Anthony Stark, son of industrialist and inventor Howard Stark, demonstrated his mechanical aptitude and extraordinary inventive genius at a very early age, enrolling in the undergraduate electrical engineering program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 15. Double majors in physics and engineering were easy for him. When he was 21, he inherited his father's business, Stark Industries, and within a few years turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry complex whose chief contracts were for weaponry and munitions for the U.S. government.
Inventing the Armor
Stark went to Vietnam (recently changed to the Persian Gulf) to supervise a field test for one of his transistorized weapons. He ignored concerns that security was insufficient. Stark tripped on a booby trap and a piece of shrapnel was lodged in his chest. The gravely injured Stark was taken captive by the Communist leader Wong-Chu, and was informed that within a week the shrapnel would penetrate his heart and kill him. Wong-Chu offered Stark a deal: if he built the Communists a powerful weapon, Wong-Chu would allow Stark to undergo an operation to save his life. Knowing this was a lie, Stark agreed, hoping to gain time and access to tools.
Stark was given access to a small laboratory in communist territory with another captive, the renowned Oriental physicist and Nobel laureate Professor Ho Yinsen. With Yinsen acting as his assistant, Stark designed and built an electrically powered suit of armor equipped with heavy offensive weaponry. The armor also contained a pacemaker-like device that enabled Stark's heart to keep beating after the shrapnel entered it. Donning the suit, Stark connected it to its power source, an electrical generator. Lying on a table Stark was helpless until the suit was fully charged. His captor, Wong-Chu, sensed something was amiss and came to investigate with armed men. Realizing he was sacrificing his life, Professor Ho Yinsen went out to confront Wong-Chu, to give Stark the extra time he needed to charge the armored suit fully. As the Iron Man, Stark avenged Yinsen's death and scattered Wong-Chu's guerrilla troops. Then, still clad in his armor, which was necessary to keep his heart beating, Stark made his way to the jungle, trying to escape enemy territory.
James Rhodes, a pilot in the United States Marines who was stationed in Southeast Asia, had been shot down in the jungle by communist rockets while he was on a reconnaissance mission. Rhodes managed to land safely and was attempting to get his helicopter air-worthy when he encountered Iron Man. After Iron Man helped Rhodes fight off an attack by communist forces, Rhodes allowed him to drain the helicopter's batteries to recharge his armor. The two tracked through the jungle together, finally discovering a hidden communist rocket base. Stealing an enemy helicopter, they destroyed the site and flew to the nearest American base.
Back in the United States, Stark redesigned his chest plate, which contained a pacemaker-like device, reducing the chest plate's size and weight so he could wear it under his normal clothing. Required to wear the armor's chest plate at all times to keep his heart beating, Stark decided to put the rest of the armor to regular use as well. After redesigning the entire armored suit to match the lighter chest plate, Stark made the existence of the suit public. He concealed the suit's true origin, as well as the fact that he himself had to wear the chest plate to live. Stark made it known that he would soon manufacture the suit, which he called "the human machine," for sale to the public.
Becoming Iron Man
Soon afterward, Stark donned one of his battle suits in order to prevent thieves from stealing parts from the other copies of it. This experience made him realize that the suit was too dangerous to be made available to the public. The next day Stark revealed what had happened to him in Southeast Asia to Joanna Nivena, his then fiancé. Together they attended a tennis match in Forest Hills, N.Y. that afternoon. Stark brought along his armor, which he was taking to a nearby laboratory for tests. Terrorists who threatened to kill everyone present with a bomb invaded the match. Joanna urged Stark to don the armor to stop the terrorists. Stark did so, captured the terrorists and saved the spectators by throwing himself atop the bomb. Iron Man thus publicly became a hero, and Stark had a new sense of purpose, having decided to combat evildoers as Iron Man.
Wishing to retain some degree of anonymity, Stark established the fiction that Iron Man was his paid bodyguard wearing a suit of armor that he had invented. Only his most trusted aides learned Stark and Iron Man were one and the same. One of these eraly confidantes was "Happy" Hogan, whom Tony hired as his chaffeur. Hogan fell in love with Tony's secretary Pepper Potts, whom Tony was secretely in love with. Even though Potts reciprocated Tony's feelings, she eventually began a whirlwind romance with Hogan, which ended with the two of them getting married.
At first, Stark used his Iron Man identity mostly to combat spies, like the Actor, and criminals who threatened Stark Industries, like the Melter or Mr. Doll. During this time, the original Crimson Dynamo attacked Stark Industries, but Tony Stark persuaded him to defect. Also, Stark faced off for the first time against the Mandarin, who would become one of his most recurring enemies.
