Quote1.png I have to accept that you're gone. And if I can't save you, then I have to save the world from what you've become. I bought one of the largest media companies on Earth from under you. I'll use it to sink your drug, Extremis, and I will show the world the monster you've become. They will all know your imperfections, Tony. You won't be their messiah anymore. Your zealots, so blind to the truth. I will open their eyes. Whatever you do from now on, you will do it without admiration, without those who once respected you. You will do it without your friends. You might still manage to force your arrogant vision onto the world. But you will do so broken, unloved... And completely alone. Quote2.png
-- Pepper Potts src

 

Early Life

Virginia Potts, called "Pepper" because of her freckles and red hair, was working for Stark Industries when she spotted an accounting error. She raced to let Tony Stark know. Having saved the company a large amount of money, Stark promoted her to be his personal assistant.[citation needed]

Happy Hogan

Pepper became infatuated with Stark, but things changed when Happy Hogan was hired as Tony's new body guard. The bickering between Pepper and Happy began almost immediately. Although they bickered, Hogan confessed an attraction to her, who rebuffed him saying she was saving herself to be the future Mrs. Tony Stark. Spotting Jack Frost breaking in nearby, Pepper Potts used the telephone to warn Stark.[4]

Pepper was present when the Crimson Dynamo sabotaged a test launch of a new Stark-developed missile[5] and again when the Melter attacked Stark Industries, melting through a crane holding a large boulder above a crowd of bystanders that included Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts.[6]

She continued working for Stark, delivering the news to Tony that one of his business associates, steel tycoon Charleton Carter, had backed out of a deal. She was extremely unhappy when Tony pretended to ask her out on a date as a cover to change into his Iron Man suit, leaving her behind in a locked room instead.[7]

Pepper still tried impressing Stark. But when she desperately needed to take someone to an employee's dinner, she reluctantly called Happy, who assumed it was a sign that Pepper really liked him.[8]

Tony at first encouraged their relation, giving them Broadway tickets to go on another date.[9] But Pepper did eventually manage to go on a date with Tony.[10]

When the Unicorn attacked Stark Industries Pepper was taken prisoner but was saved by Iron Man. After the fight, Tony and Pepper went to visit Happy who had been injured by the Unicorn. During their visit, Tony wondered if Pepper's niceties to Happy were to make him jealous or if they are genuine.[11]

At Happy's request, Tony suggested to Pepper that she and Happy go on another date. Pepper jumped to the conclusion that Stark wanted to go out on a date with her instead. Stark took Pepper out to a fair which featured an archer named Hawkeye. After stopping a crime at the fair, Tony lost out on another chance at a date with Pepper when Happy beat him to the punch.[12]

Their relation intensified, with Happy and Pepper eventually eloping and getting married. Pepper became worried about his standing in for Iron Man on several occasions, which often caused him severe injuries[13] and caused his transformation into the freak.[14] Pepper made him swear never to put the Iron Man Armor on again.[15] Fearing that they would always be dragged into Iron Man's battles as long as they were near him, she quit her position with Stark International and took Happy to a clinic near Chicago to heal.[16]

When Iron Man was almost frozen to death by the Blizzard,[17] Pepper saved his life by reenergizing his armor.[18]

Pepper supported Happy in all of his odd jobs, but they never seemed to last. The couple eventually decided to adopt children. While Stark was presumed dead, Pepper and Happy divorced. Although the reasons have not been admitted, she apparently had an affair with a former college boyfriend.[citation needed]

After Stark's return both worked with him at Stark Solutions in Seattle. Pepper would keep constant contact with Iron Man, relaying information such as news feeds. The two seemed to becoming closer, which did not help Happy's feelings of self-doubt.[citation needed]

Stark entrusted Pepper with a special remote that could shut him down. However, Pepper was tortured and was forced to hand it over. The trauma lead to her miscarrying. Iron Man was able to deal with the remote, but felt guilty that he had placed her in such danger. Pepper and Happy soon after reconciled.[citation needed]

Virginia Potts (Earth-616) 0001.jpg

Clarence Ward murdered a number of Stark executives at a board meeting. He had stolen an Iron Man armor from Edgewood Arsenal and was trying to frame Stark (whose identity as Iron Man was public at this time). Pepper and Happy were on an elevator when he attacked (unknowingly saved by the real Stark who called to say something odd was happening and they should be careful), and were thus able to escape. She activated a fail-safe disabling Iron Man armors worldwide.

