Iron Man 2020 #1: Review

Aug 1994
Walt Simonson, Bob Wiacek

Story Name:

(No Title Given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man 2020 #1 Review by (July 24, 2021)
Comments: Arno Stark was introduced in MACHINE MAN (1984 series) #2-4 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #20; this is his first starring adventure. He will return in PARADISE X and ASTONISHING TALES (2009 series). This universe is dubbed 8410. On his first mention in the book, Marcus Wellington is called Wellington Marcus and it happens several times after that. Oops. Co-plotted by Walt Simonson and Bob Wiacek. Pencils by Wiacek (pp. 1-23) and William Rosado (pp. 24-64).

Review: “2020, a time when the peoples of Earth hope that the strife and destruction of the 20th century will have been put behind them.” But things are still bad in this alternate universe and pestilence is even mentioned as a feature. On the plus side, they have flying cars. And none of this could not have taken place in a 1994, as even Nick Fury had a flying car. Pretty cool tale with Arno proving himself a more insecure and uncertain Iron Man and, shockingly, a lot more violent. This Shellhead kills and we’re not given to know what in this continuity led to such a thing becoming non-controversial. I’d really like to know what (or if) Captain America and Thor are doing. I’d also want to know how Tony came to be presumed dead and secretly hiding in his arch-rival’s company. Anyway, Iron Man beats terrorists and a bad guy in a bigger suit of armor…why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, it’s the plot of the first IRON MAN movie. This wasn’t quite as much fun as the first film, but on the other hand, no Gwyneth Paltrow, so it evens out. (Apologies to Ms. Paltrow: I really did like her in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, just not in the MCU.) So, pretty cool little epic.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man 2020 #1 Synopsis by T Vernon
In 2020, a couple of young people, Melodi “Micky” MacLain and Braun Sehler, are out on a jaunt in their flying car when they are shot down. Crashing onto an island, Micky and Braun are taken prisoner by the Irkutsk Liberation Front, a terrorist organization….

At the New York headquarters of Stark International, head man Arno Stark is brooding over the legacy of Tony Stark and how he (Arno) falls short, both as an industrial leader and as Iron Man. The company is failing and he was easily beaten by Machine Man and so he is forced to meet with his chief rival, Marcus Wellington. Wellington arrives on the Stark rooftop, accompanied by his advisor Howard, who is in a hoverchair. They are attacked by a trio of gunmen on flying discs; the armor-clad Arno easily takes them down, killing two and disabling the third. Wellington explains that he sent them, to test out this new Iron Man before offering him a job. Wellington’s daughter, Micky MacLain has been kidnapped by terrorists and he wants her back….

On the island, the ILF leader, Caesar, explains that they have asked for a ransom of one-third of Wellington’s wealth and after they get it, they will kill the one making the delivery, and then Micky. After the others head to the drop point, Caesar is left with Micky and Braun. He starts to abuse her and she fights back—and then Braun escapes his bonds and knocks the bad guy out. He and Micky flee into the jungle, pursued by other gang members. They discover a cave which was the entrance to a WW2 Japanese base and head underground. There, Braun kills one of the bad guys and Micky reveals why her hated father wants her back: she learned Wellington had created a megavirus that will destroy all computers worldwide and he was planning to use it so he could make a killing marketing the antidote and ensuring that his designs will become the new industry standard. She shows that she has a file containing the virus and antidote hidden in her boot—and then Braun reveals that he was working with the baddies all along….

Iron Man takes a company jet to the drop-off point in the Marshall Islands. His brother-in-law Bill (also Stark COO) tries to talk him out of it but Wellington’s promise of new technology is what Arno needs to save the company. Iron Man drops to the island by stealth and surprises the two terrorists who have come to pick up the ransom; he kills the one and forces the other to reveal where the hideout is. Shellhead arrives in time to prevent Micky from being murdered. He kills them all and Micky herself guns down Braun. On the way back, Micky pleads with Iron Man to let her go; he declines so she tells him about the megavirus and that her father is going to have her killed to silence her….

When they arrive at Wellington’s headquarters by jet, he tries to shoot them down. Arno and Micky use the escape pod; Arno has downloaded the virus safely to his armor and Wellington arrives in a gigantic suit of armor of his own. There is a battle wherein the bad guy reveals that he intended Iron Man to fail in the rescue, thus killing Micky and discrediting Stark at the same time. Arno takes a beating, losing power so he downloads the virus into his own armor and thence into Wellington’s. The virus shakes up the bad guy armor and he drops down to where his own air defenses identify him as a hostile invader and blow him out of the sky….

After the dust clears, Howard informs Micky that she has now inherited control of her father’s company. She and Arno make plans to have dinner together. And Howard is revealed to be Tony Stark, who arranged the whole matter to help Stark International stay afloat and for Arno to meet Micky and gain the confidence to be a decent human being and a better Iron Man….

Bob Wiacek
Bob Wiacek
Christie Scheele
Bob Wiacek (Cover Penciler)
Bob Wiacek (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


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Plus: Iron Man (Arno Stark (Earth-8410)).

> Iron Man 2020: Book info and issue index

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