Appearing in "Self-Made Man: Part Two – The Not-A-Pilot Episode"
- Stark Unlimited
- Controller (Basil Sandhurst) (Voice)
- Baintronics, Inc.
- Thanos (Dream)
- U.S. Armed Forces (Referenced)
- Machine Man (Aaron Stack)
- Numerous unnamed New Yorkers
- Fin Fang Foom (Mentioned)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- U.S. Army
- An unidentified General (Only appearance)
- Several unnamed officers
- U.S. Government (Mentioned)
- Avengers Initiative (Mentioned)
- Roxxon Corporation (Mentioned)
- Ultron (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Earth Orbit (Dream)
- United States of America
- New York
- Upstate New York
- New York City
- New Jersey (Behind the scenes)
- Cranbury (Behind the scenes)
- The Controller's secret base (Behind the scenes)
- Cranbury (Behind the scenes)
- Camp Hammond, Stamford, Connecticut (Mentioned)
- New York
- eScape (Mentioned)
- Iron Man Armor
- War Machine Armor Model 8 (Dream)
- Control Disk (Behind the scenes)
- Gauntlet Armor's Glove
- War Machine Armor Model 9 (First appearance)
- Image Inducer
- Macarena (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Manticore (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Self-Made Man: Part Two – The Not-A-Pilot Episode"
After struggling with nightmares of his experiences piloting a suit, Jim Rhodes exercises with Tony Stark at a climbing wall in Stark Unlimited. They discuss Tony's rash behavior, but Tony asserts that Rhodey will always be there to catch him when he falls. Tony then discusses with Jocasta, Andy Bhang and Rhodey his armor's need for an A.I. system, since due to Jocasta actions as robot ethicist, Friday was extracted from the Iron Man Armor and was given her own robot body. Tony proposes to patch his new and complex A.I. Motherboard to the suit without housing her inside it. Their meeting is interrupted when Bethany Cabe reveals she discovered Baintronics has used stolen Stark tech to build a war vehicle named the Manticore. In reality, the discovery of the Manticore was orchestrated by the Controller, who continues secretly controlling Bethany Cabe to intrude in Stark's systems, and used the Manticore as a distraction to keep Tony busy.
Iron Man and War Machine interrupt the auction for the Manticore, though Rhodey is absent-minded. Iron Man is subdued by Baintronics security officer Gauntlet, and Rhodey panics and ejects from the armor while confronting the Manticore, revealing to Tony that he has become afraid of suiting up. Tony interfaces with the vehicle and ejects its pilot to prevent him from killing Rhodes, though this forces Rhodey to race to the Manticore's cockpit since it's out of control and threatens to run people over. Rhodey then uses the Manticore to knock out Gauntlet, and reveals that he feels comfortable piloting the vehicle. Tony ends up buying the Manticore from Sunset Bain. In the meantime, Jocasta had attempted to blend in with Stark Unlimited's co-workers using holograms to appear human. She unwittingly alarmed Bethany Cabe, since she didn't recognize Jocasta in her disguise and attacked her thinking she was a spy. Jocasta is scared off and decides to take part of Stark's mysterious eScape project since she wants to fit in with humanity. Her boyfriend Aaron Stack protests, citing Jocasta's own concerns for eScape. While returning from intercepting the Manticore auction, Tony confides to Rhodey that he thinks there's something wrong with his new body.
Suffering nightmares of his experiences piloting a suit, Jim Rhodes dreams about his near-death experience when his suit caught on fire in orbit, when he was turned into a cyborg, and when Thanos punched through his suit and killed him. This last recall makes Rhodey wake up scared in the middle of the night. In the morning, while getting hold of himself, Rhodey gets dressed, gets on his car and goes to work. In the meantime, Andy Bhang is at his apartment cheerfully getting ready to work as well, listening to Amanda Armstrong's music both while brushing his teeth and on the subway. Jocasta Pym is also getting up, unplugging herself from bed and polishing herself. Her robot partner compliments her, and she later walks down the street, brushing off the staring bystanders. At the Stark Unlimited HQ, Bethany Cabe has pulled an all-nighter trying to find out who has been breaking into the company's system's to no avail. She's taken over by the Controller. While he gloats about the fact that Bethany will never find Stark's intruder since it's herself, he stays cautious and sets in motion a plan to distract Tony Stark since he's confident he will eventually see through her.
At Stark Unlimited, Rhodey meets up with Tony, both men wearing sportswear. Tony grumbles affectionately at Rhodey for arriving late, and the two friends start scaling a climbing wall which Tony had set up five minutes earlier simply because Rhodey was late and he got bored. Rhodey points out the wall's lack of safety harnesses, and Tony states that would make it boring. Rhodey reminds Tony that while both recently had their bodies re-engineered to escape death, it's not a free pass. As they continue climbing, Rhodey probes into Tony's addictive personality, scolding Tony for going up alone against Fin Fang Foom and almost getting himself killed. Tony uses as a pretext the fact that his suit didn't have a functioning A.I. in it. One of the wall's grips snaps off and Tony falls. Rhodey catches him and chides Tony for always having an excuse, warning him that next time he might not be there. Tony cuts off Rhodey, telling him that catching him when he falls is what he does.
