Hey everyone, welcome back for this week’s Marvel Breakdown! We have seen a lot of stuff up to this point, but we have only seen bits and pieces of Tony Stark until now, although he has at least been mentioned in every comic.
So quick back story on Tony Stark, up to now that I think you are going to need if you are not familiar with the line up to this point. Tony and Rhodes died. However, Tony was able to re-engineer their bodies so now they are very much living again. Tony has also learned that he is adopted with the famous rocker and SHIELD agent, Amanda Armstrong being is mother.
Anyway, let’s jump into this volume which starts 25 years ago as a young robotic engineer is horribly beaten in Robot Soccer by none other than a young Tony Stark. Fast Forward to the present, Tony seeks out his opponent Andy Bhang for help with a program he has written that allows for his robots to work together on a list of tasks in the most efficient way.
At Stark Unlimited we are introduced to some important people that we will see throughout the entire volume. Bethany Cabe is the head of security and Jocasta Pym. Jocasta’s backstory is a little complicated if you are picking up from the point I did for reviews. She was created by Ultron. Yes, Ultron to be his bride and based on Janet Van Dyne, Hank Pym’s wife at the time. In the comics it is actually Hank Pym that creates Ultron and not Tony Stark. After the defeat of Ultron, Jocasta works with Tony and stands up for AI rights. She is also the head of the Robotics department and Andy’s new boss. When showing him the lab, Andy get a better understand of what Tony’s wants with his programing. We have seen this in the movies, where all the Iron Man suits can work together as a team on tasks efficiently. The task given to Andy is to make them decorate for a party, which goes horribly wrong.
Right as that is going wrong and an alarm Is sounded for an 3F level event, 3F= Fing Fang Foom. We have seen him before since I have been reviewing in the issue of Thor Vol 1.: God of Thunder Reborn. Here he is attacking on his own and unprovoked which seems weird to Tony. Tony fights him with the Fing Gang Foom buster, his normal suit and a Nanite version. He also needs the help of Andy with his mind protocol so he can dispatch several nanites that can work together. Andy though relives that Tony already figured this out in their first meeting, they need a beat. So, while playing music the nanites help Tony discover that FFF is being mind controlled and remove the mind control device.
When Tony returns to Stark Unlimited, Cane lets him know that they have had another security breach, something that has been happening for a while. It seems someone is stealing Stark information. At the start of Issue #2 we see that the thief is Bethany herself but she herself is also being mind-controlled by the Controller. His wants the codes for a project that Stark is working on called The Escape.
Also, in this issue we explore more with Rhodie and his PTSD after dying in the War Machine Suit. He has bad dreams and even talks With Tony about not wanting to mess up this chance at life.
With Jocasta, Tony expresses his need for an AI in his suit since he released his last AI FRIDAY for her to have a body of her own. Their solution is to patch in the AI they developed for The Escape called MOTHERBOARD. Jocasta talks about what it was like being trapped in the suit, which is something that Rhodes can relate to now.
After Andy discovers the identity of Tony’s real mom, his idol Amanda Armstrong, Bethany calls a staff meeting to talk about the latest breach and her findings. Tony’s competitor Baintronics has stolen his work and used it to make a weapon vehicle they call Manticore.
Tony immediately rushes there when learning that they are planning to auction it off today, however he ends up being a target for this weapon along with another weapon, Sgt. Joseph Green, The Gauntlet.
Rhodes ends up abandoning his suit when having to fight the Manticore after having another PTSD episode, but this leaves Tony trapped in the grasp of Sgt. Green. Tony realizes though that because this is his tech, he should be able to communicate with it and from there ejects the driver of the Manticore. Rhodes then takes over feeling more like he is in control as a pilot instead of the constricting suit.
After the fight Tony and Brain end up discussing terms since he wants the Manticore, so Bain essentially gets off free. Although, after Tony and Rhodes talk about their PTSD and Tony admits to him that he thinks that he came back wrong when re-engineering himself.
Meanwhile, at Stark Unlimited, Jocasta goes to lunch disguised as a human wanting to fit in better but Bethany, who is on high alert, attacks her. Jocasta then leaves to go home where she tells her boyfriend Aaron Stack, Machine Man that she is thinking about taking part in Tony’s The Escape. Machine Man get pretty upset about it.
In Issue #3 The Escape is put to the test with the help of Jocasta although Machine Man, again makes it know that he is very against this. He feels that “flesh bags” should leave the AI world alone. When testing later though we see that, Aaron attacks it.
