Appearing in "What If Iron Man Went Public?"
- Uatu the Watcher
- War Machine
- Nick Fury
- J. Jonah Jameson
- Jack O' Lantern
- Spymaster (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Doom
- Iron Guard
- Captain America (Mentioned)
- Frank Castle
- Maria Castle
- Lisa Castle
- Frank Castle, Jr.
- Fantastic Four
- United Nations
Synopsis for "What If Iron Man Went Public?"
After Tony Stark created the Iron Man armor, he went ahead and patented the technology, causing a boom in advancement. Unfortunately, it caused many consequences, such as other countries having Iron Man armories, supervillains as well as superheroes getting their hands on his technology (Dr. Doom for example used the Iron Man technology to kill the Fantastic Four), and non tech-based heroes such as Spider-Man and Dr. Strange retired or moved away. The age of heroes is effectively over. Even worse, with the Iron Man technology, stronger and better Sentinels were created which nearly wipe out mutantkind.
Tony slowly became a recluse, labafraid for his life and always hidden away in armor when making one of his rare public apperances. Regretting what he has brought the world, he secretly works on new tech to stay ahead of the rest. At the United Nations, several delegates discuss the threat of this rising arms race that Tony has caused. Then the wall collapses and Magneto comes in. He agrees, stating that he’s taking responsibility of all mutants whether they want it or not. These iron-based enhancements are ruining mutantkind, but they’re nothing to someone who controls magnetism. To prove his point, he twists and tears apart several Iron Guard soldiers. If they don’t stray from this destructive path of doomsday technology, then Magneto will stop it for them.
We see several reactions as this news spreads. Jameson laughs at how Spider-Man probably saw this coming and retired to avoid it. He turns around to see that Parker has already left the room. Jim Rhodes ignores the news and focuses on tracking down Tony. Tony also hears about the threat, and realizes Magneto and his powers are the answer to his problem. He sets out to confront the mutant with a new, giant Iron Man mecha made completely out of polymers so Magneto's powers won't work on it.
Spider-Man meanwhile meets with Dr. Strange to convince him the superheroes need to return. Using the Orb of Agamotto, the two see the whereabouts of their peers. But Strange finds they will be met with reluctance. Matt Murdock and his wife Elektra are enjoying their life in Greece. Thor rules Asgard in his father’s place. Hank Pym and Wasp have gone back to science, leaving their hero lives behind. Peter doesn’t care. He knows that Strange came back because he knows something bad is coming. If Strange can see the light, so can the rest.
In light of Magneto’s threat, the government has put more of the country’s money into Sentinel technology to eradicate the mutant menace. This causes a riot to erupt between anti-Sentinel protesters and anti-mutant protesters. This is all interrupted once Magneto and his Acolytes appear before everyone. Magneto believes that if this is how humans react to his ultimatum, then they do not deserve to live. His Acolytes easily destroy any and all Iron Guards in the area. What remains of the X-Men, led by Cyclops, show themselves to confront Magneto. Because of the technologically-advanced Sentinels in this reality, many of the X-Men have died, including Xavier. With all the dead teammates, it’s no wonder Cannonball has already changed sides and is now loyal to Magneto. The X-Men and the Acolytes battle, but it’s very one-sided. Cortez uses his power to amplify other mutant’s powers and makes Gambit explode. Magneto pulls the team together, then causes several planes to nose-dive onto them. He finishes off Maverick by impaling him with a steel beam. Cyclops, dying, is brought in front of Magneto and promises that others will stop him. He is proven right when Thor, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Elektra, Hank Pym and Wasp rush in and take down Magneto’s Acolytes. Thor takes the fight straight to Magneto while Iron Man also approaches. For a second, Tony stops and watches Thor fight Magneto. War Machine attacks again and does enough damage to Overload Iron Man’s invisibility that Thor can see him. Seeing this giant distracts him enough that Magneto forces tons upon tons of rubble onto him. Thor’s out of the game.
Spider-Man webs up his face and strikes. Daredevil and Elektra also jump into the melee. As Tony powers up his gigantic suit of armor, he is in awe that these three are going up against a guy who outclasses all three put together and they aren’t close to backing down. War Machine figures that he’ll get nowhere with physically attacking Iron Man, so he instead grabs onto the outer armor and refuses to move. Through his thoughts, we find out what Tony’s big plan is. He’s going to absorb all of Magneto’s magnetic energy, cause his Overload armor to explode, send the energy to a series of satellites, and have it wash over the entire planet. All Stark tech will become useless.This also means that all technology will be useless and the world will be in a new dark age.
Iron Man manages to capture Magneto, but Thor manages to convince him no to kill the villain. He claims Stark can make up for what he has done by being a hero, to which Tony agrees.For a while after that, Tony Stark has no plans to leave his armor. He and Jim Rhodes force the government to halt Sentinel production and use their funds for more helpful technology. The rest of the world soon follows suit. Of course, if they don’t, then Tony will be forced to use Overload Iron Man to put an end to technology. The story ends with the remaining heroes forming a new Avengers team.
- The present-day of the story takes place in November 16, 1982. Additionally on this Earth, Tony Stark became Iron Man during the time of the Vietnam War, similarly to when Tony Stark of Earth-616 did, but wasn't affected by the Sliding Timescale.
- The specific point in time when history changed is not outright stated, but Uatu showed that Tony made his decision to patent the armor technology while wearing a red chestplate, and later Uatu also described Captain America as "a legend who remained a page in the history books". This means the the events of Avengers #3 and Avengers #4 (where Namor's battle against the Avengers led to the revival of Captain America) never happened. Avengers #3 makes reference to Tales of Suspense #49, which means that Tony's decision to patent may have happened anywhere between the end of Tales of Suspense #48 (where he began wearing an armor with a red chestplate) to Tales of Suspense #49.
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