Appearing in "Self-Made Man: Part One – What's the Big Idea?"
- Iron Man (Tony Stark) (Main story and flashback)
- Stark Unlimited (First appearance)
- Bhang Robotics (Only appearance) (Main story and flashback) (Disbands)
- Pelé (Mentioned) (Topical reference) (Main story and flashback)
- Maria Stark (Only in flashback)
- Ho Yinsen (Mentioned)
- Numerous unnamed New Yorkers
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- U.S. Armed Forces (Mentioned)
- Smaug (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- J. R. R. Tolkien (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Lyft (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Stark Solutions (Mentioned)
- Hero Insider News (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Robots (Main story and flashback)
- Dragons (Mentioned)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- United States of America (Main story and flashback)
- New York
- New York City
- Andy Bhang's Residence (First appearance)
- East River
- Upper New York Bay
- Hudson River
- New York City
- New Jersey (Unnamed)
- Cranbury (Unnamed)
- The Controller's secret base (First appearance)
- Cranbury (Unnamed)
- New York
- United States of America (Main story and flashback)
- Project eScape (Named only)
- Stark Soccer Robots (First appearance)
- Get Ready for This (First appearance) (Topical reference) (Main story and flashback)
- Iron Man Armor
- Iron Man Armor (Silver Centurion Armor)
- Iron Man Armor Model 4
- Iron Man Armor Model 1
- Iron Man Armor Model CE1
- Iron Man Armor (Model-Prime Armor) (Toy)
- Iron Man Armor Model 56 (First appearance)
- Iron Man Armor Model 57 (Fing Fang Foombuster Armor) (First appearance)
- Iron Man Armor Model 58 (Nano Armor) (First appearance)
- Stark-Ware Robots (First appearance)
- Gigantor (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- The Hobbit (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Control Disk
- Controller Suit
- Tony Stark's Flying Car
Synopsis for "Self-Made Man: Part One – What's the Big Idea?"
Twenty-five years ago, when he was still a kid, Tony Stark single-handedly stomped Andy Bhang and his crew at Bhang Robotics in a robot soccer match. In the present day, Tony has bought Bhang Robotics in hopes to work with Andy and his ideas. Stark visits and then introduces Bhang to his new think tank, Stark Unlimited, where he wants Andy to put his expertise to work for their Robotics Division. Among his coworkers are the Head of Security Bethany Cabe, the Chief Robotic Ethicist Jocasta Pym and the U.S. Armed Forces Liaison Jim Rhodes. Bethany Cabe is in the middle of investigating a series of leaks from the company.
Andy's initial tests are interrupted by the emergence of an uncharacteristically silent Fin Fang Foom from the East River. As Iron Man, Tony intercepts him using first a twenty-story high Fin Fang Foombuster Armor. When the suit is damaged, he ejects in a normal-sized armor. He attacks Foom and creates an opening in his hide to fire a micro-pod, which releases a single remote-controlled Nano Iron Man Armor, into the beast's bloodstream. Before he can head to the monster's brain, the Nano Iron Man is swarmed by anti-bodies. Tony can't release the other nano-bots carried by the pod since he hasn't figured out how to make them work in tandem. Andy figures out how to help out, which allows Tony to deploy a swarm of nanobots and fend off the antibodies. Tony reaches Foom's brain stem and finds a Control Disk. He destroys it, halting Foom's invasion.
Once Tony returns from the battle, Bethany tells him the attack seemed to have been a distraction for more data theft. Afterwards, Stark Unlimited holds a press conference to assure the public that the crisis is over. In the middle of the interview, Tony declares that Iron Man is an ever-changing idea shared by Stark Unlimited, and that they all are Iron Man. Somewhere else, the Controller boasts that Stark has realized by now that he's playing him; however, what he doesn't realize is that the Controller is using Bethany Cabe herself to bypass her own security systems without her knowledge, and that she's responsible of the data theft she's investigating.
