Appearing in "Self-Made Man: Part Four – Love Bytes"
- Stark Unlimited
- Wasp (Janet Van Dyne)
- Baintronics, Inc.
- Numerous unnamed New Yorkers
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Cupid (Eros) (Mentioned)
- Mighty Avengers (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Andy Bhang's mother (Mentioned)
- Maria Stark (Mentioned)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. (Mentioned)
- Hank Pym (Mentioned)
- Ultron (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Microverse (Mentioned)
- Make-A-Match.Com (Only appearance)
- Control Disk (Behind the scenes)
- Pym Particles (Behind the scenes)
- Iron Man Armor Model 1 MK III (On-screen)
- Wasp's Suit and Bio-Synthetic Wings
- Iron Man Armor Model 3 (On-screen)
- Iron Man Armor Model 8 (On-screen)
- Iron Man Armor Model 60 (First appearance)
- The Expendables (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- The Expendables 2 (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- The Expendables 3 (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
Synopsis for "Self-Made Man: Part Four – Love Bytes"
The employees at Stark Unlimited are captivated by a new dating site called Make-A-Match.Com developed by Baintronics Inc. which appears to find anybody their perfect partner. One of the first users is Andry Bhang, whose earlier date with Amanda Armstrong proved fruitless. A week later the Stark Unlimited HQ is plagued by the visiting partners of the staff, much to Bethany Cabe's chagrin due to security concerns.
After making a study to connect his and Jocasta's brain as part of his investigations to determine if he's still human after having reformatted his brain and his body, Tony goes on a date with Janet Van Dyne. Their date goes wonderful, but is interrupted when Bethany alerts them that Stark Tower is under attack; all of the staff's romantic partners revealed themselves as robots under Baintronics' control after Bethany became suspicious of them, and they began rampaging through the building in an attempt to take off with any piece of hardware they could get.
Iron Man and Wasp return to Stark Tower to contain the robots. During the chaos, Amanda saves Andy from being killed by his date, and he admits to being intimidated by Amanda. Andy eventually realizes that all the robots are a hive mind taking orders from a higher intelligence. Tony uploads a dating profile to Make-A-Match.Com, causing an influx of requests that overload the site's servers, affecting the attacking robots and shutting them down. After the crisis is stopped, Andy and Amanda decide to give each other another try; Bethany finds an image inducer inside her locker; Baintronics is forced to shut down Make-A-Match.Com, though Sunset Bain blames the attack on a rogue A.I.; and Tony and Janet start dating.
A video ad plays out for a site called Make-A-Match.Com. Showing images of happy couples, the project by Baintronics Inc. promises it has cracked the code behind romance, using its Matchmaker System™ to find a person's perfect partner.
At the Stark Unlimited commissary, Amanda Armstrong walks into a group of employees observing from a distance at Andy Bhang, who is having lunch with a woman named Jin he met on Make-A-Match.Com. Surprised by Andy's ability to get a date, numerous employees decide to give the site a try. Friday asks Amanda if she didn't go on a date with Andy, and she explains that while they did, because he was such a fan of her music, it made things awkward. Jim Rhodes is baffled by his coworkers' inability to try to find a date in more conventional ways. The A.I.s inside Baintronic's are delighted by the flood of requests from Tony Stark's company.
A week later, Tony Stark is at his lab analyzing Jocasta's brain. They're using a device that employs electrodes to link their minds and experience each other's memories through each other's eyes with the objective to see if they experience the same sensation, also displaying their memories in the screens of the lab, as part of Tony's investigations to determine if he's still human after having reformatted his brain and his body. Jocasta teases Tony, pretending to misinterpret his comments for a confession of love and chastises him for the inappropriateness. After finishing the analysis, Tony states they need to compare Jocasta's brainwaves with those of the human she was patterned after. Cue the entrance of Janet Van Dyne. With the neural uplinks still attached to Tony's temples, the screens behind him flare-up with memories of his teamwork and short-lived romance with Janet when he looks at her. Tony and Janet begin to flirt while Jocasta pays attention to the memories displayed in the screen. Appearing worried, she searches for her corresponding memories from those shown on the screen. As the three leave the laboratory, Jocasta suggests Tony to take Janet out to lunch, and she accepts.