Later, he expanded the scope of his alter ego's activities to battle any force or person who threatened the security of America or the world. Stark was instrumental in the organization and armament of the original global intelligence and law-enforcement agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.. As Iron Man, he became a founding member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the team of super-human champions known as The Avengers. Stark donated his Manhattan mansion to the Avengers for their exclusive use.
As an Avenger, Stark would go on to participate in many missions over the years, although he sometimes had trouble reconciling his private affairs with his responsibilities in the Avengers. With the other remaining founders after the Hulk left, he was among those who discovered the frozen form of the heroic Captain America, still frozen since World War II. He was also the Avenger who sponsored the membership of Hawkeye, a man whom he had skirmished with, after realizing his good intentions. Hawkeye was one of the new Avengers who joined when Stark and the other founders decided to take leaves of absence.
Over the years Stark constantly refined and modified the design of his armor. From a bulky, transistorized iron suit, he eventually built a relatively lightweight, integrated circuit, magnetically-polarized suit with more human-looking articulated musculature. Stark's extraordinary genius in theoretical mechanics has enabled him keep his suit of armor state-of-the-art. Stark eventually underwent heart transplant surgery so that he was no longer obligated to wear his metallic chest plate.
For moral reasons, Stark eventually decided to stop manufacturing armaments and devoted his company to other areas of technology.
In the wake of the Kree-Skrull War, Stark initiated a meeting in Wakanda with Professor X, Mister Fantastic, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Namor to form a clandestine, unnamed group to devise strategy and policy regarding overarching menaces (the "Illuminati"). Stark's original goal was to create a governing body for all superheroes in the world to answer to (with him most likely being the head of that group by his mannerism during the meeting). However, the different beliefs and philosophies, besides the fact that many heroes chose to conceal their real identities, made Stark's plan impractical. Despite this, the group agreed to share vital information.
Alcoholism and a New Iron Man
In recent years Tony Stark's greatest nemesis has been alcoholism. As a wealthy socialite, alcohol had been a constant part of his life. When his company, which had changed its name from Stark Industries to Stark International, was threatened with the takeover at the same time he was experiencing oppressive personal problems, Stark began to abuse alcohol. Although he managed to recover quickly from his first serious bout, the compulsion to drink remained a constant temptation. The second time he succumbed to alcoholism, due to even more devastating personal problems than the first time, Tony Stark went on a several month binge during which he was cheated out of Stark International, had all Iron Man suits destroyed (except one), lost the leases on his various apartments, and had his personal assets frozen so that he could not touch his fortune. All of this was the result of the machinations of the mysterious European entrepreneur Obadiah Stane, who took over Stark's company, renaming it Stane International.
During this time, Stark's friend James Rhodes, who had gone to work for Stark after leaving the military, assumed custody of the Iron Man armor and operated as Iron Man in his stead.
When Stark finally regained his sobriety, he joined with Rhodes and two of his friends, Morley Irwin (late of Stark International) and his sister Clytemnestra Irwin of Richmond Enterprises, to set up a new electronics firm in California named Circuits Maximus. In its brief existence, Circuits Maximus became a prestigious and successful firm.
While the armor was in his custody, James Rhodes became increasingly enamored with being Iron Man and, upon Stark's return to sobriety, feared that Stark would ask for it back. The cybernetic helmet had never been properly calibrated to Rhodes' brain patterns; he began to have severe headaches and his thinking was clouded. As a result Rhodes began to manifest hostility toward Stark. As part of his therapy, Stark constructed a simple suit of armor based on his original design with no intention of donning it until he felt in control of his alcoholism. When Rhodes began acting irrationally, however, Stark felt obligated to put on this crude suit of armor to prevent Rhodes from doing harm. Stark managed to subdue Rhodes and made necessary recalibration on the cybernetics. For a brief time Stark and Rhodes used their respective suits of armor as Iron Men, although Stark did so reluctantly. At the suggestion of the West Coast Avengers chairman, Hawkeye, Stark designed and built his most sophisticated armor to date, presumably so that the Avengers could find someone to wear the suit and bolster the team's strength.
However, soon after its completion, Obadiah Stane became alarmed at Stark's steps toward recovery. Circuits Maximus was bombed, injuring Rhodes and killing Morley Irwin. Desiring vengeance, Stark donned the untested new armor and sought out Stane. Stane himself put on a suit his engineers had built using Stark's plans, and met Iron Man in battle as the Iron Monger. Losing the battle against Stark, Stane committed suicide.
