Kieron Gillen wraps up the epic ‘Secret Origin of Tony Stark’ storyline, with yet another shocking revelation. I’m not sure how I feel about it at the moment, but man, it’d ballsy, and I’m very excited to see where Gillen is going with this.
After initially revealing that Tony Stark had been manipulated since before his birth by 451 to be a technological messiah capable of piloting the Godkiller ship, Gillen swerved us by having Tony not actually be able to pilot the humongous death-robot. Why did this happen? Well, it’s because Tony is not the baby that 451 tampered with.
Once again flashing back, Gillen shows us that Howard Stark was nowhere near as trusting of 451 as we thought, and that he set about monitoring what was happening to his baby. Howard discovers that 451 had built in a failsafe that would cause the baby to die at Age 30. Howard worked to counteract this, and removed it, but he did more harm than good, as the baby was still born damaged, and was unable to breathe without technological help. Howard and Maria hid this baby, and adopted Tony as a decoy so that 451 would never now. This baby, named Arno, is still alive today, and has spent his entire life in a Hospice, inside an Iron Lung (hey, he’s an Iron Man too, very clever!), unable to speak except through a Stephen Hawking type deal, and waiting. Tony meets with him, tells Arno that because 451 is dead, he is free, and they plan to work together.
The revelation that Tony Stark is adopted is massive, and as I said, I’m not sure how I feel. It raises a lot of questions, like why the heck does Tony look so much like Howard (is it just the facial hair?) and what are the odds that a genius would adopt a baby who would turn out to also be a genius? But then that gets back to the very core of this story really, the question of nature or nurture. 451’s initial reveal said that Tony Stark’s genius was pre-designed nature, but now we see that really, it’s all nurture.
But there are a lot of exciting plots that can spin out from this. Who are Tony’s real parents? What is Arno’s personality like? Could he become a villain? Will he ever come into contact with the Godkiller? What does this Arno Stark have to do with the other one, the one from the year 2020 (which is only 6 and a bit years away)? Man, Gillen has turned Iron Man’s world around all over again, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Carlo Pagulayan’s artwork was once again very strong, even when it’s just breakdowns finished by the inker, Scott Hanna. I think he’s brought a great half-way point between Land and Eaglesham for this book, and I’m glad he’s sticking around.