Everything You Need to Know About '2020'
Get all the background you need with this look at 'Tony Stark: Iron Man'!
The year is 2020 and that means one thing: a new era for Iron Man.
If you read TONY STARK: IRON MAN, then you know that whole series has been building to the event which now sees Tony's brother Arno wearing a suit of armor, working with Sunset Bain, and trying his damndest to destroy all artificial intelligence.
If you haven't, or if it's been a while since you've read those issues, we're here to help with a bit of a crash course in all things Armored Avenger leading up to this moment!
First off, if you need a crash course in the original, alternate reality Iron Man of 2020, we highly recommend scoping out this summary of the original Arno Stark's history. From there, the big question revolves around who the Earth-616 Arno Stark is. Back in the IRON MAN series that launched in 2012, we learned that Howard and Martha Stark had another son, Arno, with some help from Rigellian Recorder 451.
Thanks to some tinkering from both the alien and his own father, the boy wound up unable to move around. To keep him safe, his parents put him in a kind of iron lung and hid him away. A genius himself, Arno eventually revealed himself to Tony and also figured out a way to rewrite his very biology to cure himself. The restless young man now attempts to do everything he can to help the world now that he has the physical freedom to do exactly that.
Things have been equally wild for Tony Stark over the past several years. He rebooted his memory back when Norman Osborn took over control of S.H.I.E.L.D., but would eventually return with an older copy of his own thoughts and memories. A few years later, after CIVIL WAR II, he cured a pesky hole in his chest courtesy of Captain Marvel—by growing a new copy of his body! Along the way, he also learned that Howard and Maria were not his biological parents. That distinction belongs to former rocker and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Amanda Armstrong and Jude, a Hydra double agent.
All of that led directly into TONY STARK: IRON MAN which not only found the Armored Avenger facing off against the Controller, a dragon, and other threats, but also launching an all new endeavor, Stark Unlimited, which he intended to take in an all new direction by actually taking the feelings of artificial intelligences into account, partially because he thought of himself as one given his position as a biological construct with downloaded memories. More importantly, the series brought Sunset Bain, head of Baintronics—and main villain of Machine Man in the IRON MAN 2020 reality—into a series of conflicts with Stark and company.
Sunset reappeared in TONY STARK: IRON MAN #2 with a versatile tank-like vehicle called the Manticore. When Bethany Cabe—Stark's head of security who was being manipulated by the Controller at the time—alerted Stark to the fact that the weapon of mass destruction had been built with illegally acquired Stark tech, the hero joined War Machine and they attacked. In the end, when Tony realized that Rhodey preferred the vehicle to his armor, Stark bought the Manticore from Bain.
From there, Iron Man got more involved with the Beta Testing and launch of eScape, his virtual reality world. In issue #4, the Baintronics-owned dating app Make-A-Match.com secretly set humans up with masquerading robots that appeared to be their perfect match so that they could secretly steal data and then attack their "mates."
In the following issue, tellingly titled "20/20 Vision," Tony's brother Arno uncovered a major flaw in a plan to create unthinking, genetically engineered cattle for beef consumption. In the wake of the messy ending, he hired Baintronics to help clean up the situation. This also launched a relationship with Sunset.
With the "Stark Realities" story arc (in issues #7-11), the Controller used a Baintronics factory equipped with high-tech 3-D printers and shipping drones to equip illegal eScape users with actual weapons all over the world. So, while they thought they were playing cowboy in the virtual reality, they were actually firing real weapons with real lives at stake. Sunset claimed to have no knowledge of the villain's plans and offered to help her rival, but needed access to the inner workings of eScape which allowed Arno to look around as much as he wanted.
During a confrontation in eScape with his own Motherboard A.I., Stark whipped up a Godkiller armor that looked an awful lot like the one worn by the Iron Man of 2020. In mag #11, he had Baintronics' 3-D printers create that one in the real world to take out the super-charged Controller. He then set the armor to self destruct inside the factory, hoping it would destroy any and all traces of it.
Even with the reveal that a major villain had used her facility, Sunset Bain explained to her board that it was actually a great way to show off the site's capabilities! By TONY STARK: IRON MAN #15 Arno had figured out to copy his father's engram, digitally encoded personality, and memory files that Tony had integrated into eScape. In that same issue, Jocasta approached Arno about helping her enhance her humanity. The actual operation got interrupted in issue #16, though, when Ultron Pym busted in and kidnapped Jocasta. That gave him enough time and experience to bring Howard and Maria Stark back to life based on their engrams.
In the wake of "The Ultron Agenda" (in issues #16-19), Baintronics schemed its way into taking over Stark Unlimited, which was made all the easier by Tony Stark running off to parts unknown, having convinced himself that he wasn't the real deal! With both companies behind him, Arno dedicated all those resources to recreating his brother's God-Killer Armor, referring to it as the Iron Man of 2020.
On New Year's Eve, Arno donned the armor and flew off into the sky dedicating himself to saving all life on Earth leading directly in to IRON MAN 2020 and many of it's tie-ins! Now he finds himself dealing with threats like the A.I. Army led by Machine Man.
Tony Stark, now considering himself an A.I., joined the A.I. Army as Mark One, wearing a version of his original suit. To cover his tracks even further, Mark made it seem as though Tony Stark had started drinking again, which understandably worried his friends. Mark One and Arno finally met at the end of IRON MAN 2020 #2, but the actual battle will take place in ish #3!
Read TONY STARK: IRON MAN on Marvel Unlimited now! Then prepare to pick up IRON MAN 2020 #3 at your local comic shop on March 4!
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