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Iron Man Annual #2001: Review

Oct 2001
Chris Claremont, Michael Ryan

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Iron Man Annual #2001 Review by (September 12, 2020)
Both stories in this issue fit between Iron Man (1998) #45 and #46.

#45 ended Tony Stark's masquerade as Hogan Potts and saw him start the new Stark Enterprises.

#46 will see the return of the Sons Of Yinsen and the sentient IM armour.

1st story:-

Tony's wearing the SKIN armour he developed in #42-45.

This issue calls Sarawak a People's Republic, which I don't believe it has ever been. It's actually not a country but a state of Malaysia. The Communists did spend a large part of the 20th Century trying to get control of Malaysia, and Sarawak in particular. Maybe on Marvel Earth they succeeded.

The Avengers with Thor are Captain America, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Warbird and Wasp.

Anna and Kiko Wei won't make any further apps.

2nd story:-

This is a coda to #37-40.

Rumiko Fujikawa will still be around in Tony's life until she gets killed in #87 during Avengers Disassembled. Long before that she'll help him get his company back from Stark-Fujikawa in #56.

Tiberius Stone will also continue in the Marvel Universe. After apps in #57-58 he'll get involved in the Spider-Man titles, including the founding of Alchemax Corporation in Superior SM #19. In an alternate future his son Tyler will be a Vice-President of the company and father of Spider-Man 2099 in that series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man Annual #2001 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The main story in this issue begins with Tony Stark hiding in Sarawak. Iron Man was invited to the country but was shot down by a mega-EMP cannon which also inserted a virus into his system which corrupted it. Tony ejected out of the suit and sent it off to hide while it rebooted itself. Now the government has initiated a city-wide (presumably Kuching the capital) hunt for the armour.

Tony figures it's the Iron Man armour they want for its technological secrets, and they don't care about the man driving it. He finds the US Embassy 'conveniently' unguarded because they *want* him to leave the country. But he can't take that route because it would expose Iron Man's secret id. Similarly he can't use his credit card or change his US currency with his passport.  He could use his Stark Card to call Jocasta but that might spread the virus to her. He could use it to call the Avengers for help but that would cause an international incident (as if this ever seems to stop them). He can at least use the Card to track his armour.

While he's trying to think of more options he sees a street gang attacking a young boy with a Spider-Man t-shirt, and he leaps to the rescue. But his training by Captain America isn't enough to beat their martial arts moves. However the boy's mother turns up and *she* takes them all down. But then the police arrive and the gang scarper. Stark knows their heavy-handed methods will land on the boy and his mom too so he charges at them to give the pair time to escape. The police beat him and take him in. And the boy picks up Tony's dropped wallet.

On the 1 hand this stops his id being blown. But on the other hand the lack of money makes him an indigent, and the lack of his fingerprints in the government database makes him also unregistered, with no rights. He's about to be sent to a labour camp when the database suddenly recognises him as an upstanding citizen and someone's paid his fine. It turns out the mother is responsible for both.

Anna Wei takes Tony home to her little computer shop just in time for a visit from the local extortion racket. Anna is behind on her payments but the representative of the boss says the Honourable Po will accept payment in sex. That night Tony sneaks downstairs and does a load of computer repairs. Of course Anna spots what he's done immediately. Now she asks him who he really is, and his reluctance to tell her makes her suspect he's a spy. She asks him to leave, for her son Kiko's sake. He tells her he's trying to recover some tech her government stole from him, and her instinct tells her to help him.

They work together and Tony is impressed by her computer skills. She also provides him with a virtual reality skinweb suit of her own design. As they get closer they end up sharing a kiss.

Meanwhile Kiko is looking for a way to get Po off their backs. He finds the money in Stark's wallet, but also the Stark Card indicating the location of the Iron Man. He follows its arrows out of the city and the armour decloaks when the gets near to it. And Kiko calls Po.

Anna and Tony have probably just been having sex when they discover Kiko's gone. Tony also finds his wallet with the Card missing, and puts 2 and 2 together. Tony obviously memorised the location because they get there just in time to see a truck driving Kiko and the armour away.

