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Tony Stark: Iron Man #16: Review

Sep 2019
Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

The Ultron agenda part 1: Man & machine

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tony Stark: Iron Man #16 Review by (September 21, 2019)
Jim Zub continues to help Dan Slott with the script.

Vision's brain patterns shouldn't now match Simon Williams because he lost them when his mind was wiped in West Coast Avengers #42-45, and he later got new brain patterns from Alex Lipton in Av Spotlight #40. In #4 of Vision's 1st mini-series it was revealed that his mind contained both Alex and Simon, but still that should make him very different from just Simon.

I haven't mentioned before the provenance of the robot bar's name. The uncanny valley refers to a region of close-resemblance to human which evokes a bad reaction. A robot which is obviously not human is OK. A robot which is almost perfectly human is OK. The uncanny valley contains robots which are very close to human but not close enough.

So Jarvis wasn't the Ultron Sentinel version after all.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #16 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Jocasta has come to Arno Stark at Baintronics to get her robot body upgraded to to a more humanoid android version. Arno is partway through the operation when Ultron Pym (the Ultron/Henry Pym hybrid) forces his way into the room to take away his 'bride'. Jo protests that she's going through this voluntarily. But Ultron isn't angry - he sees her current half metal/half 'flesh' state as making her more like him.

At Stark Unlimited Tony Stark and Andy Bhang, watched by Security Chief Bethany Cabe and James Rhodes, are trying unsuccessfully to separate the merged Vision and Wonder Man who last issue attacked Iron Man. We know that the pair were captured by Ultron last issue and presumably merged against their will. But now they seem perfectly happy with the arrangement. Tony is willing to use extreme measures to de-merge them in order to find out what they've done with his girlfriend Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp.

Andy thinks 1 of the factors that hampers the de-merging is that the brain engrams of Simon Williams and Vision are nearly identical, because the synthezoid Vision's brain was based on Simon's (way back in Avengers #57-58). Tony wonders if Vision Man came after Jan because she too has a brain double Jocasta. And since both Jocasta and Vision were created by Ultron he guesses that's who's behind it all. He doesn't know how Ultron survived being thrown into the Sun (Uncanny Avengers v3 #12). [He also presumably doesn't know of Ultron's subsequent activities during Secret Empire (while Stark was 'dead') and Infinity Countdown (in a galaxy far far away).]

Beth can't contact Jocasta who's blocked calls from SU personnel after quitting the firm in disgust over Stark's treatment of the AI Friday (#7-8). But she knows where to find Jo's boyfriend Aaron Stack - the secret robot bar The Uncanny Valley. She's right and we see him there getting drunk on machine oil. There's much discussion amongst the 'bots about Tony Stark's recent actions and whether he's now an AI. Aaron takes a definite anti-Stark stance. A robot asks him about Jocasta, but then her image inducer fails and she's revealed as Bethany Cabe.

She's surrounded by angry robots but suddenly Iron Man enters in the new UltronBuster armour he happened to have been working on (despite believing Ultron was no more). A bar fight ensues which of course spreads to other patrons fighting each other. Drunken Aaron tries to use his Machine Man abilities against Iron Man but winds up complaining that it's Stark's fault Jocasta has gone to Arno at Baintronics to get a new body. This is all news to Tony including his smarter brother Arno colluding with his rival Sunset Bain, but Beth thinks this explains how Bain was able to hack into SU's network during the eScape affair.

The 3 of them head out with Rhodey in his Manticore fighting machine to Baintronics HQ where they see signs of recent battle. Security Chief Gauntlet confirms that it was Ultron. Sunset Bain accuses Tony Stark of sending Ultron to trash the place. But Tony bullies her into taking him to see Arno. Arno says he let Ultron take Jo because he was only going to continue the process Arno had already started. But he helpfully says he's deduced that Ultron Pym will be based at the disused Avengers Mansion with its secret tunnel entrances.

Our intrepid 4 now fly to the Mansion where they're met by Edwin Jarvis who tells them Jan and Jo are safe inside. But Bethany spots something on the back of Jarvis' head and zaps it, breaking him out of Ultron's control. She then stays to make sure Edwin's OK. Rhodes can't get the Manticore inside the building. Tony suggests Jim might want to try using his old War Machine armour again, admitting that he's modified it so Rhodey can call it to him. But James is still leery after his PTSD attack (#2) so he stays in the Manticore to cut off Ultron's escape route. And Iron Man enters the dragon's den with still-drunk Machine Man.

Ultron is monitoring their progress. He has Jan and Jocasta floating in tubes and says he's going to molecularly fuse them (as he did to Vision and WM) into a perfect being like himself. Iron Man bursts in uttering threats, with Machine Man close behind echoing him. Ultron Pym easily holds them at bay and starts to tear Aaron to pieces. Tony begs him not to hurt the females. Ultron says the process is perfectly safe - he performed it many times ...

... and outside the other 3 are assaulted by various half-flesh/half-metal humans. Rhodey flashes-back to presumably the period when he was a cyborg (covering Secret Invasion and Dark Reign) and panics and starts using Manticore's guns against the attackers. Bethany shouts for him to stop hurting innocent people.

Back inside Jocasta begs Aaron to free her but Ultron rips him in 2. Ulty trades blasts and force-shields with Iron Man, who tells the Pym half that he's mad like he always has been. Jan Van Dyne chimes in saying Hank always hurt her when they were together and he's hurting her now. Hank replies that he's always given her increasing powers and that's what he's doing now. Tony twists the knife by saying Jan *always* preferred *him*. Aaron-in-pieces says Ultron will never have the relationship with Jocasta that *he* has. This all drives Henry Pym mad and sends Ultron's processor into a loop.

But the fusion countdown has begun. IM breaks Jan and Jo free from their tubes, but that causes an explosion when the fusion process kicks in. And when the smoke clears Tony Stark has been melded with his armour.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes


(Edwin Jarvis)

(Janet Van Dyne)

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

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

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