The Order

After Happy's death, Pepper was placed in charge of the Order by Stark where she took on the name of Hera and used advanced computer-hardware and prosthetics to monitor and coordinate the team's missions. Upon the absorption of the Order into the Initiative, Tony Stark offered her a job on the special-projects team at Stark Enterprises, which she accepts.[citation needed]

Rescue

Pepper was again working with Stark at an office function for the new Stark Dynamics in Taipei. Ezekiel Stane's destruction of the building left her critically injured, most notably the presence of shrapnel near her heart. Rand Corporation bionics based on Stark's pacemaker-chestplate design were surgically implanted.[19]

Rescue, Iron Man and War Machine

When Norman Osborn began to have his H.A.M.M.E.R. agents storm every Stark Industries building in the world to prevent Tony from receiving any assistance, Pepper escaped after finding a suit of armor specifically designed for her. When Osborn issues an arrest warrant for Tony and sends teams to seize all Stark Industries facilities, Pepper uses this suit to escape just before she herself is arrested. It was later revealed that Pepper's suit contained an AI version of Jarvis to assist her and answer questions, and it was ideally suited to her biology and cybernetic enhancements.[20]

Since then Pepper has been serving as an occasional superhero under the name Rescue, even engaging in highly dangerous situations such as fighting Mokk the Breaker of Stone in the battered streets of Paris, France when Tony Stark was made unavailable.[21] She gradually gained more confidence in superhero work, and often assisted Iron Man and War Machine in defending Stark Resilient against Detroit Steel Corps. After Tony's recent disappearance, she often comes to the rescue in various regional attacks, bringing her in conflict with the new Iron Man.[citation needed]

After J.A.R.V.I.S. had revealed that it developed romantic feelings for Pepper, it kidnapped her to keep her away from super heroic duties, but it was deactivated by the new Iron Man, and finally destroyed by Pepper Potts in Resilient's factory along with Potts' Rescue armor, thus leaving her heroic alter-ego behind.

She helped Bethany Cabe reunite the heroes from the Dynasty and the Triumph Division to rescue Tony Stark from the Mandarin.[22]

The Rings of the Mandarin

While Tony was on a journey through space, Pepper became acquainted with a freelance P.R. and marketing expert called Marc Kumar at a party in Las Vegas. They grew closer together and dated for months before Marc proposed to Pepper.[23] From the stories he heard about Tony from Pepper, Marc became under the impression that he treated her badly, and grew secretly resentful of him.[24]

After returning from space, Tony found out about Pepper's engagement,[25] and she suggested to hire Marc to help with the publicization of his latest undertaking, a futuristic city named Troy. Pepper was also involved directly with Troy since Tony requested Resilient's help in building it. Upon Tony's return to Earth, Pepper became the first person to whom he confided the discovery that he was adopted, as well as the existence of Arno Stark, Tony's secret brother and the true blood son of Howard and Maria Stark.[26]

During this time, the construction of Troy was opposed by a group of terrorists powered by each of the Mandarin's Rings. Due to his secret hatred for Stark, Marc was sought by the Mento-Intensifier Ring, and he became the illusion-caster Liar. Following the defeat of the Mandarins, Marc was taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. high-security hospital. Pepper visited Marc to break up with him and rebuff his perception of Tony, arguing that even though Stark had treated her badly, at most times he didn't.[24]

Virginia Potts (Earth-616) from Superior Iron Man Vol 1 6 001.jpg

Superior Iron Man

After the events of the World War Hate, Tony's moral compass was inverted, turning him into an egotistical version of himself who also started drinking again. Pepper tried to talk sense into Tony, to no avail. As part of a years-old contingency plan, Pepper activated a digital copy of Stark's mind.[27] Pepper lured the real Tony Stark to the New York HQ of Resilient in order to allow the Tony A.I. to get to Stark and try to fix him.[28] The Tony A.I. took Stark to the Resilient Space Station, while Pepper secured Stark's protégée, Jamie.[29] The digital Tony's attempt to revert the real Tony back to normal failed, and Stark returned to Earth. A few hours later, Stark called out his digital counterpart to Stark Island. Countless of Iron Man suits were controlled by the Tony A.I. when he heeded the call.[30]

After the digital Tony Stark confronted the real Tony Stark, Pepper arrived in a new Rescue armor the digital Tony had built and used sonic attacks to weaken Stark's symbiote-based armor, and took an unconscious Stark back to New York. Stark's defeat had been a ruse, as his armor was actually protected against sonic attacks, and he allowed himself to be taken to Resilient's HQ solely because the digital Stark was housed there. Tony used a virus stored in a USB drive to delete and later destroy his digital copy. Pepper ultimately gave up on Tony, recognizing she had failed to rescue him from his worst nightmare, himself. However, Pepper swore to use one of the largest media companies on Earth Resilient had bought to discredit Stark and ensure he wouldn't have his own way without consequences.[31]

