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Tony Stark: Iron Man #17: Review

Oct 2019
Dan Slott, Francesco Manna

Story Name:

The Ultron agenda part 2: Heart of steel

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tony Stark: Iron Man #17 Review by (October 25, 2019)
This time it's Christos Gage helping with the script.

Arno Stark graduated from his iron lung to an 'Iron Man' armour, and from there to an exoskeleton he could wear under his clothes. He was working with the Extremis virus in IM(2013)#26, which Marvel Fandom Wiki claims lead to him curing himself and losing the need for even an exoskeleton, but it is unclear *when* he achieved this.

Arno's wording here suggests that his tech revived the existing bodies of Tony Stark and Jim Rhodes after they died. But Tony has been saying all this series that his current body isn't the 1 he started with. (Though sometimes he's made it sound more like he gradually rebuilt his body over the years. And certainly Arno here says he isn't *yet* able to create new human bodies to copy minds into.) Arno says he returned Tony and Jim from *near* death. This could well be true for Tony, who was only very severely injured in Civil War II, and was seemingly put in suspension to recover. But Tony himself has been claiming he *died*. And Rhodey certainly died in the opening salvo of CWII, and was in his grave for some time before new Tony dug him up.

January's solicitations say that this series will be replaced by Iron Man 2020, starring Arno instead of Tony. This certainly suggests that Tony won't be cured (or at lest not completely) by then, and may be 'dead' again.

Rhodey's actions this issue killing 'innocent victims' of Ultron suggests maybe he'll have to redeem himself by dying to stop Ultron as War Machine. This idea is supported by another bit of January news that in Avengers #29-30 Black Widow will be wearing the War Machine armour as War Widow.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #17 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Ultron (fused with Henry Pym back in Avengers: Rage Of Ultron GN) kidnapped Jocasta and Wasp intending to produce a fused 'bride' for himself. But Iron Man turned up to fight him and Tony Stark got fused with his own armour instead.

This issue we flash back to a woman coming to Ultimate Makeover s.p.a. (presumably this is supposed to be S.p.A. - Societa per Azioni - Italian for PLC) asking for their full upgrade package. Now she is 1 of Ultron's cyborg army rampaging through Avengers Mansion, being shot at by James Rhodes in his Manticore battlewagon. Rhodey's memories of being a cyborg make him react with lethal force 'for their own sake', despite Bethany Cabe telling him to restrain them for future cure - a cure he thinks is impossible. Edwin Jarvis wakes up and immediately switches into *his* Ultron mode. Beth short-circuits his implant again to render him once more unconscious. She leaves to get him to Stark Unlimited, hoping for a cure for the less-cyborged *him*.

Rhodey's fight is interrupted by 2 large battling cyborg figures bursting through the floor. 1 of them is Ultron/Pym. Wasp flies up and tells him that the other is Tony, now a mixture of fleshy parts and armour parts. Stark is struggling to retain his humanity. Pym tells him the pain will stop if he lets the transformation complete. Janet Van Dyne brings Jim up-to-date. Ultron wanted to merge the robot 'bride' Jocasta he created with Pym's ex-wife Jan who Jocasta was modelled on. But the process hit Tony instead. Rhodey asks what's happened to Jocasta.

Jocasta is down below with her (ex-)boyfriend Aaron Stack (Machine Man). She had already been turned half-human by Arno Stark's opposite full upgrade package, which Ultron interrupted last issue leaving her with 1 'human' arm and 1 robot leg but missing the other 2 limbs. Aaron was cut in half fighting Ultron last issue but he's still functioning well enough to donate a robot arm and leg as replacements. Jocasta is unsure it'll work, but her ex-lover assures her they're compatible.

Jocasta's semi-upgrade happened in Arno's lab at Baintronics HQ. The boss Sunset Bain is berating Arno for causing Ultron to invade the place (last issue again), leading to death and property damage and she says scarring her for life - actually a little scratch on her cheek. Arno claims his experiments will enable him to create living human bodies that can accept a person's brain engrams - effective immortality. He says he used his technology to cure the congenital disease which kept him in an iron lung for most of his life. It's what enabled Tony and Rhodey to come back from near death (dying in Civil War II, returning to life in Iron Man's Legacy issues). And he intends to use it bring his parents back to life. Sunset asks if it can fix her scar.

Tony and Ultron are still scrapping. Stark emits an intense uni-beam blast. Ultron shrugs it off. His robotic parts are still invulnerable adamantium and his fleshy bits are protected by a force-field.. Suddenly Pymtron is encircled by 1 of Machine Man's telescopic arms. But this 1 is attached to Jocasta's body. And a right hook proves her 'flesh' arm is powerful as well. Jocasta and Wasp then try to help Tony. Pymtron realises they both prefer Stark over him and decides to kill them all. His blast smashes open the front of the Mansion and all the combatants spill out. Rhodes in the Manticore tells bystanders to run away. They are frightened by the cyborgs coming out, including Iron Man.

Tony contacts Andy Bhang and Bethany at SU to see how the cures are coming. They've been trying in vain to separate Vision and Wonder Man who Ultrom merged between #15 and #16. They can't even restore the only-slightly cyborged Jarvis. They've got experts in biology and robotics but what they need is a super-scientist who can handle both subjects and more (ie someone like Tony). Then Dr Shapiro the talking cat offers his services. Turns out he has a Doctorate in Superhuman Biology. He says Ultron uses a molecular rearranger to modify his adamantium body. He suspects that Ulty is using it on flesh now. He asks for all the relevant files ... and some milk.

The fighting has spilled out onto 5th Avenue. Rhodey's still killing cyborgs while Iron Man, Jocasta and Wasp pile on Ultron. It doesn't do any good but Tony is only stalling until the Avengers get here. But Ultron reveals that he intercepted Stark's call and faked a response from Captain America. And he sent a distress call to lure the team all the way to Alpha Centauri. There's no help coming. He sends his cyborgs out to capture more humans for upgrading. (His goal is to convert the whole world.)

Tony says he's been fighting a losing battle keeping his armour and fleshy organs working together, but soon he'll die. But then he gets a message from SU saying Dr Shapiro has cured Jarvis. When Jim Rhodes hears this he realises he's killed people who *might* have been saved. Jocasta uses Machine Man's extendible leg to help her take Iron Man to SU for a cure.

Rhodey says he's going to kill Ultron. Ultron easily smashes the Manticore to bits, but Jim says he's just been holding on for the Avenger *he* called. Something bursts out of Stark Unlimited and passes Jocasta on the way there. Tony recognises what it is. Ultron's still ranting as Rhodes climbs out of the wreckage of Manticore. Jan tells him to get away but Jim says he hasn't finished fighting .... as the new improved War Machine armour arrives and enfolds him. He swore never to wear it because he died in it (the previous version). But now it's war!

Francesco Manna
Francesco Manna
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)

(Edwin Jarvis)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

(Janet Van Dyne)

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

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

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