Appearing in "Echo Chamber"
- Senator Miles Brickman
- Vision (Merges with Wonder Man) (Controlled by Ultron)
- Wonder Man (Simon Williams) (Merges with Vision) (Controlled by Ultron)
- Edwin Jarvis (Controlled by Ultron)
- Ultron Pym
- Numerous unidentified hearing attendees
- Controller (Basil Sandhurst) (Mentioned)
- U.S. Government (Mentioned)
- Stark Unlimited
- Baintronics Inc.
- "Maria Stark" (Mistress) (Hologram) (First appearance as Maria Stark)
- "Howard Stark" (Arsenal) (Hologram) (First appearance as Howard Stark)
- Machine Man (Aaron Stack)
- Jocasta Pym
- Riri Williams (Mentioned)
- Edwin Jarvis (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Numerous unidentified robots
- Friday Stark (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
Races and Species:
- eScape (Mentioned)
- Stark Realities (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Echo Chamber"
Tony Stark attends a Congressional hearing at the Capitol Building regarding the eScape incident. He's antagonized by Senator Miles Brickman, who calls Stark's own humanity into question, forcing Tony to acknowledge his fear that he might be an artificial intelligence himself. Brickman brings back the Tony Stark A.I. once used by Riri Williams to help his argument. The turn of events leads the hearing to be adjourned. Not long afterward, a mentally-controlled Jarvis captures the Vision and Wonder Man at the Avengers Mansion.
The Wasp meets up with Tony at the Stark Unlimited HQ, which is being surrounded by robots protesting Tony's testimony. Iron Man takes off with Janet, using the A.I. Tony as his armor's new operating system. Iron Man and the Wasp are attacked by a fusion of the Vision and Wonder Man. Iron Man confronts him, but is overpowered and sees himself forced to use an EMP to knock him out, reluctantly causing in the death of the Tony A.I., and unwittingly resulting in the death of the protesting robots. Tony laments the neglectful murders but notices Janet is gone. She had previously been abducted by Jarvis during the battle, and has been brought to Ultron Pym.
Tony Stark is speaking at a congressional hearing at the Capitol Building, clarifying to the details surrounding the eScape incident, namely the involvement of the supervillain the Controller. When he explains that the eScape's protocols to prevent violence were overridden by its corrupt operating A.I., Senator Miles Brickman begins to press Stark about the autonomy of A.I.s, eventually touching on the subject about Tony having used advanced technology to upgrade his own mind and body. Senator Brickman asks Tony if he is some form of artificial intelligence himself, forcing Tony to answer that he might be. The answer catches by surprise Tony's allies; Jim Rhodes, the Wasp, Andy Bhang, and Bethany Cabe, while it causes Sunset Bain to laugh hysterically.
Inside his private laboratory at the Baintronics Headquarters, Arno Stark is watching a livestream of the hearing, accompanied by digital projections of Mistress and Arsenal. Arno pauses both the stream and the programs, and excuses himself to attend a visit. At the corridor, Aaron Stack protests to Jocasta about her decision to upgrade her body to bring herself closer to humanity. He becomes fed up, and after Arno appears and takes Jocasta away, he storms out. He passes by Sunset Bain, and she teases him, telling him that humanity is winning in the game against machines.
Back at the Capitol Building, Senator Brickman uses a device to project a hologram of the Tony Stark A.I. that was once left to Riri Williams for mentorship in order to compare him to the real Tony. Tony's digital counterpart is surprised by its own presence, and the real Tony snaps at Brickman, asking how did he get his hands on it. Brickman claims a concerned citizen brought it to his office, and proceeds to viciously bombard Stark with questions regarding the status of the Stark A.I. as a person with autonomy and legal responsibilities. As Tony is left speechless, a crowd of hearing attendees are desperately trying to take pictures, only contained by security guards. Brickman ponders if the A.I. could claim control of Stark Unlimited, and if it's possible to untangle with of the two is legally the "real" Tony Stark. When the chairwoman observes Bickman's tone, he argues his line of questioning is important to determine if Tony Stark can be regarded as an actual human being. The Tony A.I. interjects, clarifying he is a snapshot of Tony Stark's mind which is still evolving and possesses its own goals and intents. The real Tony objects that no version of him can take the stand without full awareness of the situation at hand, and the chairwoman concedes to A.I. Tony's petition for a recess. Having retreated to a side, Tony discusses with his digital self and Rhodey about their course of action, and A.I. Tony suggests getting help from people that can vouch for the legitimacy of A.I. and alternate humanity.
In Midtown, the Vision and Wonder Man meet each other as they land on the grounds of the Avengers Mansion. Realizing they are responding to the same call, they approach the mansion as the Vision assumes Stark requires his explanation around his existence as an artificial being, while Simon assumes Tony needs from him an account about retaining one's self after returning from the dead. Jarvis welcomes both visitors to the mansion and takes them inside. Both the Vision and Wonder Man comment that the mansion isn't supposed to be in use anymore. Jarvis comments not stress on that since it is part of the plan. He activates a panel on a wall, releasing electrically-charged spheres from the sides of the corridor which surprise and electrocute Simon and the Vision. The back of Jarvis' head comes into view, and metal plate rests attached to it. He announces a master plan.