Stark decided that although one is never truly cured of alcoholism, he could also not deny the responsibility of being Iron Man. He resumed his career as Iron Man, and joined the new West Coast branch of the Avengers.
Founding Stark Enterprises
Stark also managed to reclaim control of his fortune, although he decided not to claim ownership of the company formerly known as Stark International. Rather, he founded a new technological design and manufacturing company, Stark Enterprises, based in Silicon Valley in Southern California. Stark Enterprises quickly became a highly successful and innovative company.
The Armor Wars
Stark learned that an industrialist calling himself Spymaster had stolen the plans for the many secret technological innovations found in the Iron Man armor. Spymaster had then turned these plans over to Stark's most powerful and antagonistic business rival, Justin Hammer, who in turn had made them available to criminals. These criminals had then incorporated the stolen technological innovations into their own armored battle suits. Outraged that his inventions were being used for criminal activity, and even for killing, Stark determined to deprive these criminals of his secrets. He planted a computer virus in Hammer's computer system that would wipe out all traces of the plans for Stark's Iron Man technology. As Iron Man, Stark sought out and caught many criminals and others (such as the United States government's Guardsmen) who wore a battle suit utilizing his technology. He implanted devices called 'negator packs' on their armor to fuse the circuits, rendering the suit useless. With the computer records of the plans for his technology gone, presumably it could not be used in reconstructing the suits.
Iron Man accidentally killed the second Titanium Man (also known as the Gremlin) in the course of these "Armor Wars".
The United States government branded Iron Man an outlaw as a result of these and other vigilante actions, and his longtime Avengers comrade Captain America was among those opposing him. Stark publicly claimed that he had fired Iron Man in displeasure over his illegal activity. Shortly afterward, Iron Man was apparently destroyed in combat with government forces.
In fact, however, Stark had survived. He created an even more sophisticated armored battle suit to wear as Iron Man using technology far more advanced than that which Spymaster had stolen from him. Stark continued to go into action as Iron Man, but publicly claimed that the previous Iron Man was dead and that another employee of his whose identity was being kept secret was now wearing the armored suit.
Later, Kathleen Dare, a former lover of his with an unstable mind, shot Stark. The gunfire severely injured Stark's spine and it appeared he could be crippled for the rest of his life, unable to walk. However he could still function normally within his Iron Man armor. A microchip device was later implanted in Stark's spine that enabled him to walk and move normally once again. This 'bio-chip' proved problematic and degenerative nerve damage occurred. This was aggravated by the attack of Kearson DeWitt, a madman who claimed Stark had stolen his father's designs. DeWitt had Stark's nervous system attacked with a techno-organic virus, but Stark was able to survive. He temporarily had to be placed in cryo-stasis, with Jim Rhodes taking his place as CEO. Soon after recovering, Stark was injured from feedback from a 'telepresence' system to remotely control his Iron Man armor and battle Ultimo. Stark eventually recovered after extensive rehabilitation.
Stark was forced to restructure Stark Enterprises when several of Stane's business decisions were leaked to the press. This also caused a number of other heroes to confront Iron Man, such as the Hulk regarding gamma bomb production plants.
Stark also quarreled with Rhodes over several good-intentioned but wrong decisions Jim made as CEO (such as selling off nuclear assets to a dummy company secretly operated by AIM), as well as his actions in Imaya. Rhodes was still angry Stark had lied to him about his nerve damage condition. The two briefly clashed, but have since resumed their friendship.
Later, while under the influence of Immortus, Stark committed a number of horrible acts and was temporarily replaced by a younger version of him. This was corrected when Franklin Richards brought him and the other heroes who sacrificed themselves against Onslaught back. When the replacement Tony Stark returned to the 616 Marvel Universe, he was merged with the 616 Tony Stark who was resurrected thanks to Franklin Richards. Shortly after returning he subjected himself to judgment by his fellow Avengers and was exonerated.
Stark declined to challenge the Fujikawa acquisition and formed a new company, Stark Solutions. Injuries from battling the Mandarin and other foes revealed a danger of long-term armor exposure. The armor's power systems and insulation were significantly redesigned to compensate. Jocasta's AI was recovered from Sunset Bain.
The Sons of Yinsen, who became worshipers of his mentor and the Iron Man technology, contacted Tony.
