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Tony Stark: Iron Man #14: Review

Jun 2019
Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

Stolen moments

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tony Stark: Iron Man #14 Review by (July 27, 2019)
Dan Slott takes the scripting reigns back again, but Jim Zub is back with him too. And the've brought artist Valerio Schiti back as well.

The original Spymaster (real name unknown) was an Iron Man villain in many issues of the original series between #33 and #210. Then in #220 he was apparently killed off.
A new Spymaster (Nathan Lemon) took his place in IM#254, until *he* was reported killed in the IM: Inevitable mini-series, and SM III (Sinclair Abbot) replaced *him*. And then *he* got killed in IM#519.
But the original SM wasn't killed - it was a minion who died in his place. SM I apparently retired until Norman Osborn recruited him for 1 more job in the Dark Reign: Made Men 1-shot. He then slipped back into retirement until resurfacing to lead a gang in the Infinity: Heist mini-series. And now he's popped up again.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #14 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We begin with a scene with Iron Man and Captain Marvel flying away from Avengers Mountain 3 hours ago. Long-time sober alcoholic Tony Stark is telling Carol Danvers that he can't be her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor anymore because he recently (#8-9) had a few drinks in virtual reality, and he's got the yen for it again. He also adds that he's confirmed that he's *not* the original Tony Stark - his body was recreated after he 'died' in Civil War II (killed by CM), and his memories are a copy from a backup.

Now a hologram of TS is explaining things to 'real' TS about a plan they just implemented - Tony has deleted his memories back to before he drank in VR, and the hologram recording is showing/telling him what he's lost. That includes the conversation with Carol above. But it also covers the whole of his involvement in War Of The Realms, including inventing a device to 'cure' himself of alcoholism in #12 - which we now learn he chose not to use (presumably in favour of the mind-wiping trick). He has to be brought up to date with Stark Unlimited business. The eScape VR fiasco has landed him with loads of lawsuits. Jocasta quit and his birth mother Amanda Armstrong left. But Janet van Dyne and James Rhodes are still on his side, and he killed his parents in VR which was probably therapeutic (but of course he doesn't remember it). Plus the hologram called Carol and said the sponsorship is back on.

At which point angry Captain Marvel flies in. The hologram obviously explained the 'trick' to her, and she tells Tony this won't stop his alcoholism. Hologram TS says he'll delete himself and leave them to it. But before he goes he reminds Tony that his missing memories are all on a hard drive he points to. But as the hologram dissolves the hard drive vanishes too. And an intruder alarm sounds.

Security Chief Bethany Cabe is pursuing an invisibility-cloaked thief. She shoots him which turns his cloak off, but he turns to fight her as Spymaster. He throws a dagger which she catches - but it electrocutes her. Rhodey calls for backup, and our 2 heroes respond. But the villain is now in Rhodey's Manticore vehicle, and with Stark's memory drive he's able to find the passcodes to operate its weapons.

Meanwhile the robot Jocasta is clothes shopping with Jan. They figure her fashion sense comes from her mind being based on Wasp's. But they fall out because Jocasta thinks Tony has sent Jan to persuade her to return to SU. And if Tony really *is* an AI copy of himself then 'killing' his Friday AI (#7-8) was even worse.

At Baintronics Arno Stark is examining the Howard Stark/Arsenal AI that he got hold of in #11. He learns how HS copied his own brain patterns into the Arsenal robot, and his wife Maria's into the computer that controlled the robot. (Here it makes it seem that Maria was dead when Howard did this, but the received wisdom is that the Stark's died together later in a car crash.) Both AI's fought the Avengers in their Annual #9 and appeared to be destroyed there. (But supposedly Arsenal continued into Hulk #282 and beyond.) Whatever, we are now shown Tony retrieving the brain engrams of both after AvAn#9, which is how he had them to use to run his VR eScape.

The heroic duo have followed the Manticore to Washington Square Park. Iron Man says he'll protect civilians while the more powerful Captain Marvel takes on Spymaster. He tells her not to worry about damaging his memory drive. But the villain gives her something else to worry about. He's found the override codes for Iron Man's armour and forces IM to fight CM. Carol promises not to kill Tony again. But Tony uses his direct neural interface to change the security codes and regain control.

Back at SU we learn that Andy Bhang didn't leave with his girlfriend Amanda. And now he's helping secure TS's 42 old armours. But Spymaster takes control of them all and they break out and attack IM and CM.

Jocasta is with *her* robot boyfriend Aaron Stack/Machine Man/X-51 in the secret robot bar The Uncanny Valley. An android couple are being hassled for looking too human. Jocasta recognises them as 2 of the androids Sunset Bain used in her scam dating agency in #4. They thank Jo because her stance on ethical treatment of robots and AIs meant that Baintronics wasn't allowed to deactivate them. Instead they were given personality upgrades and their 'skin' was repaired (after Bain sent them on a rampage).

When Jo returns to Aaron she tells him she's been thinking of upgrades. Aaron tells her she's perfect as she is. Except it would be cool to get Stark to give her boot jets. But Jocasta is considering much more than that.

Back at Baintronics Arno is reviewing how Tony used his parents brain patterns in eScape. We see Tony discussing them with Friday, who he has just given a body (#2) because of Jocasta's ideas of robot rights. He tells her that this means he also ought to create bodies for 'Howard' and 'Maria'. But for now he'll given them virtual bodies in eScape. Then we see a replay of the part in #10 where Tony tells his virtual parents that he knows he was adopted, and knows about their real son Arno. The shock of this news allows him to delete them. But now Arno blames Tony for 'killing' this version of *his* real parents.

In order to avoid destroying too many of his pet armours Tony Stark has to take it to Spymaster. He dazzles the foe with his uni-beam and rips into the Manticore. He takes the memory drive from the villain, and all the armours power down.

Later Tony uploads his missing memories, and gets his urge to drink back with them. Carol and Rhodey say they'll help him through this. Bethany Cabe is more concerned with how someone could hire Spymaster to steal the drive when Tony only put his memories in it 3 hours ago. JR reminds them that Baintronics gained access to their system during the eScape thing. (But they don't know Arno Stark is working with Sunset Bain.)

But now we see that Jocasta has come to see Sunset Bain to ask for a body like that of the androids in the bar. Sunset introduces her to Arno, and they say they can do that.

Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Edgar Delgado
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Penciler)
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Inker)
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Andy Bhang, Bethany Cabe, Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Spymaster (Spymaster 1), Sunset Bain (Madame Menace).

> Tony Stark: Iron Man: Book info and issue index

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