Appearing in "The Man with the Golden Arms"
- Stark Unlimited (Mentioned)
- Reed Richards (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Enclave (Mentioned)
- Jim Rhodes
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Galactus (Galan) (Mentioned)
- Paul the Apostle (Mentioned)
- Jesus Christ (Mentioned)
- Fantastic Four (Mentioned)
- Charles Xavier (Mentioned)
- Krakoa (Mentioned)
- Nikola Tesla (Name only)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Invoked)
- Taa II (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Man with the Golden Arms"
Jim Rhodes has disappeared. Tony Stark and Patsy Walker coop up in a hotel room to hide from Korvac, having survived the villain's attack, although Patsy's face was left scarred and she is hearing a faint whisper in her ear. Tony and Patsy discuss their predicament, since Tony believes he can't reach out for help otherwise Korvac will kill Rhodey. Patsy eventually eventually lets on that she likes Tony, resulting in the two having sex.
In a church in the outer boroughs of New York City, Korvac keeps Rhodey hostage, with the Controller attempting to break his will using his Control Disks. After tracking down Taa II, the ship of Galactus, Korvac subjects himself to a procedure that channels the entirety of the main electricity grid of the city into his body. Having changed his mind about getting help, Tony is walking down the street with patsy when the the city is plunged into a blackout because of Korvac. The two reach Halcyon at a car meet to enlist his help in finding people outside Korvac's radar. Patsy is suddenly taken over by Korvac, who threatens Stark. Remaining oddly calm, Halcyon breaks a fire hydrant, knocking out Patsy with a water stream. He reveals he is a mutant with the power to have a constant calm heartbeat.
Focusing on Patsy Walker's ear, a whispering voice tells her to pray and to surrender herself to a "great eye." Cutting to a TV screen, a news program shows a reporter pestering Tony Stark on the streets, questioning his efforts to find the missing Jim Rhodes, and confronting Stark for his recent aloofness. Patsy is sitting on a chair in a hotel room, looking detached, when Tony returns and approaches her to check up on her. After Patsy tells Tony that there has been no movement at his apartment, Tony assumes that Korvac knows he figured out the villain is hunting them. Tony deduces Korvac is holding Rhodey to draw him out, and states that he can't seek help, otherwise Rhodey will be killed. Patsy comments on Korvac's intelligence, and attempts to have Tony say whether he thinks the villain is as smart as he is. Tony asks Patsy if she's annoyed about anything. She turns her head towards Tony, drawing attention to a stinging lightning burn covering her left cheek that resulted from their encounter with Korvac.
Tony attempts to comfort Patsy, and suggests finding a way to make sure it doesn't scar. Stark tells Patsy that he understands if she blames him for it, but she interrupts him to mention that she is feeling fuzzy. Tony insists they need to get Rhodey back and put a quick end to Korvac's scheme. Patsy brings up that Korvac killed most of the Avengers once, but Tony dismisses him as a "cut-rate android" after mentioning that, based on intel from the Enclave, Korvac is not the cosmic entity he used to be. Confronting Tony about his desire to act alone, Patsy suggests that Tony is worried this situation could make him look bad due to having unwittingly assisted Korvac. Tony objects to this suggestion, but Patsy points out him calling Korvac a cataclysmic menace after having just dismissed the villain. Tony tells Patsy off, and she states that somebody has to hold him accountable. Tony wonders when did Patsy decide to use him as a morality project, but she says it's a result of Tony's own unwitting subterfuge, and lets out that she likes him beneath that. After she comments on the pain of her burn, Tony reassures her that it doesn't look that bad. Patsy reasserts that her bad mood is not due to that, and Tony feigns ignorance as the two approach closer and share a kiss. They fall together on one of the beds and continue making out.
In the outer boroughs of New York City, Korvac is holding Rhodey hostage at a St. Michael's church. While kneeling in a praying position, Rhodey has three Control Disks connected to his neck. The Controller tells Korvac his resistance is requiring the additional disks, but he assures his master he can hold him. As Korvac steps away from them, Blizzard, who is sitting by the altar, admires the stonework and portraiture along the ceilings. Korvac glances at the different pieces of art. He describes them as mortals groping in the dark for the unfathomable, and tells him that truly inspired awe is yet to come. Unicorn comes into the nave to inform Korvac that they have located Taa II, prompting Korvac to announce they are going to begin. Rhodey recognizes Taa II as the ship of Galactus to the Control's surprise, who comments his hostage shouldn't even be able to speak with three disks at full capacity. Korvac ensures Rhodey that his destiny lies in Taa II, and that if he succeeds there, all can be saved. Despite his struggle to speak, Rhodey antagonizes Korvac, mocking his goatee, but the villain brings up the conversion of Paul the Apostle, suggesting Rhodey will become his greatest servant. Rhodey rejects him again, making Korvac frown. Korvac orders Blizzard to prepare a conduit downstairs while he has the Controller and Unicorn keep a lookout for Iron Man. The villain affirms that if capturing Rhodes failed to make him show up, his next move will. After the other two villains leave, Blizzard asks Korvac why did he choose New York City to transform. His master argues he can't let Iron Man and Hellcat be loose ends, and also comments that he wants witnesses to spread his word. Blizzard asks Korvac if he is going to be okay. Korvac tells him he was enlisted for his knowledge of currents, and guarantees him that his own graphene componentry possesses limitless capacitance. Korvac walks away, declaring himself the light of the world.
