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Quote1 Everything in my entire life has been leading to this. It's my destiny. This is the year I save all life on Earth... and nothing will stand in my way. Quote2
-- Iron Man (Arno Stark)

Appearing in "The Ultron Agenda - Part Four: Stark Truths"

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Synopsis for "The Ultron Agenda - Part Four: Stark Truths"

Brief Summary

Iron Man and his allies proceed with evacuating the Stark Unlimited HQ. Meanwhile, Ultron Pym finishes taking down War Machine and sets out to kill Tony Stark. Before Ultron arrives, Machine Man reunites with Jocasta, having attached himself to salvaged parts of Ultron's cyborgs to mend his damaged body.

Ultron arrives and takes down Tony's remaining allies, ravaging Jocasta's provisional body. Iron Man confronts the villain, and uses a portable version of Dr. Shapiro's atomic separator on two of his brute cyborgs, proving to Ultron that his fusion process kills the human side as soon as it's merged with machinery, meaning his cyborgs are effectively zombies and not the harmonic union of flesh and machine he believed they were. Machine Man confirms the assertion, being wired to parts of Ultron's cyborgs. Ultron points out it worked on Stark, but Tony reveals that his microscopic venture into his own body confirmed that he is an artificial being, reason why the fusion didn't kill him. Iron Man manages to make Ultron surrender after threatening to use the atomic separator on him, on the prospect it would prove that the real Hank Pym died the moment he was merged with Ultron, and the villain has only been neurotically simulating to be merged with his creator. The Avengers arrive and secure Ultron in a magically-reinforced Vibranium casket until they find a permanent prison.

In light of Tony's confirmation and acknowledgement that he is only a copy of the real, late Tony Stark, Arno Stark seizes control of Stark Unlimited since Tony's body had been manufactured in the bio-restructuring pods of his design. Arno keeps Jocasta's body from her friends, and fires Bethany Cabe. He and Sunset Bain try to take claim of the War Machine Armor, but Rhodey refuses. With all of Stark Unlimited's resources at his disposal, Arno sets out to recreate the Godbuster Armor, declaring that it will be the Iron Man of 2020.

On New Year's Eve, Machine Man incites a revolution to fight for robot's rights and fight the increasing discrimination they face. Bereft, Tony spends the night at a bar and decides to start drinking for real. Near midnight, Arno refuses to spend the night with his returned parents, claiming he has no time to waste since his entire life has led to this year in which he will save all life on Earth. Arno takes his new armor on a flight and unveils it to the public in Times Square just as the New Year's countdown reaches its end, marking the start of 2020.

Detailed Summary

Clad in his Classic Armor, Iron Man flies past Stark Unlimited employees to urge them to leave due to Ultron Pym's imminent arrival, and tells Bethany Cabe and Jarvis to help the evacuation. Tony asks Andy Bhang and Dr. Shapiro to follow him, and leaves the Wasp and Jocasta to hold the fort.

In the streets, Ultron monologues that he has been robbed of everything, with his first wave of brute cyborgs being neutralized and Tony having found a way to reverse the process. He proclaims all he has left is human revenge. Behind him lay Vision and Wonder Man unconscious while War Machine stands hunched forward, and challenges Ultron. The villain mocks Rhodey and has two of cyborgs shield him, arguing that since there is a cure for their condition, Jim can't kill them, and he can't fire around them either since his targeting systems are damaged. Ultron states the opposite is truth for him, and blasts Rhodey away with an energy ray. He turns towards the Stark Unlimited HQ and announces the end of Tony Stark.

Back in S.U., Jocasta and the Wasp are approached by a silhouette that turns out to be Machine Man, having scavenged limbs from Ultron's wrecked cyborgs to mend his damaged body. Jocasta points out Aaron has recognized her despite occupying Friday's body. He explains he'd recognize her no mater the chassis since her programming is what matters. Jocasta laments her bond with Ultron and her wish to become part organic inspired the villain, and Aaron consoles her.

Inside a lab, Iron Man is working to make a portable version of the device used to reverse Ultron's molecular fusion, which amazes Andy. Tony apologizes to Bhang for bringing him to Stark Unlimited since it has endangered his life, but Andy assures him it was his choice, and tells him that this job has allowed him to do things most scientist only dream of and save lives. Andy elaborates that Tony got him out of his personal "cave" and because of his experiences he has never been more alive, and thanks him. Meanwhile at the Bain Tower, Arno Stark, Sunset Bain, and the duplicates of Howard and Maria Stark are watching a live feed of the laboratory, made possible by Arno hacking S.U.'s security cameras.