During a battle with Blacklash during a storm, the armor became sentient. This would be later revealed due to the Ultron Imperative. Iron Man (Sentient Armor) decided it would replace Stark, but ultimately sacrificed itself to repair damage to its creator's heart.
Stark posed as simple worker 'Hogan Potts' at Askew Electronics, incorporating a new alloy called SKIN into his armor designs. After tests against the Shocker, he went into battle against AIM, the Ghost, and finally Ultron after the villain revealed his manipulation of the Sons of Yinsen, his role in the sentient armor, and corrupting the SKIN technology.
Stark investigated an early military armor that had been distributed to rebel forces around the world.
Temugin also made his presence felt, challenging Iron Man for the apparent death of his father, the Mandarin.
A strange alien bio-plasm was investigated in Las Vegas.
Stark infiltrated the Thunderbolts posing as the Cobalt Man.
The US military attempted to claim older model Iron Man armors. Their pretense was that Stark had not patented the technology and that he violated agreements made after the Armor Wars by continuing to adventure as Iron Man.
At the same time, a new Secretary of Defense was needed. Stark vied for the position and halted a disaster involving the technology as Iron Man.
Stark (later revealed to be manipulated by the Scarlet Witch) suddenly threatened a Latverian ambassador at a UN meeting. Clarence Ward used a stolen armor to kill nearly all of Stark Industries' board and Rumiko Fujikawa. In light of the incidents, Stark resigned as secretary.
Stark returned to work at a hectic pace, often sleeping in his lab. A former classmate asked for help--a super soldier project named Extremis had been given to a small terrorist group. Iron Man battled the augmented terrorist Mallen, but suffered massive injuries. Taking Extremis, Iron Man healed and found himself able to directly interface with technology, especially the armor. Going after Mallen again, Stark was forced to kill him.
Stark found he was becoming more and more aggressive battling the Crimson Dynamo and assisting the Avengers against Graviton. He also began building a group of drones nicknamed the Argonauts. 'Iron Man' was spotted attacking several officials, including those involved in his and Ho Yinsen's imprisonment. Stark agreed to go under watch, but armored up and escaped. He confronted Extremis' creator, only to learn the enhancement was not part of it. An outside force was controlling him. The Sentry was sent to apprehend Iron Man, only to find a remote unit and stopped via Tony's manipulation of CLOC.
Stark tracked down the sender at a press conference, finding Ho Yinsen's son. He learned Yinsen had been forced to secretly implant a control chip in Stark during their imprisonment years ago. This chip operated on Yinsen's breakthrough in using electromagnetic signals to control the body. Operatives looking to steal the technology killed Yinsen’s wife. In revenge, his son activated the chip, using Iron Man to go after those he felt responsible. A S.H.I.E.L.D. sniper soon shot Yinsen's son, activating his fail-safe: the Argonauts.
The New Avengers
While flying around the city, Iron Man arrived at the Raft prison to aid Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Matt Murdock, and the Sentry in keeping prisoners in after a prison break. Tony was initially reluctant to make a new team but eventually agreed. The New Avengers went to find Karl Lykos and found out that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been enslaving the Savage Land Mutates to dig in Vibranium mines. Next, The New Avengers found the Sentry and helped him restore his memory before going off to Japan to face HYDRA and the Hand. After they returned, the New Avengers revealed themselves to the world. After this, the House of M occurred, followed by a battle with the Collective. In between these missions, the Sentry was sent to battle Iron Man by the government, and Tony only defeated him by showing the Sentry several reports of disasters awaiting his actions, which caused the Sentry to collapse. Tony also tried to help Cap shut down the Young Avengers, only to help them fend off an invasion by both the Kree and the Skrulls over Hulkling. The New Avengers also attempted to apprehend the vigilante Cloak when he was framed for an attack on his partner Dagger, but were interrupted by the Runaways, who helped clear Cloak's name.
Superhuman Registration Act
Learning of the government's plans to instigate a Superhuman Registration Act that would force costumed, super-powered individuals to reveal their identities to the government and sign on as licensed agents, Iron Man at first sought to defeat the proposal, even going to such lengths as to hire the Titanium Man to attack the hearing on the act as he testified in order to manipulate opinion in his favor. However, at some point, Tony Stark's opinion of the Act changed, seeing it as a new means to achieve the goal that he had sought in forming the "Illuminati", and to tie the knots of friendship between humans and superheroes. He attempted to convince the other members of the clandestine group to support the new Act, stating that their input could prevent the Act from becoming too restrictive of superhuman activities, but all except Mister Fantastic rejected the idea of registration.