Twenty-five years ago, the returning winners of the International Robot Soccer Championship, Bhang Robotics, are preparing to face a new challenger. Andy Bhang and his crew check the systems of their crude robots, whereas their opponent indicates they're ready to go without any adjustments. As soon as the referee starts the match, Bhang's challenger makes a single click of a button in his controller. To the beat of 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This," a group of streamlined golden robots begin to kick the ball as if they were playing real soccer, effortlessly outmaneuvering Bhang's creations. Bhang and his team are desperately trying to counter their opponents to no avail, and their systems overload. On the other side, a young Tony Stark casually taps his controller with an expression of disinterest. After scoring the final goal with a bicycle kick like Pelé, Tony's robots celebrate and the final score is 24 to 0. As Tony flaunts his trophy, Andy Bhang scoffs from a distance.
In the present, a gray-headed Andy Bhang is working on his garage, adjusting one of the many robots scattered around his modest workplace. A flashy red and gold car stops outside, and a voice from inside asks for him before opening the door, revealing himself to be Tony Stark. While Andy is surprised, Tony looks over his workplace, and praises his advancements in systems which allow individual A.I. to solve group tasks without an established hierarchy. Andy explains the A.I.s generate their own solutions and gravitate toward the best one on a system called "idea-based structuring," or "I.B.S." for short, which Tony suggests should use a different name due to the acronym's connection to an unpleasant medical condition. Bhang emphasizes that I.B.S. is about teamwork over the individual, and remarks that it might not be something Stark would value. Tony clarifies that he was like that in his youth, before there was a time in which he was stuck in a cave and the only way out was to work out with someone. Tony advises Andy that his idea needs work despite being brilliant, which is why he brought his entire company from his investors, meaning that Andy now works for him; however, Tony expresses that he'd rather Andy worked with him, and invites Bhang into his car.
The vehicle, which turned into a flying car, arrives to the rooftop of the Stark Unlimited HQ in Washington Square Park. They are received by Bethany Cabe, whom Tony introduces as the head of security. She aggressively and quickly vets him, commenting that there have been leaks from the company. Tony walks Andy through Stark Unlimited and they reach the door of the Robotics Division, where he'll work. Another Tony Stark appears to greet Andy, revealing that the one who took him to the facility had been a holographic projection all along. Tony shows Andy "The Foundry," where he designs, builds, and tests every suit of Iron Man Armor. Andy approaches Jocasta Pym, initially mistaking her for another armor. She introduces herself, and explains she's the Chief Robotic Ethicist, and Bhang's boss. Tony takes Bhang to a computer, so he could test his I.B.S system on a group of Stark-Ware Robots, giving them a random task they didn't encounter before, namely arranging birthday supplies. Four minutes later, the robots are destroyed, the cake is ruined, and the gifts are on fire. The test is quickly interrupted by an alert, which Andy initially assumes he caused.
Andy follows Tony and Jocasta as they rush to the S.U. Command Center. Tony explains New York is facing a "3F Event." As the monster emerges from the East River, Tony reveals "3F" stands for Fin Fang Foom. Tony contacts Jim Rhodes, and asks him to get the Armed Forces to sign off an untested countermeasures he immediately launches, a set of auto-piloted repulsor cannons, which rapidly intercept Fin Fang Foom and open fire. Tony leaves in the blink of an eye, and flies towards the scene aboard a ship. As he approaches the beast, he notices Fin Fang Foom is uncharacteristically silent. When Tony gets close enough, the cannons he had released assemble around the ship, forming the Fin Fang Foombuster Armor. Tony engages the Makluan and tries to get him further out to sea, calling his attacks as if he were an anime character, much to Rhodey's exasperation. Back at the command center, Andy expresses his surprise at both what's happening and how nobody seems to be phased by it. He regains his composure when a scientist calmly whispers to him that he's right, but everybody simply plays it cool. In the meantime, Fin Fang Foom lands a critical hit and damage's the suit's hull, forcing Tony to eject in a normal-sized armor and use it to attack the monster. Andy notices Tony is focusing his attacks on a single location of Fin Fang Foom's hide so to create a weak spot.
