tony Stark: Iron Man.
- While taking a stroll, Patsy Walker passes by a corner at West 19th Street, and the One World Trade Center can be seen in the distance. Based on this angle, she was walking through the 6th Avenue. She then sits by the Church of the Holy Communion and Buildings, which is located in the intersection of the 6th Avenue and West 20th Street.
- One of the networks shown in the list of available networks for Exascale 5150 to connect to is "BEYONDCORP-Lvl9," a reference to the Beyond Corporation.
- Writer Christopher Cantwell first teased the return of Iron Man's roller skates in a Twitter thread celebrating the first year of his run.
- The storefront for "Fulvio's Italian Deli" can be seen two different panels in angles that position the store in opposite sides of the same street.
- When he steals a Vespa, Chet exclaims, "How about a little Roman Holiday, Stark?" a movie in which a reporter named Joe Bradley takes crown princess Ann careening through Rome on a Vespa.
- The statue of Daredevil that Chet tears a replica of Hofund from is a reference to War of the Realms, in which Daredevil is temporarily bestowed Heimdall's powers and his sword to help combat the Dark Council's invasion of the Ten Realms. The statue is accompanied by a plaque that reads "The Heimdall of Hell's Kitchen - Commemorating Daredevil's Defeat of the Dark Elves." This is inaccurate, since the invading forces in Manhattan during War of the Realms are the Frost Giants, and Daredevil fights them in War of the Realms: War Scrolls.