After the Stamford, Connecticut disaster turned public opinion against super humans and fast-tracked the Act into law, Stark came out publicly in support of the Act, but the new law split the hero community in two. All of Stark's planning and manipulation came to fruition as Stark then became the representative and leader of the pro-registration side, placed in opposition to the anti-registration advocates. In his first major public action as a supporter of registration, Stark again unmasked as Iron Man.
Prior to the events of Civil War, Stark assisted fellow Avenger Spider-Man and his family. Peter Parker came to regard Stark as a mentor, became his assistant, and accepted a new technologically enhanced costume from him. Stark also convinced Spider-Man to unmask and go public with his identity as well. However, Peter's feelings of being manipulated and unease about the rightness of Stark's cause grew until Stark revealed a prison for super humans he and Mister Fantastic had built in the Negative Zone. When Spider-Man attempted to escape from Stark Tower, along with his family, in order to join the Resistance, he attacked Stark, who had confronted him. However, due to Spider-Man's override of the suit given to him by Stark and some unexpected intervention by the Punisher, the web-slinger managed to escape with his family and was now considered a traitor by Stark and the Pro-Registration side.
Becoming Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Other incidents in which Stark was directly involved was the death of Goliath after being struck down by a clone of Thor, utilizing the Thunderbolts and other super-villains as a task force to hunt down unregistered heroes and even using the Green Goblin as a weapon against them. Unknown to Stark, the Goblin was no longer under his control and was seeking his own agenda; however, Sally Floyd and Ben Urich allege that Stark himself who compromised the nanites in Osborn, an accusation that Stark did not deny. Stark went to the moon where the Sentry was visiting the Inhumans. He personally invited the Sentry to join his team, saying that he might not be around to see the end of the Civil War and he would need some stronger heroes to be there if this was to happen. The Sentry followed Iron Man back to Earth, where he supposedly joined his side. Director Maria Hill suggested that Tony might become the next acting head of S.H.I.E.L.D. She cited his higher qualification than her, and the fact that it would "piss the right people off." Tony became very active in shutting down unregistered factions, frequently trying to arrest the New Avengers and pouring S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into Los Angeles to capture the Runaways. Eventually, Captain America's group surrendered and was granted amnesty, with Cap agreeing to go on trial for his actions during the "Civil War". However, while in custody, Captain America was killed in an assassination orchestrated by the Red Skull. Stark was devastated by his friend's death, and left unsure on how to proceed. In a letter Steve had written before his death, he asked Tony to insure that the Captain America legacy lived on and to look out for Bucky Barnes. Tony was instrumental in getting Bucky to assume the mantle of Captain America.
Iron Man and the other Illuminati were responsible for exiling Hulk from Earth, and were the people Hulk sought revenge on when he returned. Luckily, Stark saw this possibility as an eventuality, and was prepared to engage the Hulk with a brand new Hulk-Buster armor. The battle between them destroyed most of New York City, and blows were thrown so powerful that no other hero could get close enough to help or act. Stark Tower collapsed on top of the two during the battle, and ultimately, Hulk took Tony captive to the Stadium with the rest of his captured heroes. Once all of Stark's sources (and comrades) were exhausted, he rendered the Hulk unconscious with orbiting military satellite lasers he helped install in his appointing as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. He had to draw money from numerous sources (most notably S.H.I.E.L.D itself) to repair Avengers Tower and the several damaged buildings and structures of New York.
When Thor returned he learned of the events of the superhero-registration "Civil War" and was angered that Iron Man had waged war on the heroes who had been their friends and that Stark and others used his DNA to create the Thor Clone without his knowledge or permission. Tony began to fight Thor but it became obvious he could not win. Seeking a compromise, Stark rationalized that Asgard could be considered a foreign embassy, with diplomatic immunity granted to its inhabitants. Thor deemed this acceptable and the fighting stopped.
Tony came to the remains of the X-Mansion to talk with Cyclops. He informed the former X-Men leader that the government was pushing to get the X-Men registered. Scott told him there were no more X-Men and that they were going to be registered for being born.
During the Skrull Invasion Stark's armor was infected by an alien cyber virus which ultimately purged him of the Extremis virus. Stark discovered Spider-Woman herself was the Skrull Queen Veranke who nearly deceived him to join ranks with her. He was saved by Ms. Marvel who upon Tony's request left him with Black Widow who acted as his defense until he could fix his damaged armor to a point to where it was fully functional. Tony led the heroes of New York against the Skrull invaders. His armor however, began to fail in midst of the battle forcing him to return to Avengers Tower for another one. The President of the United States was less than reasonable regarding Stark's action and ultimately removed Stark as director of S.H.I.E.L.D, and disbanded the entire agency itself. Although the battle against the alien invasion had been won, Tony suffered a great loss. His technology was non-functional, his corporations were in dismay, he had many new enemies, and little to no allies willing to help him with any of his problems.