Tony creates an opening, and fires a micro-pod into the beast's body, which releases a remotely-controlled Nano Iron Man Armor into his bloodstream. He tries to head to Foom's brain, but is attacked by antibodies. Meanwhile, Tony continues fighting the monster at normal size, but is knocked down by the dragon's tail and thrown into the Hudson River. Inside Foom's body, the miniature Iron Man is quickly surrounded by the monster's antibodies. Andy wonders why Tony didn't bring more than one nanobot inside the micro-pod, but he explains he did. He just couldn't figure out a way to make them work in tandem while following Jocasta's set of ethical protocols for robots. Andy recalls the robot soccer match from years earlier, and figures out the robots don't need a complicated command structure, but only a beat to syncopate to. Bhang asks Jocasta to download and broadcast through the lead nanobot's speaker system "Get Ready for This," since he figured out back then Tony didn't just use the song for flair, it was actually a feature that made his robots work together. With the song playing, Tony releases a swarm of nano suits that fight off the antibodies. Tony reaches Foom's brain stem and finds a Control Disk was behind Foom's unusual behavior. For old times' sake, Andy suggest Tony uses a bicycle kick to destroy the device. At the last second before he reached Manhattan, Fin Fang Foom comes back to his senses and retreats, declaring that if he is to crush the humans, it shall be at a time of his own choosing. The people at Stark Unlimited celebrate the victory, but Tony reminds them that he's still knocked out inside his suit at the bottom of the river.
Back at the S.U. headquarters, Tony has returned and is having the armor removed. His body is visibly injured, and Rhodey scolds him gently for his recklessness. As Tony dresses, Bethany informs him that during Fin Fang Foom's attack there was another breach, an on-site hack of the eScape's locked-down servers. Bethany suggests to keep the incident under wraps, and Rhodey agrees, adding that they can't show anyone they're hurting. As Tony puts on a pair of sunglasses to cover a bruise, he reminds Rhodey he never does.
Stark Unlimited holds a press conference at Washington Square Park to assure everyone the crisis is over, and that Stark Solutions is already working on the cleanup. A reporter from Hero Insider News points out Tony's use of many different armor designs lately, and asks if Tony's new status quo if to make use of suits in different sizes. Tony insists that is not the case. The reporters pile up to ask other questions regarding Tony's technology, and he tells them to see it they just need to say his name. Amid the crowd shouting "Tony Stark," Tony approaches a small child and asks him who is he. The kid enthusiastically answers that he's Iron Man. Tony points to his head, declaring that Iron Man is an idea. An ever-changing concept shared by everybody at Stark Unlimited. He stands in front of his crew with open arms, and declares that all of Stark Unlimited is Iron Man. Meanwhile behind Tony, Andy chuckles at the fact that he's working for Tony Stark. Jocasta corrects him, pointing out he technically works for her, and asks him if it's acceptable. He replies that he's fine with it, since it's nice that after twenty-five years, he's finally on the winning team.
Later, at an undisclosed location, the Controller points out that since Tony Stark has seen his Control Disk, by now he knows the Controller is playing him, but he ponders if Stark knows how. The villain is approached by a shadowy figure that hands him over all the access code for Tony's pet project, the eScape. He congratulates his mole, who is revealed to be none other than Bethany Cabe herself, under his command, denoting that if anyone could bypass Stark's security, it would be its designer. Bethany warns him that she'll eventually catch on, but he taunts her, pointing out that she'd first have to catch the one person she could never outsmart, herself.
TAKE FLIGHT WITH DAN SLOTT & VALERIO SCHITI!
From the cusp of tomorrow’s dreams to the forefront of imagination, one man always soars on the cutting edge of adventure!
You know his name. Tony Stark is Iron Man.
And Iron Man… is an idea. Always changing. Always evolving. An idea without limit!
