Appearing in "Self-Made Man: Part Five – 20/20 Vision"
- Arno Stark (Main story and recap)
- Stark Unlimited (Referenced)
- Avengers (Referenced)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Jayden Ong (First appearance)
- Hannah (donor) (Mentioned) (Deceased)
- Giuseppe Tartini (Named only) (On-screen) (Topical reference)
- Wayne Butterfield (Only appearance; dies)
- Howard Stark (Recap)
- Maria Stark (Recap)
- Iron Man (Tony Stark) (On-screen in recap)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
- Cattle (Mentioned)
- Headless Cattle (First appearance) (Main story and recap)
- Earth (Main story and recap)
- Hell (Invoked)
- Iron Man Armor (On-screen in recap)
Synopsis for "Self-Made Man: Part Five – 20/20 Vision"
Working as part of the Maria Stark Foundation, Tony Stark's foster brother Arno travels around the world helping fix problems like contamination and cultivation, though only assisting with problems he finds interesting. He visits a farm in Montana that uses mindless genetically engineered livestock to sell "guilt-free" meat. They have encountered a problem, with each new litter resulting in a mutated bull that acts out for seemingly no reason.
After apparently fixing the issue, Arno discovers that the chip implants used on the herd actually caused them to develop a combined psychic field, allowing them to feel everything as one, and to be affected when the meat of one of their own is consumed. The livestock goes on a rampage and they kill their owner Wayne Butterfield and his employees in revenge for eating their meat. Arno survives the carnage, using meditation to blend in with the animals. Disappointed by his failure, Arno calls Baintronics for clean up. Arno meets with Sunset Bain and they have dinner to discuss a partnership.
As a red and gold helicopter flies through a city, a narration explains the intricacies of Stark Unlimited, detailing that it's a conglomerate made up of many companies. But the Maria Stark Foundation is a fully independent charitable organization outside Tony Stark's reach, ready to go anywhere and do anything to help the world. The helicopter lands surrounded by a number of expectant people, welcoming Mr. Stark to Singapore, an notifying him that a patient has already been prepared. A person exits the helicopter, revealing himself to be Arno Stark.
From an observation deck, a group of doctors muse on Arno performing a surgery. They comment that the procedure is years ahead of any known science and comment on the patient, a man named Jayden Ong who is a national treasure. Later, at a hospital room, Arno goes over the details of Ong's surgery, which was an arm transplant. Arno explains that the donor's arm was fresh and possessed the necessary attributes Ong needs, despite Ong's reticence for the arm not matching his skin colour or gender. Ong is surprised to see that he can already move the arm, and Arno hands him over a violin, pointing out that he didn't come halfway around the world to save his arm, but his music.
Later on, Arno sits on a couch writing an e-mail to his brother Tony. He attaches an audio file of Ong performing with his new arm, explaining that it comes from a pastry chef who had recently passed away in an automobile accident. Fastforward to Arno caressing a wheat field in the middle of the Sahara. An accompanying message has Arno apologize to Tony for taking so long to write again, since he finds it hard to focus on the past when he wants to see and explore the world. From a distance, a group of men observe in amazement at Stark's creation, a new strain of wheat that can grow in the desert. One of the observers comments that they should expand the site, and brushes off another man's suggestion to wait for Stark's instructions. Arno is next diving in a loch, releasing the contents of his underwater scooter; a swarm of artificially engineered bacteria that only consumes man-made garbage in order to clear the waters. Arno emerges from the water, and a group of people aboard a boat are surprised by the bacteria's instantaneous effect. Arno warns them that it's a one-time solution, and they promise to do their part to keep it clean.
Leaning on his boat's railing, Arno interacts with a hologram of the globe that displays many red markers. An accompanying message has him tell Tony that now that he's out of captivity, he feels a rush to use his genius to make the world a better place going where he can do most good. However, he's disregarding many of the markers as boring until one in Montana catches his attention. He starts a video call with a rancher named Wayne Butterfield, and has him elaborate on his specialization on a "guilt-free beef." Butterfield explains he has his own breed of genetically engineered livestock that makes it humane to raise and eat it, however they've been losing bulls every day without explanation. After Butterfield shows Arno what he means that he has no heads of cattle, Arno expresses his attention has been caught.
Arno is next at Butterfield's farm, admiring Butterfield's "headless cattle" which are cows with no ears or eyes, only lumps covering most of their head. Butterfield explains they have been genetically engineered to have no brain, possessing no higher cognitive functions. Just as Arno inquires Butterfield about the problem, a bull goes on a rampage. Two farmhands kill it using electric cattle prods while Butterfield tells Arno that with every new litter, they've gotten one bull that acts out for no discernible reason. Arno asks Butterfield to let him study the whole process of cattle engineering.
Arno is taken to a cloning facility, where he's explained that they regularly cycle in new, screened genetic stock. The cloned calves possess no cellular degeneration and their meat is perfectly healthy. Arno observes a calf exiting the artificial womb and notices how the calf can already stand. Arno is later taken to the rogue bull and uses special glasses to perform a deep-tissue scan without dissecting the specimen. Arno asks the worked to call Butterfield and ask him why has he been lying to him.