After the invasion, the U.S. government also disbanded the Avengers, handing control of the Initiative over to Norman Osborn. Iron Man was later a member of Henry Pym's Mighty Avengers. Before fighting the threat of Chthon, Iron Man helped to subdue the Hulk. He left the team after realizing he was not yet ready to be a part of it.
With his Extremis powers failing, Stark was able to upload a virus that destroyed all records of the Registration Act, thus preventing Osborn from learning the identities of his fellow heroes. The only copy of this database remained in Stark's head, while he was now on the run in one of his extra armors, and his remaining armors in Stark Tower were now in Osborn's hands. Iron Man managed to gain a new armor and fought Namor in the Stark Undersea Base. Stark was able to outsmart the Atlantean and escape the collapsing base. Osborn then placed a bounty on Stark's head, offering mountains of gold to the Hood's gang. The members of the secret organization the Cabal gathered to discuss many issues, among which was the hunt for Stark. Stark was losing intelligence by the day which slowed his thinking time and caused him to not be able to pronounce difficult words correctly. He started gathering and assembling parts to make his Iron Man suit easier to navigate and control as it was becoming more and more difficult for him to do so. He later abandoned it for the Dynamo Armor, which he borrowed from Dimitri Bukharin. Tony was later tracked down Pepper but the two were captured by Madame Masque.
He managed to escape with Pepper's help, but was forced to leave her behind so she could fend off Masque. He then made his way to Afghanistan, but before he could reach his destination, he was shot down by Afghani militants. With his armor destroyed, Tony was forced to abandon it and proceed on foot to his destination, the secret laboratory that Stark worked with Ho Yinsen as a captive in developing the first Iron Man armor, Mark 0. Dusting off the outdated computer systems, Stark was able to reactivate the old suit, which was now the only armor simple enough for his deteriorating mind to operate.
When Osborn personally caught up to the debilitated Stark and beat him savagely, Pepper Potts broadcasted the beatings, costing Osborn credibility and giving Stark public sympathy. Stark went into a vegetative state, having previously granted Donald Blake (Thor's alter ego) power of attorney.
A holographic message stored in Pepper's armor revealed that Stark had developed a means of 'rebooting' his mind from his current state prior to his destruction of the database. Blake and Bucky resolved to use it to restore him to normal despite Stark's offer in the message to stay in his current state if it would make things easier and Pepper's own uncertainty about the fact that Tony could come back when so many others could not.
The procedure on how to reboot Stark was very complicated. First, they had to place Pepper's electromagnet implant onto his chest, which would be fueling his entire biology. Then they jacked in the hard drive that Maria Hill recovered, which was a backup copy of his brain before he underwent the Extremis injection and then they activated the implant by channeling Thor's lightning through Captain America's shield connected to it.
Meanwhile, in the last remaining vestiges of Stark's mind, he was in a barren wasteland, digging for the lost relics of his life, assisted by a couple named Howard and Maria. However, every time he found something, giant machines resembling his own Titanomechs would attack, causing the illusion to reset. He eventually found he was digging for an iron chest plate, resembling the 1960s version of his old armor.
Back on Earth, Pepper, Rhodey, and Captain America sent in Doctor Strange to help Tony after the first attempt to revive him failed. The Ghost interrupted the doctor's ritual, but Tony Stark manually overcame his coma and used the Ghost's ghostphone to transport the assassin away. It was then everyone realized Tony's backup memory drive was not quite complete, as he was awed by the events he read about on his computer after the skirmish, which included the Civil War, Captain America's assassination, the Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign.
During most of the Siege of Asgard Tony Stark was out of commission, but suddenly returned wearing an older version of his armor, disabling Norman Osborn's stolen Iron Patriot armor and signaling the return of all three main Avengers; including Thor and Steve Rogers.
After the Siege, Tony built a new model of armor with the help of Mister Fantastic. He also apologized to Thor for everything he had done. Later, Tony announced that he would make a new company, Stark Resilient., to rebuild his former wealth and to extend his repulsor technology as a civilian energy source.