At the corridors of Stark Unlimited, Amanda observes Bethany Cabe when she complains about Jin visiting Andy. Amanda defends Andy's relationship, and Bethany explains that many employees have fallen in love recently, resulting in an influx of requests for visitor passes, which is what bothers her. Tony, Janet and Jocasta pass by Amanda and Bethany, and Stark introduces Janet to his mother. Tony and Janet prepare to, and he offers Amanda and Jocasta to join them. Jocasta turns down the offer for her and Amanda as well. After Tony and Janet leave, Amanda notices and increase of visitors. Outside the tower, Tony and Janet leave in a red and golden Vespa to explore the city. Jocasta happily looks from a window joking about helping them with "cyber-assisted dating."
The evening progresses and Tony and Janet make various stops. They visit an art museum, the LOVE Sculpture, a lake while eating ice cream, and Janet has Tony try out gaudy clothes. While Janet is driving the Vespa, Tony explains that since he reconfigured his entry body, everything he experiences is different now. They continue the conversation at a café, where Janet compares Tony's experience to her return following her apparent death during the Skrull's Secret Invasion. She encourages Tony to see the new lease in life as a second chance where anything can happen.
Back at Stark Unlimited, Bethany is surprised to see bonding with a girl over their mutual love for the The Expendables films. Rhodey introduces his date as Raquel, and Bethany deduces that they met on Make-A-Match.Com as well. Bethany becomes suspicious of the success of the site, and announces that she intends to make security checks on everyone again. The A.I. operating the site become alerted and order the "Gold Digger" protocols to be put in action, that consists on grabbing and leaving with everything and anything they can carry.
At the café, Tony wonders why don't he and Janet hang out more often. Janet explains that she was offended that the first and last time they dated Tony didn't tell her that he and Iron Man were the same person. Tony apologizes and tells Janet that he thinks back to those days fondly. Janet tells him that she's aware of that, since she did notice the screens display those memories, much to Tony's confusion. They are interrupted by a holographic transmission of Bethany through Tony's watch, alerting him that Stark Unlimited is under attack by killer robots. Tony jumps into the Vespa and invites Wasp to join him. Janet asks him if he's going to change, and the vehicle morphs into an Iron Man Armor that encases Tony. Already shrunken down and dressed in her uniform, Wasp compliments Tony's armor, and the two take flight.
In Stark Unlimited, Bethany and Rhodey are trying to contain their coworkers' dates, which have turned into elongated monsters with glowing green eyes and are trying to take off with stolen hardware. Iron Man and Wasp break through a window, and Bethany explains Tony the situation. As Tony begins to attack the robots, Jocasta explains to him that the robots are sophisticated A.I.s programmed to attack and rob, stating that it's no different than mind-control. Tony assures her that they will try to disable them without causing irreparable damage.
In another part of the building, Andy blocks one of the exit doors to prevent Jin from escaping with stolen property. His former date threatens to shoot him with a laser gun formed from her hand. He calls it a bluff, but Jin actually shoots at him. Amanda tackles Andy out of the way, saving his life. Andy jokes about how the first date he had in years tried to kill him, and Amanda reminds him that they had a date. However, Andy admits that he found Amanda intimidating. Iron Man appears and takes down Jin, and demands that Andy stops making time with his mother to think of a way to shut down the robots. The A.I.s at Baintronics determine that too many people are getting in their way, and order the robots to use image inducers to copy the appearance of the company's staff to sneak away. As Wasp worries about how they'll know who to target, Bethany recalls her incident with Jocasta last month, and deploys a disruption field to reveal the robots' true forms. Now cornered, the robots take aim all at the same time and prepare to shoot at everyone. Tony and his allies fight the robots, in the process unsheathing one of his Vespa armor's into a laser sword. Jocasta also fights the invaders, acknowledging that they're only following their programming, but asserting that she will not let them hurt her friends. As Amanda tries to keep Andy out of harm's way, he alerts Tony to tell him that he has figured out that the robots are all taking the same actions at the same time, using only one strategy at a time because they have a hive mind structure. Deducing that the drones are taking orders from a higher intelligence which is also the dating app, Tony assures Andy that he's got it.