Po is trying to decide how best to make money out of the Iron Man armour when Anna arrives dressed to attract. She asks Po to let her son go and she'll stay with him. But a camera in her choker lets Tony know that she has the men suitably distracted while he climbs to the roof and remotely blows their lighting system. Anna dons night vision goggles and Tony abseils down into the room. Gunmen start shooting at random and Anna gets Kiko to safety behind some crates.

The lights come back on and Anna dispenses with her goggles. Tony remotely opens the armour intending to get in, but Anna puts her son inside instead. It automatically closes again and boots up. The gunmen now shoot at *it* and the suit responds by firing back with repulsor rays. And then 'Iron Man' leaves the building. But Stark fears that the virus will still be active. And government forces will be chasing the suddenly obvious target.

In the warehouse Anna deals with the Po gang while Tony establishes a comms link with the armour and gets Kiko to switch on the remote control. Tony and Anna also activate the skinweb suits they're wearing which Tony has configured to control the armour's movements. Tony will tackle the virus while Anna faces the armoured government troops. To simplify his work Tony's shut down lots of the armour's systems including weaponry, so Anna makes Iron Man fight with martial arts moves. Which has the advantage of confusing the enemy.

As Tony removes the virus from some of the critical systems Anna's opponents begin to adjust to her tactics. Then 1 of them shoots the armour in the back and the skinweb makes Anna feel it. But Tony has gained control of Iron Man's weapons and starts shooting back with repulsor rays. Anna now uses the repulsors as well as her fighting skill while Tony defeats the virus. Now in full control he dazzles their opponents with his chest uni-beam and then flies the armour back to Po's warehouse to pick up himself and Anna.

Then he flies out towards international waters past the EMP cannon that got him earlier. It fires again but the blast is redirected back to its source by Mjolnir. Thor's hammer returns to its master and the other Avengers in a quinjet. Tony called them before he and Ann went to Po's warehouse.

Later Tony Stark gives Anna Wei a job (and a new identity for herself and her son) in his new San Francisco R&D centre (which he says he bought cheap from a failed dot-com). It also turns out that the uni-beam sent his own version of the virus into Sarawak's troop armour, and it will spread through their whole network destroying all data they have on Iron Man.

2nd story:- Black and white

Written by the main series regular scribe Frank Tieri and appropriately rendered in black and white by Craig Wilson.

In #40, the end of Tony Stark's conflict with media mogul Tiberius Stone, Ty trapped Tony in DreamVision, his new virtual reality system, for a mental battle which Stark won. But now Stone has sent him a note claiming that they're still *in* VR.

Tony goes to see Ty who insists this isn't a joke. He reminds Stark of an unexplained energy surge after Tony 'defeated' him, and now claims that was the program restarting. He points out how implausible the events of the subsequent issues have been. Tony gave up his fortune and his company and spent #42-45 as Hogan Potts working for a small company which Iron Man also used to develop his new SKIN armour. Then Trevor Donahue died and left Stark his fortune and company so Tony is back in business again. Tony counters with *his* theory that Stone's DreamVision planted a subliminal message that *caused* him to give everything away.

The argument is halted when Rumiko Fujikawa rushes in a exposes the truth - that it is Ty who is permanently attached to his DreamVision system, addicted to it (as we saw in #41), and that his current scheme is to trick Tony into helping him break free. Ty then confesses that a part of his mind is trapped in DreamVision and without it he'll die. He wasn't going to *ask* his rival for help, but if he convinced Tony that he was trapped too then Stark would find a way to get them both out. Tony says if Ty *had* asked he would probably have helped his childhood friend. But now he'll leave him to stew.

Ru catches up with Tony as he leaves. Even after all Ty's done she just can't leave him like that, and begs Tony to help him. But Tony can't get past the fact that she left his bed for Ty's, and he walks away from her. She then turns to Ty and tells him she only went with him to hurt Tony because he didn't treat her as the most important thing in his life. Ty says he knew that, and *he* was only using *her* to get at Tony too. Ru slaps his face and she too leaves. Ty gets revenge by releasing compromising photos of her on the Internet and then having it reported on his news programs.

Michael Ryan
Sean Parsons
Dave Pentz
Brian Haberlin (Cover Penciler)
Brian Haberlin (Cover Inker)
Brian Haberlin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Sharpe.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)


Plus: Rumiko Fujikawa, Tiberius Stone.

> Iron Man Annual: Book info and issue index

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