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The 2nd major story arc in Iron Man’s fan-favorite new direction continues. American soldiers are mysteriously vanishing in the Middle East – and it's up to Iron Man to investigate. Tony confronts a deadly new force in Iraq – to find there's a deadlier new super-villain pulling the strings! 
 
Arriving in Iraq, Tony joins Marines on a trek up north to Hatra to search for the missing soldiers. However, en route men armed with paintball guns cover their transportation with a supercharged oxidizing agent in Ishtar's name. It eats though Stark's new souped-up humvee as well as his armor, disabling some of its more useful functions before he can stop the attack. A scan sent to DIA HQ reveals it might be something a Saddam tumcoat codenamed "Vitriol" was working on before disappearing. In al-Hadr the convoy rescues a local man and his daughter Leyla from marauders. The man asks them to take Leyla with them, promising she can guide them through Hatra's ruins. Once there however, they find a pool containing the bioweapon, and Leyla dives into it, emerging trandformed to claim she is a manifestation og the goddess Ishtar.

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