At Baintronics' servers, the A.I.s are surprised to catch an incoming file from Tony Stark. They're surprised that it's not malware but instead a normal dating profile. Tony's appearance in Make-A-Match.Com leads to women and men all over to send him a request. The servers are overloaded, affecting the attacking drones, causing them to freeze. As the dust settles in Stark Unlimited, Andy and Amanda decide to give each other another try, and arrange for a date. In the building's locker room, Bethany discovers the image inducer in her locker, and wonders why does she have one.
Later in the news, Sunset Bain announces that she has shut down Make-A-Match.Com, claiming that it was a rogue artificial intelligence that corrupted the site's systems and was behind the attack and Stark Unlimited, also declaring that the incident was a wake-up call for tighter A.I. regulations. The news change to talking about Tony Stark having taken down his online dating profile, accompanied by a statement from Tony stating that he's "regrettably" off the dating market. Janet and Tony are watching the news in a couch on loungewear. Janet teases him about him choice of words, and they kiss.
• You wanted to know who the book’s love interest is going to be? Here you go. The one, the only... Janet Van Dyne! A love not seen since AVENGERS #224 is about to be rekindled.
• And what’s going on with Sunset Bain’s new dating app? Some of these online matches are just a little too good to be true...
- Tony Stark once again expresses his worry if he maintains his humanity after having reformatted his brain and body. Tony rebooted his brain during the events of Invincible Iron Man (Vol. 2) #8-24 and his body was reformatted in Invincible Iron Man #593.
- Tony Stark's previous romance with Janet Van Dyne lasted only for the entirety of Avengers #224. Janet broke up with Tony after he decided to reveal his secret identity as Iron Man to her, since she felt uncomfortable dating a colleague and a friend of her ex-husband Hank Pym.
- That issue's number is referenced when Jocasta is cross-referencing her memories with those of Tony, doing a query for "Avengers files 224."
- During her date with Tony, Janet talks about her return following her apparent death during the Skrull Secret Invasion. Wasp seemingly died in Secret Invasion #8 after the Skrull infiltrator Criti Noll turned her into an explosive bio-weapon with altered Pym Particles. Thor turned the energy emanated by her body back to herself, causing an explosion after which she disappeared. Janet was revealed to be alive in Avengers (Vol. 4) #32, having actually shrunk down and become trapped in the Microverse.
- Per Bethany's comments referencing her incident with Jocasta from last issue, a month has passed between that comic and this one, which roughly coincides with the real-life time span between the two issues.
- This issue includes an obituary homaging Marie Severin, a former Marvel Comics artist who died on August 30 at 89.
- Tony Stark's convertible Iron Man Armor is modeled after the Italian brand of scooters called Vespa. "Vespa" is Italian for "wasp."
- Tony and Janet's motorcycle date is a reference to Roman Holiday, in which reporter Joe Bradley takes crown princess Ann careening through Rome on a Vespa.
- During Tony and Janet's date there is a reference to the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In the movie, during a visit at the Art Institute of Chicago, the titular character and his friends, Sloane Peterson and Cameron Frye, mimic the pose of the statue of a man with his arms crossed. One of the panels of the date montage is a recreation of a shot of that scene, with Tony and Janet holding the exact same poses as Ferris and Sloane.
- Jim Rhodes expresses that his favorite films are the The Expendables, a movie series of ensemble action films that pay tribute to the blockbuster action films of the 1980s and '90s.
- When Bethany Cabe becomes suspicious of Make-A-Match.Com's dates, Baintronics's A.I.s declare the "Glass Slipper Alert," ordering their robots loot and run away. This is a reference to the folk tale Cinderella. In the story, the eponymous protagonist loses a glass slipper in her haste to run away from a ball.
- When Andy Bhang confronts his date Jin to stop her from getting away, he blocks an exit and tells her, "You shall not pass," referencing Gandalf's famous quote from the film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. Andy previously referenced Tolkien's works in Tony Stark: Iron Man #1.
- A pillow in the couch where Tony and Janet are sitting has a pattern featuring the face of a cartoony Iron Man that appeared in the Cartoon Corner of eScape in Tony Stark: Iron Man #2.