Back in the hotel, Tony and Patsy lay in bed after having sex. Tony acknowledges he doesn't have to act alone, but decides to seek out people under Korvac's radar. Tony notices Patsy lost in thought and she tells Tony she can hear a soft whisper she thinks is Korvac. She explains she could hear a fizzle after the incident in Oklahoma, but it has grown louder. Worried, Tony alludes that it might be something in her head, but Patsy insists that it's different and that something is happening. In the basement of the church, Korvac approaches a metal cross on a wall, and proclaims, "Let there be light." Blizzard informs him that they are tapped into the main city grid, and assures Korvac it will contain the procedure. The Controller prepares to head upstairs to psionically neutralize anybody that comes close. Korvac takes off his upper clothes, and the Unicorn fastens him into the cross, putting a helmet on his head as well and inserting a cable into the side of his torso, which is noticeably scarred by previous similar procedures, Blizzard cautiously pulls a lever. Korvac screams in pain as the cable flares up and pink bolts of electricity come out of his body, filling the room.
As he walks down the street with Patsy, Tony tells her about a pair of glasses he is wearing that allow him to translate sign language to talk with Halcyon, whom he has never beaten in a race. As Tony goes over a short list of people to ask for help that Patsy came up with, she is abruptly by a painful sensation and and kneels down. The entire city goes black, and Patsy blurts out Taa II. She tells him that Korvac wants to go there. In the church, Korvac is smouldering but unconscious. Blizzard, the Controller and Unicorn watch in worry, but Korvac awakens with his eyes and mouth glowing and declaring that he is forever. Tony and Patsy reach Halcyon's car meet and ask for him. Tony tells him that he needs his help as Iron Man, and hands him over the list to find the people in it. When Halcyon asks him how is he supposed to find them, Tony admits that Halcyon is the closest thing to an underground he has. Halcyon takes slight offense to it, and clears up that he is not a criminal but a mathematics major. Patsy is suddenly taken over by Korvac, causing her to hover off the ground and discharge pink electricity. He warns Tony against stopping him, and has Patsy shoot a lightning bolt at Halcyon's car. Tony ducks, but the racer remains unfazed. As Korvac confronts Tony through Patsy, Halcyon takes a hubcap and walks up to a fire hydrant. He breaks it, releasing a stream of water that hits Patsy from behind, knocking her out. Halcyon approaches Tony and explains that he is a mutant whose heart rate never goes over 70 bpm. As he turns towards Patsy's unconscious body, Tony tells Halcyon to put himself in the list of.
KORVAC is on the loose and Tony Stark is on the hook for it. Iron Man and Hellcat were lucky to survive their first encounter with Korvac and his new disciples, but finding him and stopping him is proving an even greater challenge. Tony is reticent to let other hero allies in on the fact that he opened up a giant can of worms all on his own, but it might be a moot point given that Korvac has placed Tony under a very clever and threatening gag order. As Korvac powers down all of New York City in order to try and again go cosmic, Tony’s forced to turn to lesser-known colleagues on the fringe in order to stop him. One advantage he has: Hellcat is hearing things ever since their last encounter with Korvac… Strange things… Things that might overtake her entirely.
- The legacy numbering returns to this issue's corner box after being omitted from Iron Man's series since Iron Man 2020 (Vol. 2) #1, and corresponds this issue to Iron Man #629.
- When discussing Korvac, Patsy Walker recalls that he once killed most of the Avengers. An editor's note cites Avengers #177, an issue part of "The Korvac Saga". After the Avengers track down Korvac, he kills most of the heroes in battle. Before willing himself dead, Korvac heals the fallen Avengers.
- In this issue, Korvac locates Taa II, the ship of Galactus and intends to invade it. During the "The Korvac Saga," in Avengers #175, it was by absorbing the entirety of Taa II's databank that Korvac gained his previous godlike powers.
- When confronting Jim Rhodes for his resistance to the Controller influence, Korvac cites how "once the scales fell from Paul...he became Christ's greatest servant." He is referencing the conversion Paul the Apostle, which was according to the New Testament, an event in the life of Paul the Apostle that led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to become a follower of Jesus.
- After Patsy tells Tony that she can hear a voice in her ear, Tony worries and brings up that she's "had trouble before." He is referencing Patsy's descent into madness throughout Hellstorm: Prince of Lies which ended in her choosing to die in issue #14. Patsy opened up about this to Tony last issue.
- The panel in which Korvac is strapped to the cross-shaped contraption is accompanied by the Nikola Tesla quote, "The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine." This quote is an excerpt that originates from an interview with Tesla by Dragislav L. Petkovic that was published in an article entitled "A Visit to Nikola Tesla" in 1927. The full quote reads, "Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine." The context of this quote has Tesla comment on the legal contention between him and Guglielmo Marconi over the patent for the radio.
- Patsy and Tony's conversation on the streets establishes that after his first race with Halcyon in Iron Man (Vol. 6) #1, Tony raced him regularly off-panel.
- The title of this story ("The Man with the Golden Arms") appears to be a reference to the 1955 drama film The Man with the Golden Arm (which is based on a novel of the same name).
- A scientific breakdown of Patsy Walker's Lichtenberg scar by The Science Of can be read here.
- The church sign of the St. Michael's church where Korvac is hiding reads, "There is a party/Everyone is there." This is a line from the 1979 song "Heaven" by the rock band Talking Heads.