Later on, at The Foundry, Tony brings up to Rhodey, Jocasta and Andy the fact that he his armor needs a built-in A.I. system. Rhodey wonders why doesn't just program one in, and Jocasta explains that it's immoral to coop up an A.I. in a tech suit like some helpless passenger. She points out that her first act as robotic ethicist was to get Tony's latest A.I. Friday removed from the Iron Man Armor and placed in her own body. At the same time Friday walks up to the group, sporting a robot body not unlike Jocasta's, to remind them that they'll have karaoke night. Tony proposes a possible solution, which is to patch up the new, complex A.I. Motherboard who runs his pet project eScape, to his armor, while not keeping her housed in the suit. Jocasta recalls her own experience having been housed in the armor as being trapped inside the suit, and Rhodey agrees that it sounds horrible. Andy explains that if given access to Motherboard, he can integrate her into Tony's suits within the hour. He inquires about eScape, and Tony tells him he'll find out soon enough.
The meeting is interrupted by Bethany Cabe and Amanda Armstrong, who barge into The Foundry to alert Tony about something Bethany has uncovered. In the background, Andy freaks out, learning from Jocasta that Amanda is Tony's biological mother. Bethany reveals that she has been hacking into the databases of some of S.U.'s competitors and discovered that Baintronics has illegally acquired a lot of proprietary Stark tech which they used to build an all-terrain assault vehicle named the Manticore, which Sunset Bain is auctioning off today. Due to the urgency of the situation, Tony decides to intercept the auction, and calls in Rhodey to suit up, much to his chagrin.
At the Baintronics Testing Range in Upstate New York, Sunset Bain carries out a demonstration for the Manticore to a group of shady military officers, using it to incinerate a test dummy resembling a child. Two United States Army officers told to keep their distance by Gauntlet, who is working as security for Baintronics. A general reveals the Army has kept an eye on him, and insists that their offer to buy his glove stands. Gauntlet points out they are at a weapons demonstration, and threatens to demonstrate his own. Sunset starts the auction to an eager crowd, and Iron Man interrupts it with War Machine, though Rhodey is noticeably distracted. Bain orders the Manticore to target War Machine, while Gauntlet takes on Iron Man. Tony recognizes Gauntlet, and recalls that he worked at Camp Hammond for the Initiative. Gauntlet berates Tony for attacking his place of work, and clenches him with an energy hand.
In the meantime, at the Stark Unlimited Commissary, Bethany Cabe watches over the employees having lunch. Andy is still reeling over the discover that Amanda Armstrong is Tony's mother. A girl is chatting with another group of employees, gushing over Tony's shirtless athletic display earlier that day while wall-climbing. The girl presents herself as Joelle, a new employee from robotics. Bethany immediately becomes suspicious since Andy had been the only new hire in robotics. After confirming Joelle is not on the record, Bethany lunges and her and punches her, making a metallic sound. Explaining that she simply wanted to blend in, Joelle deactivates her holographic disguise, revealing herself to be Jocasta. She runs away in distress and apologizes.
Back at the testing range, Iron Man remains in Gauntlet's grasp. With his power flow disrupted, Motherboard confirms the power levels of the armor are dropping. Iron Man requests Rhodey's aid, but War Machine remains paralyzed against the Manticore and is hit by a missile. Rhodey panics and orders Motherboard to eject him even though his armor is still fully operational. Tony is surprised by his friend's behavior, and Rhodey admits that he should have told Tony he wasn't ready to get back in a suit. Tony uses Motherboard to interface with the Manticore and ejects his pilot to stop the vehicle from running over Rhodey; however, without its pilot, the Manticore goes out of control. It moves into the direction of the crowd, ignoring Sunset Bain's attempt to disengage it with a voice command. Rhodey runs into the Manticore, jumps into its cockpit and takes the wheel to stop it while Tony laments that he didn't pay enough attention to what Rhodey was going through. Rhodey uses the Manticore's non-lethal weapons to knock out Gauntlet, and enthused over the vehicle. When Sunset demands that Rhodey gets out of the Manticore, Tony proposes to make a generous offer for it. She agrees and invites Tony over dinner.
Back at her home, Jocasta arrives to the surprise of her partner. He inquires about her day since she's employing a much more robotic voice, and she explains that she made a fool of herself, admitting that she doesn't want to stand out from humans but to understand them and fit in. Jocasta declares that she will to take part in the eScape project. Being revealed to be Aaron Stack, Jocasta's partner protests her decision, citing that Jocasta herself told him eScape could mean the end of their kind, and threatens that she'll join eScape over his dead body.
Meanwhile, Iron Man and Rhodey are flying back from the testing range, with Rhodey on the Manticore. He expresses that he can no longer use suits of armor since he feels they're coffins, but feels at peace aboard the Manticore, which gives him room to breathe and makes him feel more like a pilot. Tony decides to confide Rhodey something. He explains that he checked their new bodies, and while he assures Rhodey is completely fine, Tony fears there's something wrong with his own body.
• Tony has been holding back an enormous secret since his return, and there’s only one person on Earth he’d trust it with: James Rhodes. This will change everything.
• A strange new development for Jocasta, the return of the Gauntlet and the arrival of Tony Stark’s new rival, Sunset Bain. All this and the power of the Manticore, the most powerful assault vehicle in the Marvel Universe!
- This issue's opening scene has Rhodey dream about the following events:
- When his Iron Man Armor shorted out while re-entering Earth's orbit and caught fire in Iron Man #215.
- When he was turned into a cyborg after losing all of his limbs and an eye in a bombing attack in War Machine (Vol. 2) #1.
- When he was killed by Thanos in Free Comic Book Day (Vol. 2016) #Civil War II.
- In this issue, Jocasta recalls how she was once housed in Iron Man's suit and didn't have a body. Tony downloaded Jocasta's consciousness through his armor into the computer systems of his Smart House to save her life in Iron Man (Vol. 3) #20. She also became his armor's operating A.I.. Jocasta regained a physical form in Iron Man (Vol. 3) #48.