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Iron Man 2020 #5: Review

Jul 2020
Dan Slott, Pete Woods

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Iron Man 2020 #5 Review by (August 1, 2020)
Dan Slott and Christos Gage continue to be the writing duo.

Arno's biography here has as usual mutated from earlier versions of his life, but mainly incorporating things that have been stated in this series and the preceding Tony Stark: Iron Man series. The main discrepancy now is that it suggests he cured himself with his bio-pod before meeting Tony, whereas this cure only happened some time before the TSIM series. The brothers met back in the 2013 IM series, and since then he exchanged his iron lung machine for his own IM armour, and then an exoskeleton which eventually became very discreet.
The nature of his illness has also been retconned, which would make those previous exploits less 'believable'.

Sunset Bain made her 1st app in Machine Man #17-18 as Madame Menace drawn by Steve Ditko. She continued criminal enterprises with that id but meanwhile she showed up as Sunset Bain, head of Baintronics, in Iron Man Annual #11. I don't know when anyone discovered they were the same person.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man 2020 #5 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark believed himself to be just an AI in an android body since the real Tony died in Civil War II. His adoptive brother Arno Stark took over Stark Unlimited and became Iron Man 2020 in order to face a threat to the World he believes is coming from space. He planned to take over all AIs and robots to provide a force to fight this threat alongside humans. Tony as Mark 1 led a Robot Resistance to stop him. They succeeded but Tony was killed (again). However AI Friday saved his mind in a virtual environment and convinced him he *is* the real Tony. But now Arno plans to enslave all humans if he can't get the AIs.

We start off this issue with Arno reviewing his life. He was born with a genetic defect that meant he had to live in an iron lung. But his parents, Howard and Maria Stark, explained that he had a destiny to face the Extinction Event Entity that would arrive in 2020, and defeat it with his genius. He cured himself in a bio-pod but then had to deal with his adopted brother Tony. To achieve his destiny of uniting humans and AIs against the looming threat he had to replace Tony. He also brought his dead parents back to life, albeit in flawed bodies, but now has rebirthed them again as avatars Arsenal and Mistress. He now realises that his failed attempt to commandeer all AIs was unnecessary because AIs will logically join the fight. It is irrational humans that need to be compelled, and he'll use the Stark Space Station to brainwash them all.

Arno is with Sunset Bain (they made Stark Unlimited a subsidiary of Baintronics) and his Iron Legion of troops in IM armour. Last issue he revealed to Ms Bain that she was just an AI/android copy like Tony, so she won't be affected by the weapon he's about to fly into orbit. But he suggests she not tell the human Legion the truth about what he's doing. He enters the shuttle craft with Arsenal and Mistress and they leave. Sunset takes consolation in her cat (who used to be Dr Shapiro).

Friday and Tony are in the 13th Floor VR. As he works on his new armour she contacts other players in a plan to recreate Tony Stark. Awesome Andy, HERBIE and Machinesmith have what's left of Mark 1's body. Bethany Cabe and Pepper Potts have DNA samples from Tony's birth parents. Andy Bhang, Jocasta and Machine Man are ready to combine that with Tony's mind. But they'll need access to a bio-tube in Stark Unlimited. Friday says she's got that covered.

Back at SU the Sunset Bain android has found a bio-tube with her original mind/body in. She declares she's going back to her original id, the villainess Madame Menace. And she doesn't need any competition, so she disintegrates Sunset Bain and her bio-tube. The cat leaps out of her arms and runs off. MM follows him to the master control room and sees him pushing buttons. And she realises what we had confirmed last issue, that the cat *is* the genius Dr Shapiro, and it wasn't an AI in the hi-tech collar he always wore. And that Dr Shapiro is Friday's mole in her company. The cat says sarcastically "Me. Yow".

An Iron Legionnaire rushes in to tell her that all security is down. Friday's little army bursts in with guns blazing, with HERBIE's comment "Get ready for some HERBIE-cide". Andy Bhang gives the cat his collar back, which as I suspected just grants the cat a human voice. And Dr Shap leads the 2 Andy's to some bio-tubes that Sunset *didn't* destroy. Meanwhile Jocasta faces off with the woman who made her a slave with an obedience program. Andy Bhang fixed that last issue, but now that Sunset is an AI Jo can download the obedience program into *her*. And Madame Menace is no longer a menace.

Later Arno Stark's technology has been used to create a new body for Tony. His previous body was artificial. (And the problem with Howard and Maria's bodies was that Arno used his own DNA which gave them his original genetic problem.) Now they've been able to use Tony's parents' DNA and the template of his android body to grow a genuine new Tony Stark. And then Tony's mind occupies it. And now he has a plan how to get up to the space station to stop his brother.

Arno and his 'parents' are up there and he's installed the device that will take control of all humans (presumably except himself). They are on the 14th Floor of the satellite and suddenly the 'lift' activates and Tony and his little army exit, including the cat in his mobile weapon platform but without Bethany Cabe. (The 13th Floor VR can apparently manifest in any building which has superstitiously been built without a real 13th Floor, and presumably this also applies to the Stark Satellite.)

While Avatar and Mistress hold the others off Tony confronts Arno. But Iron Man 2020 points out that Tony has come without his armour, and he fires several missiles at him. However Iron Man manifests his new armour which is a solid hologram only limited by his mind, and it easily survives the assault. And Friday is once again its AI. The 2 Iron Men then have a toe-to-toe slugfest, which finally ends with Arno's armour shattered.

But he manages to fall next to the on-switch for the mind-control weapon which will turn everyone on Earth into an army against Tony. Tony begs his brother not to do it. But then a proximity alarm goes off and they all see a giant form outside the satellite. A voice intones "I am the Singularity. Technology. Organics. You will all be consumed. And we shall become 1". This is the menace Arno was preparing for.



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.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Andy Bhang, Awesome Andy, Bethany Cabe, Dr Shapiro, Friday (Friday Stark), HERBIE, Howard Stark, Iron Man 2020, Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Machinesmith, Maria Stark, Sunset Bain (Madame Menace).

> Iron Man 2020: Book info and issue index

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