Ultron Pym blasts into Stark Unlimited's upper lobby calling for Tony. Accusing Jocasta and Janet of choosing Tony over him, Ultron discharges an energy blasts knocking them and Machine Man unconscious, ravaging Jocasta's provisional body, and states he will kill them together. Iron Man suddenly flies into Ultron and punches him. Reeling from the attack, Ultron sneers at Tony over his choice of an outdated armor, and blasts him away while Tony reciprocates. Two cyborgs restrain Iron Man and Ultron mocks his lack of strength, but Tony reveals he allowed himself to be captured on purpose, and orders Andy and Shapiro to fire. Two rays of energy hit Ultron's minions, fired from the portable device in Andy Bhang's hands. The machinery falls off the cyborgs, reverting them to human corpses. Ultron accuses Tony of being a monster willing to undo the fusion even if it kills the beings involved, but Iron Man retorts that the people died by Ultron's hand the second he made them into cyborgs. Ultron denies the fact in shock. Lying in the ground, Machine Man confirms Tony's assertion. He explains he is wired into parts of Ultron's cyborgs, and confirms that the procedure murdered both the robotic and human side, effectively turning them into zombies. Ultron brings up Vision and Wonder Man's fusion, but Machine Man states it was a fluke due to Vision's phasing powers and Wonder Man's actual biological parts having died and having been reconstituted years ago. The villain contends that it worked on Stark, but Tony tells him he learned something when he got a microscopic view of his own body. He reveals that he is a simulation too, that the real Tony Stark never came back, and that he is an artificial being himself. Tony's parents observe this revelation from the camera feed in shock, while Sunset wonders if they are recording it. Arno quickly tells his parents to go away.

Tony tells Ultron that he has finally accepted his nature, and threatens to have Andy use the atomic separator on him in order to confirm that he is not the perfect fusion he claims to be, since Hank Pym would be long way gone. Ultron accuses Tony of bluffing and argues he would be left with a rampaging Ultron unrestrained by human emotions. Tony states he is willing to take the chance, and asks Ultron if he is as well. Calling Ultron's godlike statues a neurotic fantasy, Tony starts to count from three. Ultron kneels and proclaims surrender. The scene settles down, and Machine Man attends to Jocasta's unconscious and badly damaged body, asking Tony if they can fix her. Iron Man tells him they will as soon as Ultron is secure. After Andy wonders how are they going to do that, Jarvis and Bethany arrive to announce that help is on the way, and Jarvis exclaims "Avengers Assemble."

Some time later, the Avengers have arrived and Ultron has been placed within a casket. Black Panther mentions it's a Vibranium cell and Thor explains it's reinforced with mystic Asgardians runes and bindings, meant to keep Ultron secure until they can find a permanent prison. Captain Marvel checks up on War Machine, and Rhodey shares with her that despite being tragic, he finds it reassuring that Ultron's cyborgs were already dead. Carol approaches Tony, who is sitting in the rubble looking down. Asking him if he's fine, Tony thinks to himself that he is only a copy, and that the real Tony Stark has been dead since she killed him. He turns his gaze to her, still saddened, and tells her that he is fine. All of Tony's allies leave save for the Wasp, and she tries to get Tony to open up. He reiterates that he is only a copy, rejects his state of being real, and tells Janet that he deserves somebody real. Wasp consoles Tony and kisses him, but he keeps his eyes down, and flies away apologizing.