Butterfield joins Arno at a laboratory workstation, and Stark confronts him about the cattle actually having small, vestigial brains. Butterfield explains that they need enough brain so they can perform autonomic biological functions. He elaborates that they still need to implant small computer chips to help regulate bodily functions. They both approach the cowshed and Arno sprays the livestock with a gas he states should keep them docile for some time without affecting humans since it wouldn't have effect on beings with higher brain functions.
Arno is invited to dinner, and as they prepare to eat, he ponders on something he feels he's missing. Butterfield suggests him to eat and sleep to help him. Arno interjects, pointing out that he doesn't sleep, having hacked his own biology so that he doesn't need to rest. Butterfield's words make Arno think back to the rogue bull, and he asks why do the cattle prods work on the animals if they don't feel pain. Butterfield explains they can feel it, but don't understand it because they don't think like humans do. Arno wonders if feeling pain is all the cattle can do. Exalted, Arno asks Butterfield if the chips they put on the bull's brian stems are connected to his Wi-Fi. Butterfield tells him that they are, so that the ranch can keep track of the herd on all their devices. Arno glances at a steak and asks the cook to estimate how long did it take to prepare the meat. He replies that it must have taken him two hours. Arno recalls that was around the time the bull went rogue, and lets out an "Oh no."
As the people in the table start to prick, cut, and chew on the steaks, the herd starts acting out and the bulls stampede out of the barn. The people at the table notice the turmoil. Arno expresses that he has made a grave error and explains that the bulls are connected and possess higher brain functions as a herd. The stampede reaches the dining room and viciously attack Butterfield's workers. Arno points that they're not a simple stampede; they're having revenge on everyone who has eaten their meat. Butterfield panics and demands that Arno comes up with a solution. Arno states that he has an idea how to survive, and elaborates that the herd developed a combined psychic field and they feel everything as one. He deduces that they won't trample their own, and controls his body to sync up with them. Desperately, Butterfield tells Arno that he doesn't know how to do any of that, and Stark clarifies that he meant to say that he had come up with a way to survive on his own. Arno closes his eyes calmly as Butterfield's blood spatters.
Arno proceeds to walk between the carnage, meditating to reach the part of himself that is only flesh and bone. He draws parallels between the genetically altered livestock and his own origin, regarding himself as a reject, spending years as a mind encased in a useless body while his foster brother, the "prized stud," roamed free. Arno catches himself thinking about Tony and snaps out of the trance, finding himself away from the house. Disappointed in his failure, Arno determines that he needs to sweep this incident under the rug.
The next morning, an army of Baintronics Inc. are bagging the bodies and prepare to burn down everything. Arno prevents the soldiers to kill the livestock, and he's approached by Sunset Bain. She asks Arno why didn't he call Tony. He explains that he's been following Tony's most recent adventures and his run-ins with you, and admires her ability to get away with it. Arno wonders what does he owe Sunset, and she asks for dinner.
Some time later, having contacted Tony again with vague updates, Arno is preparing for dinner and answers several calls. First he's contacted by the Scottish ecologists he assisted in the loch. A woman thanks Arno for his help and informs him that they've taken his advice to heart and launched green initiatives throughout the country to complement Arno's help. The next call has the men from the Sahara alert Arno that the crops are failing because they planted more fields. Arno explains that the crops are robbing each other of what little moisture there was, and refuses to help revert the situation. The next call is from Mr. Ong, notifying Arno that at night while he sleeps, his new hand writes things down on his sheet music like "Where am I?" and "Why did you do this to me?" Arno points out that Ong never wondered how did they find the perfect donor at the right time. He reveals the donor is a woman named Hannah, who was in the car Ong crashed into while he was texting. Arno suggests him to play to appease her. Arno uses Ong's music as a backdrop for his date with Sunset and they prepare to discuss their partnership. Before they begin, Sunset warns Arno that she already had dinner with Tony and has seen everything he can bring to the table. Arno distances himself from his brother, telling her that he never rests and no matter what happens, keeps moving forward. They both have a toast to the future. An accompanying message has Arno tell Tony they'll see each other soon.
• The future has arrived!
• The return of Tony Stark’s smarter brother, Arno.
• A classic Iron Man villain reappears.
• And a new alliance is forged that will plague Shell-Head for years to come.
- This issue addresses the status of some of the incarnations of Tony Stark's company, revealing they have now become subsidiaries of Stark Unlimited.
- Stark Solutions was established in Iron Man Vol 3 #1, but Stark sold off its assets in Iron Man Vol 3 #37-41. Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 had already revealed Stark Solutions' status as a subsidiary of Stark Unlimited.
- Stark Resilient was founded in Invincible Iron Man Vol 2 #26. Tony turned control of the company over to Pepper Potts in Invincible Iron Man #519 and it had dropped "Stark" from its name.
- Stark International, also known as Stark Industries and Stark Enterprises, was Tony Stark's latest company, featured in Invincible Iron Man Vol 3, Invincible Iron Man Vol 4 and Invincible Iron Man #593-600. Tony took control back of this company in Invincible Iron Man #600 after its Chairman of the Board, Eric Lynch, had successfully performed an hostile takeover.
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- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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