WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Invincible Iron Man #595 by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Stefano Caselli and Marte Gracia, on sale now.
If there’s one thing you can depend on when it comes to Tony Stark, it’s that he’s always got a contingency plan. As a futurist, Tony is one-step ahead of his competition and is known for putting his scientific mind to work, creating new suits of armor as the superhero Iron Man.
Over the years, we’ve learned that tinkering with technology isn’t the only thing Tony has excelled at. He’s altered his physiology to better control his armor through Extremis, deleted his entire mind so his memories wouldn’t fall into the hands of Norman Osborn during the “Dark Reign” (a period when the former Green Goblin was in control of the world security task force H.A.M.M.E.R.), and turned his consciousness into a fully-functional artificial intelligence for his replacement, Riri Williams aka Ironheart. Long story short, the man isn’t afraid of a little self-experimentation.
Surprisingly, Tony saved his most impressive feat for last. He has essentially rebooted his body in order to recover from the injuries he sustained during the second superhuman Civil War. Here’s how it all went down.
The Search For Tony Stark
Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Stefano Caselli and Marte Gracia kicked off Invincible Iron Man‘s Marvel Legacy era with “The Search For Tony Stark” following the the armored Avenger’s mysterious disappearance. Supporting cast members Amanda Armstrong (Tony’s biological mother), Mary Jane Watson and the artificial intelligence Friday are working with Ironheart to figure out whether Tony was taken, or if he played a part in his apparent kidnapping.
During the quartet’s investigation, Friday points out how Tony’s biology now includes wavotech implants that allow her to track his location. (A real-world example would be microchipping the family dog.) Unfortunately, Friday is currently unable to connect to the implants, which means they’ve been removed, someone has shut them down, or, worst case scenario, Tony is dead. At the same moment this was explained, a hairless man emerged from a chamber in a secret facility, physically unable to walk. It took all of his strength to crawl across the floor and slip on an older model of the Iron Man armor.
Thus far, the main question of “The Search For Tony Stark” revolves around the identity of this mystery person. Sure, the man seems at peace in Iron Man armor, but he couldn’t possibly be Tony Stark… could he? His signature facial hair is nowhere to be found, automatically eliminating him from the prestigious Awesome Facial Hair Bros.! Invincible Iron Man #595 answered this question by revealing the hairless gentleman is, in fact, Tony, a revelation that offered up a new question: How did this happen?
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