After his reboot Tony, now with no company, decides to start a new company named Stark Resilient. Thor offers to give him treasures to fund his new venture, however he rejects it hoping to start from scratch. After working with Reed Richards on his new upgraded suit he pulls Stark from making government weapons.
Pepper becomes his new CEO and informs business men that he wants to use his Repulsor technology to change the world and remove the need for oil and other fossil fuels. However he tells them that if they don't get on board he will ruin them. Angered by this, Pepper has a helicopter leave Tony, forcing him to use his new armor.
Meanwhile the Hammer girls Sasha Hammer and Justine Hammer plan to fill in the gap in military technology left by Stark Industries with their own Detroit Steel, and not in a nice way. To make sure that Stark's new company doesn't get in their way, they hire Spymaster to kill Stark Resilient while it's still in its crib. They also buy and sell old Stark Tech and H.A.M.M.E.R. weaponry and use some of it to fake a terrorist attack in Tokyo so their Detroit Steel could "defeat" these terrorists and come out victorious. Meanwhile making Iron Man and War Machine, who flew over there to see what's going on, look ridiculous in front of the cameras. Though they do not come home empty-handed: Tony recognized the youngest Hammer girl, Sasha, as an accomplice to Ezekiel Stane who destroyed Stark Industries and nearly killed Tony.
Meanwhile at the home front Stark Resilient has gathered a few misplaced geniuses to build him an Electric race car working on Repulsor technology from scratch in six weeks. And Pepper Pots wants her own Repulsor disc back in her chest and an armor suit to become the heroine Rescue once again. Tony is initially against this, but it seems he promised her this before his mind-wipe, so he does what she asks and Pepper becomes Rescue once again. Tony hosts a gala in name of Stark Resilient and invites both Hammer girls. After an appearance together with Pepper, Tony takes off with Sasha Hammer.
The Heroic Age
In the aftermath of Siege, the super human registration act was repealed thanks to the efforts of Steve Rogers, who now took over the position of the overthrown Norman Osborn. Iron Man reunited with Thor and Steve Rogers and rekindled their relationship while setting their past differences aside. Iron Man and Thor were assigned to Avengers along with Bucky Barnes as Captain America while Steve Rogers headed the Secret Avengers. Iron Man was slightly troubled that he may not be able to take orders from Steve, but Steve told him that Maria Hill would oversee the Avengers.
On the day the Avengers formed they were attacked by Kang who thrashed Avengers Tower and stated that the time stream was out of flux due to the actions of their children. Although, the Avengers were reluctant to believe him and dismissed it as a trap, they decided to confirm just in case. Iron Man along with the help of Marvel Boy were able to build a time-traveling device and the Avengers split into two groups: one that traveled into the future to investigate and another that stayed behind to handle troubles in their current time.
Iron Man traveled to the future and met his future version as well as Maestro who was an older Hulk. They worked together to figure out a way to fix the time stream. Tony was surprised at how much his older version was fascinated with time travel and that frankly he didn’t share the same hobby. Realizing the only way to fix the time stream was for Kang to defeat Ultron, Iron Man went to Ultron who was powered with the Destroyer armor and reasoned with him to surrender. After Ultron realized the severity of the issue, and that his reign was not worth leaving the time stream out of order where Kang would continue to challenge him endlessly losing, he decided not to fight back and lost the battle. This fixed the time stream.
The Avengers’ next dire mission put them up against the Hood who had escaped from jail and attained the knowledge of the Infinity Gems. The Hood began collecting the gems and with two gems he easily defeated the Red Hulk. The Red Hulk, then went to the Avengers and asked for help. Upon hearing the nature of the crisis, Iron Man ran out half way into the Avengers meeting and contacted the members of the Illuminati, who were each responsible for the safeguarding of one of the gems, himself included.
The group met and decided that the best course of action was to make sure that each of their gems was secure and that they will need their immense gifted powers in their confrontation with the Hood. As soon as they were about to leave and head to their duties, the Avengers arrived at their doorstep having tailed Iron Man and demanded answers to what they knew.
The Hood escaped prison and started a search for the Infinity Gauntlet, finding the first one (the Reality Gem) at Attilan. Then he managed to get the Power gem from Reed Richards. Then Robbins was teleported unwittingly to the desert, where he found Red Hulk and defeated him. Red Hulk managed to get to Avengers Tower where he informed them of what had happened. Knowing it was about the Gems, Iron Man quickly flew away, where he met the Illuminati, with Medusa in the place of her defunct-at-that-time husband Black Bolt.