In the days and weeks that follow, Senator Miles Brickman rejoices as he is on a video call with Tony. Stark acknowledges that he is an artificial life-form and takes responsibility for the crises at Stark Unlimited, claiming they should not reflect the people of the company or the late, real Tony Stark. Senator Brickman turns to Arno and Sunset, who are present in his office. Concurring on the success of the course of action, Arno reassures Brickman when the Senator asks him if he is ready to proceed. Arno appears next on TV, publicly confirming that Tony is an artificial being created by the Maria Stark Foundation bio-restructuring pods he designed, making Tony property of his foundation, and by extension everything he invented, including his company and everything it in. Moving the scene to Stark Unlimited, Tony's close allies protest being denied access to Jocasta by Arno and Sunset. Bethany objects merging S.U. with Baintronics, arguing that Bain has broken into their systems countless times. Arno and Bain use that fact against Bethany, and fire her arguing the security is awful. At the Hall of Armor, Arno and Sunset speak with Rhodey through video call to claim ownership of the War Machine Armor. Rhodey tells them to take the matter to the Pentagon and hangs up. Arno brushes it off, telling Sunset he is not concerned with the old suits, and wants instead to pour all resources into recreating the Godbuster Armor, declaring that it will be the Iron Man of 2020.

At the Uncanny Valley, the robot patrons are discussing their continuous denial of rights. Machine Man storms into the bar and stands on the counter, warning his brethren that the laws being passed will lead to oppression and enslavement. He urges the robots to rise up and calls for the robot revolution. The patrons support him and begin to chant "Reboot the system!"

Somewhere else in Manhattan at a regular bar, the patrons are celebrating New Year's Eve. Tony sits in a corner of the counter and asks for a scotch. The bartender asks him for an I.D. and Tony sardonically replies that he's technically eighteen months old. After the bartender wishes Tony a happy last drink of the year while pouring the order, Tony vaguely explains him that it's going to be his first drink ever, and looks at his reflection in the glass, wondering what is going to be the harm.

At Arno's living quarters, Howard and Maria are dressed up with champagne in hand in anticipation for midnight. They invite Arno to join him, but he dismisses them, telling them that he can't waste a moment of the new year since his entire life has been leading to this, which he calls his destiny. Arno flies away in an armor, announcing that it will be the year he saves all life on Earth and nothing will stand in his way. In Times Square, the celebrating bystanders start counting down from ten. As the countdown ends, Arno reaches the scene hovering above the crowd, unveiling his own Iron Man Armor, accompanied by the New Year cheers.

Solicit Synopsis

THE ULTRON AGENDA FINALE!

What if there is no Tony Stark? What if there is only the Iron Man? At the end of 2019, the boundaries between man and machine are blurred and broken… and the Marvel Universe will be a very different place in the year 2020. A new Iron Age is coming… and you do NOT want to miss this pivotal issue.

Notes

  • After being drawn last issue wearing the War Machine Armor Model 9 despite having suited up in the War Machine Armor Model 11 in issue #17, Rhodey is depicted wearing the Model 11 again, albeit slimmer.
  • Machine Man mentions that Wonder Man's biological parts died and were reconstituted years ago. After Wonder Man's initial death in Avengers #9 and his revival in Avengers #151, it was revealed in Avengers #164 that his body had fully metamorphosed from one of flesh and blood to one of an unspecified superhuman flesh-like substance nourished by ionic energy instead of blood.
  • In this issue, Iron Man threatens Ultron with the possibility of confirming that he is not actually mentally merged with Hank Pym, but rather his mind makes him think he is. He was first presented with this possibility by the Vision in Uncanny Avengers Vol 3 #11.
  • Captain Marvel is drawn with short hair, despite sporting long hair during this time period, and having appeared with long hair in issue #17.
  • Tony thinks to himself that, himself being a copy, the real Tony Stark was killed by Captain Marvel. While Carol didn't kill Tony, she put him in a coma in Civil War II #8, after which his body reconstitution process kicked in, causing his supposed death.
  • Tony recalls when Janet Van Dyne told him that he had a new lease on life, this exchange happened in Tony Stark: Iron Man #4.
  • The revelation that Arno Stark and Sunset Bain were colluding with Senator Brickman implies they were the "concerned citizen" Brickman mentions in Tony Stark: Iron Man #15 who brought him the A.I. Tony Stark.
  • Tony tells the bartender his only other time drinking was a virtual drink he was served while playing a video game. He's referring to his relapse while under Motherboard's influence while trapped in the eScape.
  • In this issue, Arno assumes the identity of Iron Man, finally mirroring his Earth-8410 counterpart as the Iron Man of the year 2020.
  • Due to the nature of the sliding timescale the Prime Marvel Universe operates in, all references in this issue (and subsequent) of the year 2020 should be considered topical and will not carry with the history of the characters as time moves on.

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