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Quote1 It's launch day. I'm gonna have my hands full over here. Quote2
-- Iron Man

Appearing in "Stark Realities: Part One - The Rollout"

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Synopsis for "Stark Realities: Part One - The Rollout"

Brief Summary

It's launch day for the eScape. After stopping the Raiders from stealing a truck full of eScape merchandise, Iron Man returns to Stark Unlimited HQ to analyse an anomaly in the virtual program; thousands of users across the globe are getting booted from the system every minute.

The Controller commands Bethany Cabe to give him access to every problematic user with a flagged interface. However, she notices she blacked out and draws a connection between her blackouts and the security issues in Stark Unlimited.

Amanda Armstrong follows Iron Man into the eScape to confront him about his aloofness towards her since she feel they haven't had the time to connect ever since they met. They are interrupted when the enforcer program of the eScape's terms and services Arsenal goes rogue and shuts off Amanda, causing her harm in real life. At the same time, all of the eScape's problematic and toxic users are re-instated by the Controller, threatening the safety of the users of the virtual world since now people can somehow feel pain from experiences within the eScape.

Detailed Summary

At Amanda Armstrong's apartment, Andy Bhang approaches her at the balcony and handles her coffee. Andy catches her lost in thought, and Amanda explains that she's unsure about her place in the life of her son Tony, explaining that she feels like they're not connecting because Tony fell into a coma after they met, and ever since his return he has thrown himself into the all-consuming project that is the eScape.

On the streets, a news correspondent covers a massive queue waiting for the release of the eScape interface, explaining the hype surrounding Stark Unlimited's latest invention, resulting in a demand for restock. She takes it to a live call with Tony Stark, who ensures customers that his company is working hard to appease the demand. Stark apologizes to cut the call short and warns Jim Rhodes of an upcoming attack. Iron Man, Wasp and Rhodey are fighting the Raiders in the middle of a busy highway to protect a Stark Unlimited truck filled with eScape merchandise, much to Rhodey's exasperation since he dismisses Tony's invention as a video game. Janet and Tony flirt as they take down the Raiders, and Rhodey calls their attention so they focus on the task at hand. Wasp stings one of the Raiders on his mask, causing him to fly blind into a sign. A family car crashes into the sign, but Iron Man saves them from going over, and their kid berates them for making noise while she's busy in the back seat connected to the eScape. Iron Man asks Motherboard to perform a quick bio-scan of the passengers, and while she does, she informs Tony that she's busy overseeing all current sessions on the eScape, including multiple simulations of the same hijacking scenario Tony is handling in real life.

Inside the eScape, a group of numerous players dressed as different heroes are fighting other users disguised as M.O.D.O.K.. A violent player dressed in the Silver Centurion Armor catches Motherboard's attention for his behavior and foul language. The player, named "Silvercenturion7893," dismisses Motherboard's warning, and she summons a "God-tier admin avatar;" a construct of Arsenal. Arsenal informs Silvercenturion7893 that his behavior is violating the eScape's terms of service, and attacks his avatar, terminating his session. In Livermore, California, the player, who is a teenager, tries to log back into the eScape but he's denied, causing him to become aggravated.

Elsewhere, Motherboard wakes Jocasta up from a night of sleep. Using her human avatar, she commutes to a digital version of the Stark Unlimited HQ. Jocasta then logs off the eScape, revealing she spent the night at the building's locker room. She finds herself tired and notices she neglected to charge her battery while her digital self slept. Disappointed in herself, Jocasta tries to commit to limit her use of the eScape.

Iron Man arrives at the HQ while Rhodey and Janet are finishing taking care of the Raiders with the authorities. Tony arrives at the S.U. Command Center and steps out of his armor. He orders his employees to debrief him on the eScape's current situation. Bethany Cabe expresses her disgust for the project, and Amanda tries to get Tony to make some time for her, but Tony points out the current situation at the eScape, that thousands of users are getting booted from the system every minute all over the world. He logs into the eScape to take a look, leaving Amanda hanging.

While looking at the status screen, Bethany is suddenly taken over by the Controller, who orders her to give him access to every single flagged user. Bethany snaps out of the trance shocked, and deduces the blackouts she's been experiencing are connected to the security issues and the image inducer she found in her locker. Bethany approaches Jocasta and asks her if she confiscated her image inducer after their incident in the commissary. Before she helps Bethany, an employee tells her that there's a security situation she needs to handle that involves Aaron Stack. Jocasta looks out of the window to see Aaron holding a boombox in the air playing a song she likes. He apologizes for his behavior, but Jocasta tells him to go away.

Back at the Command Center, Amanda laments to Andy that Tony is shutting her out and is in the eScape out of her reach. Andy hands her over a modified eScape interface to take her directly to Tony. On the eScape, Tony is wearing a construct of his Stealh Armor, investigating an 8-bit game-inspired area named Retro Arcadia wondering how could people get booted from such a family-friendly and secure area. An avatar of Amanda in her prime days appears to confront Tony about his aloofness. Tony tries to convince Amanda to leave, promising to talk with her later, but she refuses. Motherboard's voice announces that Amanda is failing to comply with the orders given by the "Ultimate Class Admin" and prepares to summon Arsenal on the grounds that she was causing a "Class-Five violation." Iron Man tries to stop Motherboard, but she doesn't listen to him. Arsenal arrives in the blaze of lightning and Tony tries to stop it to no avail. He pleads Amanda to log off, but she refuses. While trying to contact for help, Iron Man is slapped by Arsenal and knocked down. He's surprised the attack caused him harm. Tony warns Amanda to log off, but Arsenal gets to her first and blasts her to terminate her session. In the real world, Amanda is jolted back and begins to suffer convulsions, causing panic in the Command Center. Jocasta attempts to shut off the system to no avail. Bethany points her to the status screen, which shows that all ejected players are being re-instated.

In Livermore, "Silvercenturion7893" is trying to hack into the eScape interface, promising revenge, when the device grants him access. He logs back into the virtual world and finds himself being greeted by the Controller. The Controller tells the player that he's the kind of player he's been looking for, and offers him to get back into the eScape through the program's back door.

Solicit Synopsis

STARK REALITIES - Part 1

• Arsenal, the monstrous robot that once took on all of the Avengers, is back in an all-new way.

• Who does it serve? What are the secrets it’s guarding? And how will they rock Tony Stark’s world to its core?

• The trap that’s been building for some time has finally sprung. Iron Man fans, you do not want to miss this one!

• THE NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE!

Notes

Trivia

  • When the news correspondent is describing the eScape, one of the characters resembles Rainbow Brite, a fictional character whose current comic book published by Dynamite Entertainment is written by this issue's co-writer Jeremy Whitley.
  • When trying to win back Jocasta, Aaron Stack is playing Janelle Monáe's song "Electric Lady." He mentions that he got the idea of holding a boombox under a window from a movie moment that Jocasta found endearing. He's referencing 1989's Say Anything....
  • The Retro Arcadia zone in the eScape is based on 8-bit games. Pipes (colored magenta instead of green) and snowy hills from Super Mario Bros. 3 appear in the background. One of the walls of Retro Arcadia is the Pac-Man labyrinth (with Pac-Dots included) displayed vertically.
  • After gaining access back to the eScape, the user going by "SilverCenturion7893" makes use of Die Hard protagonist John McClane's famous line, "Yippee Ki-Yay."

See Also

Footnotes



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