Take wing with DAN SLOTT (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and Valerio Schiti (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) as they propel the ultimate Self-Made Hero to new heights of inventiveness!
Tony Stark is Iron Man. The future is now. Strap in!
- This issue marks the beginning of Dan Slott's two-year run as writer of Iron Man. He is joined by artist Valerio Schiti, who will be an integral part of the run until Tony Stark: Iron Man #16, with the exception of several issues penciled by fill-in artists.
- Based on the Iron Man Armor numbering provided by Iron Manual #1 and the Iron Manual TPB, the following suits are misnumbered in their respective variants:
- Iron Man Armor Model 3 is labelled as Model 4A.
- Iron Man Armor Model 5 is labelled as Model 8.
- Iron Man Armor Model 7 is labelled as Model 6.
- Iron Man Armor Model 8 is labelled as Model 7.
- The Hulkbuster Add-On for the Iron Man Armor Model 13 is labelled as its own suit, Model 14.
- Iron Man Armor Model 22 is labelled as Model 23.
- Iron Man Armor Model 29 is labelled as Model 30.
- Additionally, Iron Man Armor Model CE1 is labelled as Model C1E1.
- Established Iron Man supporting character Bethany Cabe returns to the series in this issue. She had appeared last in 2012's Invincible Iron Man #527. Similarly, Jocasta becomes a member of Iron Man's supporting cast once again after having been featured throughout Iron Man (Vol. 3) #18-48 in the early 2000s.
- When Tony is being nursed back at the Stark Unlimited HQ, Jim Rhodes points out he has just gotten "that new body." This is a reference to how Tony's entire biological system rebooted itself in Invincible Iron Man #593 when he woke up from a coma. Rhodey also went through a similar process to return from the dead in Invincible Iron Man #600.
- In the variant cover to this issue drawn by Adi Granov, every suit in the foreground is of signifiance to his work on Iron Man over the years:
- Tony Stark is suiting up with the Iron Man Armor Model 25, the armor used by the character when Granov began his stint as the cover artist for Iron Man, starting with issue #75.
- To the left of Tony is the Iron Man Armor Model 29, a suit designed by Granov himself which debuted in the "Extremis" storyline also drawn by him.
- To the right of Tony is the Iron Man Armor MK III from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which Granov co-designed with Phil Saunders.
- Above Tony is the Iron Man Armor Model 1, which was featured in a flashback retelling of Iron Man's origin in "Extremis."
- To the left and above Tony is the Iron Man Armor Model 4, which was drawn by Granov in a variant cover for Age of Ultron #5
- To the right and above Tony is a version of the Iron Man Armor Model 42 colored red instead of black, which was drawn by Granov in a variant cover for Iron Man (Vol. 5) #1, as well as in two illustrations for Marvel War of Heroes and in the concept artwork for an ARTFX+ Statue for Kotobukiya's Avengers Marvel NOW! collection.
- In the flashback scene at the beginning of this issue, Tony Stark is wearing one of the outfits worn by Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. in Weird Science.
- The license plate of Tony Stark's flying car reads "Rylos," which is the name of a planet in the film The Last Starfighter.
- Present at the Foundry is a suit of armor similar to that of the Exo-Man, protagonist of a film of the same name who is commonly mistaken as a 1970s live-action version of Iron Man.
- A bystander watching Iron Man use the Fin Fang Foombuster Armor mistakes him for Gigantor. Another person points out it's Iron Man, and the bystander says they're the same thing. Gigantor is an American adaptation of the Japanese anime character Tetsujin 28-go. "Tetsujin" is Japanese for "Iron Man."
- Andy Bhang compares Iron Man's technique of creating a weak spot in Fin Fang Foom's hide to how Smaug, the antagonist dragon of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, had a patch bare of scales on his underside.
- After being left stranded underwater, Iron Man jokes about getting a car ride from the transportation network company Lyft.
- A launch trailer was released by Marvel on YouTube to promote the series: