Iron Man (Anthony Stark)
Place of Birth
Before the Iron Mask
Born to Howard Anthony Stark and Maria Collins Carbonell Stark, Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark was born with extremely high intelligence. At the age of 15 Stark entered the undergraduate electrical engineering program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he graduated at the top of his class. At the age of 21 he inherited Stark Enterprises when his parents were killed in a car accident.
A Self-Made Superhero
During an East Asian conflict, Stark Enterprises developed mini-transistors that Tony thought would help the war effort. While checking on his plant, which had been plagued by sabotage, Tony was injured by exploding shrapnel and captured by warlord Wong Chu. Chu forced Tony and another captive, famed physicist Ho Yinsen, to create weapons for him. All the while the lethal bit of shrapnel was slowly working towards Tony’s heart. Tony and Yinsen created an iron suit that would keep Tony alive and allow them to escape. During the escape Yinsen was killed, sacrificing himself to allow Tony time to change for the first time to Iron Man. Iron Man made short work of Chu and his men.
On his way home Tony met Helicopter pilot James Rhodes – the future armored partner of Tony Stark called War Machine – and returned to America. After he arrived, Tony worked to improve the Iron Man armor and made Iron Man Tony Stark’s personal bodyguard to disguise his identity. In his early years Tony Stark became the corporate sponsor of the superhero group the Avengers and as Iron Man help found the group with Thor, Ant-Man, the Wasp, and the Hulk. Notable villains from these early days include Mandarin, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow.
Hero of Iron, Feet of Clay
Although Anthony Stark promotes a rich, playboy persona his life is far from perfect. His biggest personal problem is his lifelong battle with alcoholism. Other problems include repetitive losses of companies by takeover, bankruptcy, and many other business-related threats. His hardest fall left Tony homeless, after which he handed the Iron Man identity over to his friend Rhodes. But our hero Stark has always recovered. He soon started a new company, Circuits Maximus, and swiftly returned as Iron Man. When Stark International‘s new Chief Executive Officer, Obadiah Stane, tried to take over Stark’s new company, Stark retaliated and took back his family’s company.
All during this time Tony Stark’s health was in rapid decline. Even after a heart transplant that saved his life, Tony still had health issues. His armor’s cybernetic interface was causing his nervous system to deteriorate. It became serious enough that he had to fake his own death and enter suspended animation to survive. At this point Rhodes donned the Iron Man identity once more, but this time he equipped himself with a new armor created by Tony called the “Variable Threat Response Battle Suit”, later known as the War Machine armor. When Tony awoke Rhodes was so enraged by the deception that he left Tony and made War Machine into its own identity.
The Crossing and Teen Tony
Some time later the villain Kang the Conqueror took control of Tony Stark in order to use him against his friends. (Though it was later revealed that it wasn’t Kang at all, but Immortus, during the course of the Destiny War.) As a sleeper agent Tony was forced to kill Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara) and Crystal‘s Nanny, Marilla. To battle the combined forces of Iron Man and Kang, the Avengers were forced to recruit a teenage version of Tony Stark. Teen Tony stole a suit of armor from Stark International and aided the Avengers in battle. When the adult version came face to face with his teenage self he was finally able to overcome Kang’s control. The older one sacrificed himself and defeated Kang; he died as a hero.
Teenage Tony Stark continued to fight with the Avengers and managed to take back control of Stark International. Shortly after this, the mutant Onslaught appeared. The young Tony and many of the world’s superheroes fought Onslaught in New York City’s Central Park. There the young Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Hulk, and other heroes seemingly lost their lives defending the Earth. However, they were actually brought into a pocket universe created by Reed and Sue Richards‘ son, Franklin. Events soon forced Franklin to choose a world to survive, but instead he restored to life the original, older Anthony Stark, and the heroes to Earth.
Tony’s armor eventually grew so sophisticated that it became sentient. At first Tony allowed the armor to do his job as Iron Man, but it became increasingly dangerous. It even committed murder, slaying the villain, Whiplash. When this occurred Tony had no choice but to face the armor. During the confrontation Tony went into cardiac arrest due to an injury he previously sustained battling Whiplash. Proving itself a hero, the armor ripped out its own components and created a cybernetic heart for it’s creator, sacrificing itself in the process.
Tony later revealed to the world that he was Iron Man. After this revelation he took the post as the President’s Secretary of Defense to monitor the use of his technology by the United States Military. He was subsequently forced to step down from the position when the Scarlet Witch went out of control and killed members of the Avengers, forcing them to disband. Tony publicly stated that he would no longer be Iron Man but that there would always be one. Though of course Tony continued to be Iron Man while maintaining a secret identity. More recently, Tony injected himself with a Nanotech virus that integrated many of his suits functions with his own biological systems. He has also been a member of a secret group known as the Illuminati, along with Professor Charles Xavier, Reed Richards, Blackagar Boltagon, Dr. Stephen Strange, and Namor for many years.
Recently, during a televised raid of a house containing select villains that had recently escaped from the super villain facility at Ryker’s Island prison called the Raft, the villain Nitro detonated himself and the resulting explosion killed the majority of the New Warriors, as well as the children at a nearby elementary school and the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. In the wake of the tragedy, Capitol Hill proposed the Superhuman Registration Act, a government movement to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction, requiring all costumed heroes to unmask themselves before the government and subject themselves to federally mandated standards. This event triggered negative public opinion against the super heroes, in which sole blame from the public was placed. The international organization S.H.I.E.L.D. quickly propositioned Captain America to lead a squad of “cape killer” soldiers, trained to fight super-powered humans. He refused, and after being attacked by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Anti-Superhuman Response Unit, went underground. Iron Man, however, was in full support of the act. After numerous skirmishes and a full out super hero battle in downtown New York, Iron Man emerged victorious; however his former ally Goliath (Bill Foster) had perished combating Iron Man’s forces, and Captain America was assassinated on the steps of the courthouse after his surrendering. In the wake of the war, Stark was offered the position as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he accepted the offer.