In a flashback to the night before, we see that Aaron is giving on of the masks needed to access the AI world by an AI that is too outdated to enter, this robot though is only Bethany Cane disguised.
Adam makes pretty quick work of destroying The Escape and removing all but one tester until he runs into AI version of Doctor Strange, The Source-Coder Supreme. He recognizes this as Tony Stark and grabs him trapping him in the AI world. However, this last tester kills herself to end the test. The last player is of course Jocasta who then breaks up with Aaron.
Later Tony confesses to Jo what he told Rhodes the night before, that with his rebooted and backed up mind along with his re-engineered body, does he still have a soul? Jo tells him that she believes that she has one and then at the start of Issue #4 we see them testing this idea. Something else getting tested this issue? Love. A new dating app has emerged, and it seems that everyone is matched and bring their love to work making a security nightmare. Even Tony finds love, but with an old flame Janet Van Dyne. Tony asked her to come to test a theory with his “not having a soul” issue.
While taking Janet on a date, things getting interesting back at SU. All these people that have been matched with Stark employees turn out to be robots sent here to steal from Stark. Bethany calls Tony and him and Janet head back to help. After and interesting fight that involves robots with hive minds that use image inducers to pretend to be Stark employees. the situation is resolved when Tony makes a dating profile that the robots can’t refuse. It turns out that the dating app was made by Baintonics, but they say that the program was sabotaged.
Andy and Amanda decide to give the dating another try, as does Tony and Janet. Bethany though finds it strange that there was an image inducer in her locker.
In issue #5 we go in a different direction with Tony’s brother Arno. Arno is the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark but was very sickly and confined to a bed most of his life and forced to see the accomplishments of his adoptive brother Tony. Now he is out in the world and make a difference.
He starts with giving a famous musician an arm transplant that is able to be used right away. He then develops a grain that will grow in the desert and a bacterium that eats trash to provide clean bodies of water. Things get complicated in Montana when he is called for help with genetically modified cattle. Apparently, these were created to provide worry-free beef. Since the cow have no brains then they do not feel pain, they are essentially walking meat. The issue arises when some of the cattle begin to exhibit weird behavior, like attacking.
Arno then investigates the process that goes into the making of the cattle and discovers that these animals do have a brain. Mr. Butterfield explains that the brain they have is only for basic function and even then, they have a ship installed to help. It isn’t until they are sitting down to eat that Arno realizes that the cattle aren’t free from pain, they are always in pain so they do act differently to pain stimuli, and that the cows actually do have higher brain function because their minds are all connected. When Arno then asks the chef when the last cow was slaughtered it lines up with when the cattle acted wild before. As the people eat the cattle this agitates them into a stampede killing anyone that has eaten the cattle. Arno is able to survive by clearing his mind making the cattle think that he is one of them. (Yes, this is a super weird one guys)
For clean up, he calls in Bain instead of his brother and he works out a partnership with her. In calls he takes we find out that the project he was working on before are not working or have issues and he is unwilling to correct them. Like the desert crop is failing because they planted more. There is also the arm transplant has a mind of its own, it is also the other person in the car accident with the musician. In the last frame of the volume we see that he is planning on seeing Tony soon.
Next week I will be breaking down ‘The Life of Captain Marvel”
This Volume gets a little…weird. I really enjoyed most parts of it but then some of it (killer date robots and hive minded killing cattle) get a little out there. I am interested to go more down the Arno path, I think that will be an interesting arc for Tony. I am also interested to see the Controller exposed and taken down.
Where to Buy:
Tony Stark: Iron Man Vol. 1: Self-Made Man: https://amzn.to/2UaOAv2
The Life of Captain Marvel: https://amzn.to/2ztlI7M
Read All of My Marvel Breakdowns!
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- The Mighty Thor: At the Gate of Valhalla #1 Breakdown!
- Quicksilver: No Surrender Vol 1. Breakdown!
- Immortal Hulk Vol. 1: Or is He Both? Breakdown!
- Doctor Strange Vol. 1: Across the Universe Breakdown!
- Thor Vol. 1: God of Thunder Reborn!
- Ant-Man and The Wasp: Lost and Found Breakdown and Review!
- Captain America Vol. 1: Winter in America Breakdown and Review!
- ‘The Life of Captain Marvel’ Breakdown and Review!
- The Unstoppable Wasp Vol. 1: Unstoppable! Breakdown and Review!
- West Coast Avengers Vol 1. Best Coast Breakdown and Review!
- Black Panther Book 6: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda Part 1 Breakdown and Review
- Wakanda Forever Graphic Novel Breakdown and Review!