Meeting Ironheart

Following the second superhuman civil war and Tony Stark's fall into a coma during battle, Pepper started investigating Riri Williams, Tony's protégée who had taken up his mantle as an armored superhero. As Rescue, Pepper approached Riri in her hometown of Chicago. As Pepper was trying to offer Riri advice, both were attacked by the Techno Golem and her clan of biohack ninja, and stripped of their suits in the process.[32] Pepper held off the ninja while Riri sought a way to turn the tide of the battle.[33] Pepper was being held at gunpoint when Riri tricked the Techno Golem into absorbing a remotely-controlled Iron Man Armor which delivered a virus that shut down her technokinesis. Pepper then fired a gauntlet of her armor at Tomoe's head, knocking her out. Both Riri and Pepper were reunited with their armors as S.H.I.E.L.D. arrived to arrest Tomoe and the ninja. Before parting ways, Rescue offered Riri her support.[34]

Not long afterwards, Hydra took over the United States. Rescue became a member of a contingent of superheroes and civilians that opposed the new regime called the Underground.[35] The Underground was eventually successful in opposing Hydra, and their regime fell.[36]

Robot Revolution

Following Tony Stark's return from his coma, he established a new conglomerate named Stark Unlimited under which he absored other Stark companies and turned them into subsidiaries. This merging included Resilient, which became Stark Resilient once again.[37] In the wake of a robot revolution, Tony was delegitimized as a person because he had undergone a procedure that artificially rebuilt his body from scratch to wake from his coma.[38] Becoming one of the lead fighters for A.I. rights, Tony spearheaded the A.I. Army against the oppression efforts of his brother Arno, who had seized Tony's assets from him, including the mantle of Iron Man.[39]

After Tony fell in battle against Arno, Pepper donned a new Rescue Armor to search the world for Tony's birth parents, Amanda Armstrong and Jude, with the objective to acquire samples of their DNA and use them to rebuild Tony's body.[40] Pepper was successful in her quest, and Tony's allies managed to restore his body. Afterwards, Rescue joined Tony and his allies in confronting Arno at the Stark Space Station,[41] resulting in his defeat and Tony's reclaim of his life.[42]

Power Grid [49]
Intelligence
 2
Strength*
 2
Speed*
 2
Durability*
 2
Energy Projection*
 1
Fighting Skills
 2
* Higher ratings when armored

Powers

R.T. node: Thanks to the Repulsor Tech node implanted in her chest, which is linked to her brain, Pepper is able to interact with different types of energies and forces a normal human can't. The R.T. node acts like a new sense for its user.[43] It enhances the metabolism, core strength, reaction time, reflexes and intelligence up to 25-30 IQ points.[44]

  • Energy Emanation: The R.T. node not only provides repulsor energy to run devices such as the Iron Man Armor, its user can produce beams of energy at will, possibly weaker and less directed than the Uni-Beam.[45]
  • Electrical Fields Detection: As the R.T. node is connected to Pepper, she can feel different electrical fields that the Reactor is picking up. This includes all kinds of invisible frequencies.[43]
  • Magnetic Force-Field: The R.T. node creates a force-field which can be modified at will by its user by gradually increasing increments of the power from the Reactor. It is powerful enough to destroy bullets or repel people. It can also surpass an electromagnetic field generated by Electro.[46]
    • Levitation: The magnetic force-field generated by the Reactor can interfere with the ones created by the planet and cause levitation. It's unknown if this interaction can be used to fly.[43]
  • Enhanced Senses: The reactor also increases the senses of its user, allowing Pepper to "hear better" for example.[43]
  • Enhanced Strength: The R.T. node allows its possessor to have increased strength.[43]
  • Regenerative Durability: It has been shown that a user of an R.T. node not only recovers incredibly fast from different types of injuries,[43] but also resists more physical damage than an average human.

Rescue Armor

Pepper's newest Rescue armor granted her superhuman strength, durability and flight. Similarly to past models, the suit had no direct offensive weaponry except sonic attacks.[31]

Previous models of the Rescue Armor used the electromagnetic effect of the repulsor generators as a very versatile tool to both attack and defend while in combat. The previous suits also had an A.I. called J.A.R.V.I.S. to assist her and answer every question she asks.

Abilities

Despite her lack of training in hand-to-hand combat, she can definitely hold her own in battle as Rescue.


Equipment

Rescue Armor Model 1; formerly Rescue Armor Model 2, Rescue Armor Model 3

  • In her introductory panel in Tales of Suspense #45, Pepper is mistakenly introduced as "Kitty" despite the cover and further dialogue using "Pepper." This error was corrected in reprints and the digital remaster of the issue.
  • Pepper was once gifted a car by Tony Stark with the licence plate STARK 2.[47]

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Footnotes



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