Kieron Gillen's latest story in IRON MAN, The Secret Origin of Tony Stark, wrapped up with yesterday's issue and it certainly lived up to the story's name. The writer set out to alter the Avenger's origin and IRON MAN #17 absolutely accomplishes that. So, what exactly went down? We have a basic recap for you, but before moving forward, we want to remind you this is obviously loaded with spoilers!
While exploring space and getting into all kinds of trouble, Tony Stark is saved by a Rigellian recorder named 451. Eventually, it's revealed it was no mere coincidence the android bumped into the popular character and has elaborate ties to the hero's parents, Howard and Maria. Despite their best efforts, the couple was unable to produce a child and 451 offered to give them the technology they would need to finally have one. It turns out 451 is fascinated with Earth and believes it holds the potential to bring peace to the universe. However, it knows the rest of the cosmos doesn't exactly have an optimistic opinion of our little planet, and if they wanted to, they could destroy us with little effort.
Humanity simply didn't have the means to stand up to the civilizations out there who could mean us harm and 451 wanted to rectify that. The android aimed to give Earth an individual who could greatly accelerate Earth's technology so it could defend itself from potential attacks. 451 wants this individual to be Howard and Maria's child. After thinking it over, the two agree to have their offspring modified by the alien android and in doing so, we're lead to believe everything Tony Stark has done is thanks to genetic modifications. This apparent change was met with mixed reactions and understandably so. No longer were Stark's great accomplishments due to his own wit, intellect and drive. Instead, he was allegedly programmed to serve this greater purpose.
Later, 451 also reveals that Iron Man's fascination with exoskeletons and armor stems from another purpose in his life: to pilot a 25,000 foot tall armor called the "Godkiller." Even though the hero has improved Earth's weaponry by leaps and bounds, it still needs a nuclear deterrent on a cosmic level and it doesn't get more impressive than this nearly 5-mile tall war machine. Much to 451's surprise, Tony is unable to control the Godkiller and because of this failure, a planet is destroyed by the towering armor. Long story short, 451 thinks Tony needs more motivation, so the android aims the Godkiller at Earth. Naturally, Tony is able to save the planet, but not by eventually taking control the armor. Instead, he makes the behemoth undergo a warp jump to a far away dimension and in turn, defeats 451. Although, 451's remains don't go with the huge armor -- Tony keeps them.
So, if Howard's child was programmed to control the Godkiller, why couldn't Tony? Well, the reason behind that is the massive bombshell in the story: Tony's not the biological child Howard had -- Tony's adopted. When Howard agreed to work with 451, he found something in the alien's work that he couldn't quite understand. Eventually, he reached the conclusion it was a "genetic clock" which would kill his son at a certain age. Howard worked to counter this and injected a biococktail into his wife, hoping to interfere with this "suicide gene." Unfortunately, it had a negative impact on the child and shortly after birth, he was unable to breathe without medical aid. Howard knew this was because of his interference and finally told his wife the truth. Knowing 451 would one day return, the couple knew they had to hide this from the technologically advanced 451. To keep his interference a secret, they adopted a child -- a child who would one day become Iron Man. Yes, this means all that concern over Tony having "genetic modifications" was for nothing and Stark ultimately remains a self-made man when it comes to his life's feats.
After putting together all of the pieces, Tony finally visits his brother in the Maria Stark Foundation Hospice. His brother, Arno Stark, is hooked up to a variety of equipment but can still communicate through typing (which he does at a very fast speed). After a much needed heart to heart, Tony claims that 451 is no longer in the picture and Arno's existence no longer needs to remain a secret. Together, they can now work to fix some of the world's biggest problems.
The next issue begins a story called "Iron Metropolitan," so it's clear the intelligent duo will aim to change every day life in cities. How? Well, we'll just have to read the story to find out. But will Arno develop an armor of his own which will support his vitals and in turn, serve as a nod to Iron Man 2020? We have no idea what Gillen will throw our way from here, but it certainly looks promising and is loaded with potential. This will give the writer a chance to set aside the cosmic grandeur and instead focus on giving this book a whole lot of heart.
Viners, what do you think of Tony Stark's new origin? Are you pleased with the final twist or were you hoping for something different? Share your thoughts with us below!