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Tony Stark: Iron Man #19: Review

Dec 2019
Dan Slott, Francesco Manna

Story Name:

The Ultron agenda part 4: Stark truths

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tony Stark: Iron Man #19 Review by (December 21, 2019)
Christos Gage co-writes with Dan Slott again.

Ultron merged with his creator Henry Pym in the Avengers: Rage Of Ultron GN and they've been like that ever since. At the time we all believed that Hank was still in there, and later Ultron did speak as though both personalities were present although he mostly behaved like himself. And now we are led to believe that Pym died in the original fusing.

However that theory isn't actually put to the test here. And during the Infinity Countdown event Pym's soul, or only a fragment thereof, supposedly left Ultron to live in Soul World within the Soul Gem/Stone - and was killed there. So the way is still left open to restore human Henry Pym to the Marvel Universe.

My speculations in the past 2 issues about the Iron Man 2020 series and related event have turned out to miss the mark somewhat. Tony Stark doesn't stop being Iron Man because he's temporarily 'dead' or stuck in a cyborg state - he just ceases to believe he's real and goes off to drown his sorrows in drink again. Meanwhile Jim Rhodes doesn't stop being War Machine for any similar reason. So the fact that Black Widow is wearing War Machine armour in Avengers #28 doesn't necessarily mean she's taken over the role. It may not even be the same armour - it certainly looks different on *her*. And the character on the cover of various 2020 event issues seems to be male-shaped in comparison.

Whatever - this is the end of *this* series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tony Stark: Iron Man #19 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Ultron has been turning people into cyborgs under his control but now his plans are unravelling.

He (accidentally it must be said) fused Tony Stark with his Iron Man armour but last issue Dr Shapiro the talking cat scientist undid that. Now still-weak Tony has donned an older armour. But he currently doesn't have an AI to run his armour so he's had to go a long way back to a 'manual' suit. The staff of Stark Unlimited recognise it as from his Golden Avenger days (but I would have thought most of his armours fit that description). But he tells Bethany Cabe and Edwin Jarvis to get everybody out before Ultron comes for revenge. Then he recruits the help of Shapiro and Andy Bhang, and asks Wasp and Jocasta in the robot body of ex-AI Friday to keep Ultron busy until he's ready. The pair are happy with that task since Ultron tried to merge *them* into 1 cyborg 'bride', which left robot Jo needing a new body (last issue again).

Ultron is still in Manhattan where he defeated Vision and Wonder Man last issue but still has to reckon with War Machine. However the insane robot rustles up 2 of his remaining cyborgs to form a human shield. James Rhodes doesn't want shoot them now he knows there's a way of separating the flesh from the metal, but his targeting system is damaged so he can't risk trying to hit Ulty. Ultron has no such problems and blasts our hero. And he leaves for SU ...

... where Jocasta's ex-boyfriend Machine Man has arrived having scavenged some replacement limbs from dead cyborgs. Jo knows how Aaron Stack hates the idea of having (part-)fleshy bits but he says he put up with it to get to her. And he recognises her code (mannerisms) even in her new body. The 3 scientists have quickly created a big 'gun' to fire Shapiro's cure. Tony apologises to Andy for having 'dragged' him into working for SU and thus putting him in danger. Andy replies by listing all the good experiences working here has given him.

And at Baintronics Sunset Bain and Arno Stark watch the proceedings via their hack into SU's security cameras. With them are Arno and Tony's parents Howard and Maria, actually copies of their long-dead minds placed in new artificial bodies by Arno.

Ultron arrives and attacks Aaron, Jocasta and Wasp. At this point I'll remind you that for a long time Ultron himself has been a cyborg who is part Henry Pym. Pym accuses his ex-wife Janet Van Dyne of choosing Stark over him - again. And then downs all 3 with 1 blast. But then Iron Man attacks the foe (and the same(?) 2 cyborg flunkies as earlier). But it's only a distraction until Bhang fires the gun which divides the henchborgs into flesh and metal, leaving the humans dead.

Pymtron accuses Stark of now being a murderer but Tony counters that they died as soon as the villain cyborged them. And Machine Man chips in that the cyborg parts he took confirm that. Ultron asks what about Tony and the previously-merged Vision and Wonder Man, who survived being split. Stark replies that WM's ionic energy body and Vision's phasing synthezoid body were a special case, and he too is an artificial being (since the real Stark died in Civil War II).

This is a shock to Howard and Maria at Baintronics, who also now begin to question *their* status.

Tony now threatens to have Andy fire the gun at Ultron, separating out the Pym parts. And Ultron will discover that he's *never* been Henry Pym. Hank died when they fused (in the Avengers: Rage Of Ultron graphic novel). The robot doesn't want to chance finding out this is true so he surrenders.

Jocasta's Friday body is now heavily damaged, but Tony tells Aaron that he'll fix her. Jarvis and Bethany have sent for more Avengers. Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Thor show up (and I think there's Dr Strange in the background). They encase Ultron in a tube of Wakandan Vibranium sealed with Asgardian runes until they can put him somewhere more permanently secure. Vision, War Machine and Wonder Man have joined them. Rhodey tells Carol Danvers he's coping with the trauma of wearing the War Machine armour again, and he's relieved to learn that the cyborgs he killed in the past few issues were actually already dead. Carol also checks on Tony but he claims to be OK. (He doesn't want to tell her that she actually *killed* the real Tony Stark in Civil War II and he's just an artificial copy.)

After the others have left it's just Tony and his girlfriend Jan who doesn't believe his last statement to Captain Marvel. Wasp knows about his doubts and tries to convince him he's real by sharing a kiss. But he says she deserves someone better and flies off.

We now have an epilogue spread over the following weeks setting us up for the new Iron Man 2020 series.

Tony Stark confesses to Senator Brickman's Congressional Hearing (see #15) that he is an AI and solely responsible for recent problems at Stark Unlimited. Brickman conspires with Arno Stark and Sunset Bain. Arno publicly claims that he created the AI Tony and his body and therefore he owns SU and everything the fake Tony created this series. He takes over the company and merges it with Baintronics, fires Security Chief Bethany Cabe and takes possession of Jocasta/Friday. But he can't get the War Machine armour because Jim Rhodes has taken that to the military. But Arno's not bothered because he wants to rebuild the Godbuster (or Godkiller) armour (see #10-11).

Machine Man (all-metal again) enters the secret robot bar, the Uncanny Valley. The denizens are complaining about Brickman's new law that denies AI's any rights. Aaron Stack incites them to revolution. In another bar anonymous Tony Stark prepares to  take his 1st real drink. (Since it wasn't *him* who had all those problems with alcoholism years ago, and the drinks he had in #9-10 were in virtual reality.) In Arno's apartment Howard and Maria Stark are sharing a drink on New Year's Eve. Arno dons the Godbuster armour and flies to Times Square to see in 2020. (And it looks even more like the armour the original 'future' Arno Stark/Iron Man 2020 wore than it did in #10-11.)

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Andy Bhang, Bethany Cabe, Dr Shapiro, Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Miles Brickman (Senator Brickman), Sunset Bain (Madame Menace).

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

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