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Iron Man 2020 #2: Review

Feb 2020
Dan Slott, Pete Woods

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man 2020 #2 Review by (February 13, 2020)
Christos Gage shares the writing with Dan Slott again.

Brevoort Dynamics is of course named after long-time Marvel guy Tom Brevoort, currently our editor and a Senior Vice-President.

Stingray is 1 of those longtime heroes who's never had his own series, although he did have his own strip in 6 issues of Marvel Comics Presents. He started out as a recurring char in Sub-Mariner tales, as Walter Newell in Tales To Astonish #35 and in costume in SM#19. He has occasionally been an Avenger. He appeared to be killed by Namor's war-sharks in #9 of the current Avengers run, but obviously not.

Captain Barracuda was designed as a 1-off Human Torch villain in Strange Tales #120, who like many of his ilk has been brought back a few times as the villain-of-the-day. His last app was against Deadpool and Hawkeye in half of A+X #8.

I'm holding out for Dr Shapiro to be the Ghost In The Machine. He's only pretending to be reduced to an ordinary cat.

The explanation of how Arno foiled the plan by changing the floor numbers is worthy of the Goon Show! I still want to know where the AI's base really is.

There should be Machine Man 2020 #1, Force Works 2020 #1 and Rescue 2020 #1 before next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man 2020 #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark has been revealed as an AI in an artificial body and has slunk off to get drunk. His 'brother' Arno Stark, with Sunset Bain, has taken over Stark Unlimited and the role of Iron Man 2020. But Tony's 'drunkenness' is fake and he's secretly leading an AI revolution as Mark 1 in the original Iron Man armour. Arno opposes the revolution but with a worthy motive - he believes an Extinction Entity is coming and he needs all the AIs to work with him to stop it.

All over the world the robot rebels are freeing fellow AIs from slavery. In the Bermuda Triangle hero Stingray catches caviar smuggler Captain Barracuda who sics his robo-buccaneers on him. But a submarine surfaces next to them and Machinesmith uses an un-inhibitor to free the robots from human control, and they readily mutiny and clamber onto the sub. At Brevoort Dynamics in Cambridge, Massachusetts they're testing a new robot's self-righting mechanism until Awesome Andy Android takes the hockey stick off them and takes the little robot to safety.

At Futura Motors they're using self-aware crash-test dummies. But Quasimodo and HERBIE burst in and un-inhibit them. Quasi throws the now-empty car at the human testers but IM 2020 swoops down to save them, and throws the car back at the robots with a repulsor boost. Quasimodo takes the brunt of the impact but HERBIE drops the un-inhibitor. All the robots escape but Arno Stark is more interested in retrieving the device.

Back at Baintronics Arno examines it and discovers code that can adapt to any operating system. He figures he can use the same idea to gain control of all AIs, to use in the war against the Extinction Entity. This worries his 'parents' Howard and Maria Stark, who are AI copies running in bodies Arno made for them (as he made Tony's current body).

In the secret robot hideout the 13th Floor they've picked up messages of support on the Internet for Tony Stark from Janet Van Dyne (his girlfriend), Bethany Cabe (SU's ex-Security Chief), Pepper Potts (longtime friend), Riri Williams (Ironheart) and James Rhodes (War Machine). Tony ignores them because he has to let them think he's drunk or dead. But then they get a video recording sent directly to them from the Ghost In The Machine, a mole inside Baintronics.

The recording shows Arno and Sunset Bain letting Andy Bhang see his friend Jocasta. They've built a new obviously-robotic body to replace the more humanoid 1 that was damaged by Ultron in the Tony Stark: Iron Man series. But worse they've made her completely subservient as demonstrated when Sunset, holding the cat that used to be Dr Shapiro, makes Jocasta dance for her. Watching the video, Machine Man is appalled at what they've done to his girlfriend.

Arno tells Andy that he's uploading the controlling computer code into Baintronics' servers and from there it will be distributed via SU's satellite network. Then any AI that accesses the Internet will be automatically infected by the code and the whole rebellion will surrender. The unseen Ghost ends the message by saying that it will happen in 3 hours.

Quasimodo says that they must warn all AIs to stay off the Net, but Machinesmith points out that the revolution can't function without the Net. However Mark 1 reveals a plan to subvert the code at source, which will mean invading Baintronics' new HQ Bain Tower.

Like most buildings the Tower doesn't have a 13th floor, but that's how the Resistance has been getting in and out of such places. A downside to the planned invasion is that Arno will be able to work out how they do it and will learn the secret of their base. And because Mark 1 will lead the attack Arno will also learn that AI Tony is head of the revolution. But he thinks the gains will be worth exposing these 2 secrets.

Mark 1, Quasimodo and the 3 Nick Fury LMDs will be the assault force. Arno will suspect a trap but won't be able to resist confronting his brother personally. However this will be a diversion while Awesome Andy and Machinesmith use a service elevator from the 14th floor to get to the servers holding the code. HERBIE will hack the Baintronics mainframe to find out where that is. Once there Machinesmith will have 12 minutes to access the servers and patch in the required code amendments. Awesome Andy will stop anyone from stopping him. It's a risky plan but any casualties will be worth it. And Machine Man will be on an adjacent tall building ready to blow up Bain's transmission tower if it all goes pear-shaped, to give the Resistance time to prepare another tactic.

As usual in comics we see the actual actions taking place alongside Tony's explanation. All has gone well but there's no sign of Arno responding directly. Mark 1 decides that he needs more inducement to draw him out, and he tells HERBIE (still on the 14th floor) to let the AI army follow them in from the 13th Floor base. But the entry portal to Bain Tower goes blank, and HERBIE notices that the 14th floor has just changed its number to 13.

Now Arno Stark contacts them all to announce that he figured out the secret of their base last issue when some revolutionaries 'disappeared' from a hospital. Their secret (somehow) relies on the fact that humans believe that 13th floors can't exist. Now that he's renumbered the floors in the Tower to include a 13 the rebels have lost their way in, and their escape route.

Machine Man has been getting bored with nothing to do. Then Aaron Stack sees a small craft fly out of Bain Tower and when it gets closer he recognises Jocasta on a personal hoverbike. He drops his rocket launcher and extends his telescopic arm to hitch a lift with his girlfriend. Arno reveals that this was part of his plan ...

... as is subverting another player. And we see Machinesmith being taken over by the submission code. And there's nothing that Awesome Andy can do to help him.

The 3 Fury's are down leaving only Mark 1 and Quasimodo, and they can't contact anyone else. A blast takes Quasi out as Iron Man 2020 arrives on the scene. Tony is still optimistic as he thinks that Arno expecting them means the whole thing was a trap for himself - there never *was* any code to take over all AIs. But Arno disabuses him of that - the code is real and they've failed to stop its transmission. And the 2 Iron Men prepare to clash.

Pete Woods
Pete Woods
Pete Woods
Pete Woods (Cover Penciler)
Pete Woods (Cover Inker)
Pete Woods (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Andy Bhang, Awesome Andy, Captain Barracuda, Dr Shapiro, HERBIE, Howard Stark, Iron Man 2020, Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Machinesmith, Maria Stark, Mark 1 (Tony Stark), Quasimodo, Stingray (Walter Newell), Sunset Bain (Madame Menace).

> Iron Man 2020: Book info and issue index

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