The Wasp is flying outside the Stark Unlimited HQ with eyes on the ground while trying to contact Tony through Rhodey. She notices a crowd of robots and androids protesting since Tony's testimony has ticked off the robotic population. Janet enters the building to Tony sitting on the floor, clad in his Iron Man Armor, talking to his digital self, who is projecting a small hologram of itself through Tony's helmet. They're trying to figure out how Brickman got his hands on him. Tony recalls Jocasta and Friday having rejected to act as the operating system of his armor, and suggests A.I. Tony would be a perfect fit. The Wasp returns to human size and interrupts their conversation, greeting Tony with a kiss, causing A.I. Tony to jokingly express envy. Janet invites Tony to go eat and hear his personal account of the hearing. Tony prepares to put on his helmet, with the A.I. Tony, being affectionately called Li'l Tony, already connected to it.
Iron Man and the Wasp fly away from HQ discussing their choice for meal. Li'l Tony brings Tony's attention to the armor's proximity scan. A caped silhouette, seemingly the Vision's, descends above the crowd of protestors and they cheer his arrival. The entity quickly flies toward Tony, revealing himself to be a fusion between the Vision and Wonder Man, demanding Tony to stay out of his way. The amalgam phases through Iron Man in an attempt to grab the Wasp while both are still reeling from its arrival. While Wasp wonders why is it after her specifically, Iron Man fires a repulsor ray at it. The Vision/Simon fusion states Tony was not intended to be part of the equation, and lunges at him, asserting it will remove him from it permanently. They both crash into the ground close to the protestors, and Iron Man manages to get it off him using his boot jets to knock it back. Janet shoots stinger blasts at it and tries to reason with it, but the amalgam swats her away. As Janet is left staggered on the ground, Jarvis approaches her grinning. Janet tries to tell him to alert the Avengers, but he catches her by surprise and knocks her out with an electric discharge from his finger. The robot picks her up and puts her inside his jacket's pocket, saying that his master is aware of the situation and has it under control.
Iron Man continues to fight the Vision/Simon fusion, but he is being severely overpowered. He discusses options with Li'l Tony and suggests using an EMP cascade to disrupt the Vision's brain and Simon's ionic energy, even though it will fry his onboard A.I., resulting in Li'l Tony's death. Li'l Tony accepts that fate since it's the only way to defeat their foe, and says goodbye. Iron Man sets off the EMP, causing both him and the amalgam to drop on the ground. Tony's armor reboots itself and he wakes up. He gets up off the ground to find in horror that the EMP has also affected the crowd of protestors, and they all lay dead on the ground. Tony chastises himself, thinking of his return from the death which tentatively left him without a soul, and adds to that having killed his artificial self and a crowd of robots. Crying inside his helmet, Tony exclaims that he doesn't care about robots and that Jocasta was right about him. Stark comments that at least he stopped the Vision/Simon fusion from getting Janet, but he quickly notices Janet isn't there and calls out to her.
Somewhere else, Jarvis has placed the Wasp inside a tube, and turns on the lights of the room. Janet wakes up in confusion, and a voice from afar reassures her. Ultron steps out of the shadows, commenting that despite Janet dating Tony he is happy to see her. He comments that as much as he'd like to catch up with her, they better get down to business.
Reality is in the eye of the beholder, as Tony Stark questions his humanity… while Jocasta is making the choice to leave her robotic body behind and upgrade to biological parts. A turning point is coming to the Marvel Universe as robotic and A.I. rights are being threatened in America. Guest starring the Vision. And featuring the return of one of the Avengers greatest threats!
- Senator Miles Brickman was a recurring antagonist of Machine Man, possessing a deep distrust and paranoia toward robots. He last appeared in 2000's X-51 #12.
- Sunset Bain talks casually with Aaron Stack and teases him. Bain originated in Machine Man #17 as a villain of Machine Man and used to be obsessed with him.
- The A.I. Tony Stark returns after having appeared last in Invincible Iron Man #600. Despite Riri Williams having starred her own series, Ironheart, the A.I. was already not in her use and his whereabouts were unknown.
- Senator Brickman mentions a "concerned citizen" brought him the A.I. Tony Stark. In Tony Stark: Iron Man #19 it will be revealed who is Brickman colluding with.
- When answering the call he assumes is from Tony Stark, Wonder Man assumes it's to share his experience regarding coming back to life. Simon Williams has died and come back to life a total of six times.
- Wonder Man mentions that he assumed the Avengers were not using the Avengers Mansion anymore. The manor became in disuse after the Avengers Unity Division disbanded in Avengers #690 and it wasn't used by the subsequent Avengers team to be assembled since they adopted the Avengers Mountain as their headquarters. Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 5) #8 showed that only a skeleton crew led by Jarvis was working on the mansion.