Arsenal was created by Howard Stark and a group of scientist during the Cold War. This superhuman fighting machine was called "Project Tomorrow" and it was to be deployed in case the Reds won the war. The robot was guided by a computer program called "Mistress" which was actually programmed with the persona of Maria Stark, Howard Stark's wife. When the Cold War wound down, Arsenal was placed in storage underground on the area that would later house Avengers Mansion.
Arsenal was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen and first appeared in Iron Man #114.
Mayor Story Arcs
The Menace Called Arsenal
Arsenal is activated decades later after mistakenly receiving a signal from Titanium Man which was meant for Unicorn whom the Avengers were holding prisoner. Arsenal begins to attack the Avengers believing they were communists. Arsenal overpowers most of the Avengers and Unicorn until Iron Man strikes Arsenal with excess heat from his thermal units causing massive damage. The Avengers then strike a weakened Arsenal who realizes that the unit's mission is not to be jeopardized and suddenly there is a burst of light temporarily blinding the Avengers. The heroes recover only to find that Arsenal has disappeared without a trace.
Today the Avengers Die
Some time later, Arsenal reawakens in his hidden chamber below Avengers Mansion and has self repaired and is programmed to protect from those that have power. The robotic unit remembers the Avengers possessing incredible powers. Mistress believes everything has fallen to the enemy and is confused. Mistress states she needs a living source from which to ascertain the present situation. Arsenal is determined to provide that source and ends up knocking out Beast and capturing Hawkeye.
Arsenal brings the two Avengers to Mistress because she wants to brainprobe them to gather information. The Avengers find out that Project Tomorrow is located deep underneath the Avenger's mansion. Mistress knows that the Avengers are coming and instructs Arsenal to stop them so she will have time to probe the "Axis enemies". Arsenal engages the Avengers and holds his own against the superhero team. Captain America tells Iron Man to find the computer that is directing the Living Weapon. Iron Man finds Hawkeye and Beast before they are probed and rescues them. Iron Man tells the computer that Arsenal does not have a chance and they are not the enemy. He tells the Mistress that the enemy was defeated over 30 year ago and that the Master made a mistake. Iron Man takes off his mask and reveals to the Mistress that Howard Stark has died and her son is an Avenger. Mistress is upset knowing her master will not return and proceeds to shutdown. The computer self destructs while Arsenal tries to fend off the other Avengers. Arsenal appears to self destruct after being struck by Thor's hammer and a hex bolt from the Scarlet Witch.
Not long afterwards, the Hulk and his cousin the She Hulk are at the Avengers Mansion. Suddenly they hear a scream from Jarvis and discover that Arsenal has emerged from beneath the mansion. Apparently Arsenal plunged beneath the sub-basement floor from the last battle and has repaired himself the best he could. Arsenal walks again in search of Mistress and finds himself against the two gamma radiated cousins. Arsenal manages to knock out She Hulk with his chest mounted cannon. The Hulk becomes enraged and ends up destroying the robot.
Gifted and Talented
The pieces of Arsenal were stored in the Avenger's facility where Quicksilver had Jocasta rebuild and reprogram the living weapon. Arsenal would attack the newest students of the Avengers Academy inside dining room # 38. Arsenal was able to come up with counter measures for most of the attacks but it was finally taken down when Finesse jammed open his chest cavity cannon with her baton and Hazmat shut the android down with a full spectrum blast. Quicksilver wanted to test the new students and give them the opportunity to show the veterans what they have learned. The students were in no real danger because Arsenal was programmed to use non-lethal force.
Powers & Abilities
The Arsenal unit possessed superhuman strength, durability and resistance to injury. The unit had a number of offensive weaponry: air jets, inertia darts, flamethrower, laser beams from his eyes, radiate an electro-stun field, multiple gun systems and a toxic gas dispenser.