Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where I am still stuck on giving you no context Endgame spoilers. This week, we’re reading Iron Man 2020 #1!
How’s It Different?
Hmmmm, Royale With Cheese maybe? It is set in one of Marvel’s many possible futures, specifically the cyberpunkesque future of…2020. Tony Stark is dead and his distant relative Arno Stark has taken over as both CEO of Stark International and Iron Man. Arno isn’t, however, a super-hero – he uses the armor as a gun for hire.
What’s The Story?
After his humiliating defeat at the hands of Machine Man, Arno Stark’s position at Stark International is in trouble. He takes a mercenary job from business rival Marcus Wellington for a quick cash infusion, something that he should be more up to handling. His mission is to rescue the Wellington’s daughter from a gang of terrorists holding her for ransom on private tropical island, but there is more going on here than Stark knows, machinations behind the scenes that could get Arno and his charge killed if they’re not careful…
Best of Differences
- Arno Stark, introduced as an antagonistic force in the pages of Machine Man, gets much more fleshed out here. He’s still not the good man his predecessor was, but he isn’t exactly a cold-blooded gun for hire either.
- The story does an excellent job of portraying a near future that is both cyberpunk sci-fi and not too ridiculously over-advanced. If anything, it’s technology is behind that of the “real” Marvel universe of 2020 – Arno’s armor isn’t nanotech or artificially intelligent or anything!
- The story makes excellent use of the USSR’s break-up as an origin for the Irkutsk Liberation Front terrorists that Arno battles. Arno battling (former) Soviet forces is also a handy tip of the cap to Tony’s earliest foes.
Worst of Differences
- Wellington has an elderly, hoverchair-bound head of security named Howard. Howard is revealed on the last page to be Tony Stark, which raises a lot of questions about why he was working for a guy not unlike Obadiah Stane or Justin Hammer andhow Arno came to be CEO of Stark industries/the new Iron Man/guardian of Tony’s legacy if Tony Stark isn’t actually dead.