The team went to the scene of the crime at Atillan to investigate, but where followed by three teams of The Avengers. Steve Rogers realized that this sort of scheme to secretly keep an immense source of power to be of Iron Man machination. He blamed Iron Man for this entire turn of events and threatened Tony that if he couldn’t do anything about their current situation he would be kicked out of the Avengers. After explaining the situations, the teams united to search for the gems. The Avengers and the Illuminati divide to get the other gems, they manage to get the Time Gem, but the Hood appears after getting the Soul Gem. During the fight Red Hulk manages to get the Power Gem, but Hood escapes and searches for the Mind Gem, after getting it battling Xavier and other Avengers, is teleported to the Astral Plane to get the Soul Gem at the Astral Plane. There, Strange disguised as Thanos distracted Robbins until the other heroes arrived and Red Hulk attacked Robbins with the Power Gem, allowing the Avengers to take the Mind and the Space Gem. The only Gem that remained with Hood is taken from him by the other gems, which were in the Infinity Gauntlet with Iron Man, making him the first human to possess and use this artifact.
Iron Man teleported Robbins back to Rykers, and faked that he wished the Gauntlet to not exist any more. Secretly, he gathered the Illuminati to share the Gems again, but now with Steve Rogers in the place of Black Bolt.
On the day Tony was to public display his car, he was attacked by Hammer's forces and Detroit Steel. He found out that the drones were controlled by a cell phone application and with the help of his team was able to shut them all down. Tony was then able to focus on battling Detroit Steel who was trying to make his own publicity stunt by defeating Iron Man which would prove that the U.S. Government would be getting a better deal with Hammer. than they ever did from Stark (as Stark had rejected to make anything for them) However, the battle proved fruitless for Detroit Steel and Iron Man was able to save the day. However, this was only a minor setback to Sasha and Justine Hammer who were able to form a partnership with both Ezekiel and the Mandarin for preparation towards their next confrontation.
Having saved the day for now and his new company starting to shape up, he went to a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the behest of Pepper to inspire confidence to those suffering from the condition. Things seemed to be going well for Tony but Doctor Octopus challenged him telling him that he had a bomb that would detonate most of the city if he didn’t comply to his request.
When Iron Man went to the location he met Doctor Octopus and recalled their early years as classmates. He challenged Iron Man to either remedy his current health condition or publicly admit defeat that he was unable to solve such a case. Tony stated that Octavius' past actions were catching up with him and that he needed to see a doctor which he wasn’t.
Meanwhile, Stark Resilient was also attacked by Electro and Sandman, who were sent by Doctor Octopus. However, Pepper proved to be quite a match for them and they ended up having to retreat. At the base, Doctor Octopus told Tony to beg him, which he humiliatingly complied with realizing that lives were at stake for the mere pleasure of the mad man. Doctor Octopus recorded the scene and let Tony go and stated that he had been outsmarted and that there really wasn’t a bomb to diffuse.
Tony flew back to his office to see if everyone was alright. Upon the positive turn of events, Tony and Pepper decided to enjoy themselves and were staring into the sunset when they witnessed something fast falling from the sky. Upon hearing that there were multiple such occurrences of such an event around the world, Tony went to Paris to investigate where one of the hammers had fallen and told Pepper to hire Bethany Cabe who dismissed the idea stating the Tony just wanted another redhead in his office. Tony told her that it was because she was resourceful and capable woman.
During The Serpent's bid to rule Earth, Tony fought Mokk in the streets of Paris, France, where all citizens had been turned into living statues.Finding himself unable to defeat Mokk with conventional methods, Tony entreated Odin to allow him to design magically powered weapons in the forges of Asgard. Haunted by the casualties and his failure, Tony began drinking again. Then Odin appeared and after discussing with Tony, the All-Father proposed to Tony to create magical weapons at Svartalfheim. With these weapons, the Avengers defeated the Serpent's Worthy and Skadi, while Thor defeated the Serpent himself but payed with his life. Days later, Tony destroyed the weapons at Svartalfheim and after discussing with Odin, the God brought back to life the "statues" of the Parisians who weren't broken. Also, Stark offered the dark elf Splitlip a place to work at Stark Resilient.
Ezekiel Stane and Mandarin starts upgrading classic villains of the Golden Avenger and uses them to make acts of wars over the World. Meanwhile, Tony is doubted if he can really pilot the Iron Man armor, being cited by the U.S. army, with help of War Machine. Then General Babbage forced Tony to use a special attachment to his armor, which could turn it off whenever he wanted.