Anthony Edward Stark, called Tony by most, is an eccentric genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist. He is also an armored superhero known as Iron Man. Fresh off from defeating enemies the world over, Stark reluctantly agreed to serve as a consultant to Nick Fury’s peacekeeping intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Stark joined the Avengers and helped defeat the Chitauri during the Battle of New York. Due to the battle, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, leading him to create the Iron Legion. After the Battle on the Norco, the final event of Aldrich Killian’s War, he destroyed all of his armors with the Clean Slate Protocol.
However, when the Avengers were officially reassembled, Stark created new armors to fight the remnants of HYDRA. Once the threat had been ended, Stark, with the help of Bruce Banner, built Ultron as a peace-keeping A.I. to protect the world, but it defected and chose to destroy humanity instead. Through the work of the Avengers, Ultron was defeated. After the war, however, Stark retired from the team, still haunted by his role in the chaos the A.I. created.
The guilt of creating Ultron and causing so much destruction and loss of life eventually convinced Stark to sign with Thaddeus Ross and create the Sokovia Accords. However, Stark’s strong support of the accords lead to a disagreement with Captain America, who very much opposed the plans. When Rogers proceeded further to disobey orders by protecting Winter Soldier, Stark led the man-hunt for his old ally, igniting the Avengers Civil War.
“I never got to say goodbye to my father. There’s questions I would’ve asked him. I would’ve asked him how he felt about what his company did, if he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch of man we remember from the newsreels.”
Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark was born on Friday, May 29, 1970 to Howard and Maria Stark. Howard hired a butler named Edwin Jarvis before Tony was born. Jarvis became a good friend to Tony as he grew older. He watched over Tony throughout all of his childhood.
Tony’s early life was often dominated by the absence of his father who he would later describe as ‘cold’ and ‘calculating’. Growing up Tony had issues with his father, who Tony has said never told his son that he loved him, or even that he liked him. Since Tony was so young, Howard never was able to tell him his plans for him.
Tony’s father would constantly talk about his friend Captain America, so that he could inspire Tony to do great things in life, which highly annoyed young Tony Stark. When he was four years old, he made his first circuit board. When he was almost seven he built a V8 motorbike engine. At sixteen, he won the 4th Annual M.I.T. Robot Design Award. When Tony was seventeen he graduated MIT at the top of his class. He also met James “Rhodey” Rhodes, and they became best friends.
One thing about Tony’s childhood that annoyed him was his nanny that cared for him until he was 14.
While he was in high school, Stark hacked into the Pentagon on a dare by some friends.
New CEO of Stark Industries
At the age of twenty-one, his parents, Howard and Maria, died in a car crash secretly orchestrated by HYDRA. For a few months Obadiah Stane, a family friend, took over the company since Tony was too young to be CEO of the family’s company, Stark Industries. Around this time, Tony’s family butler, Edwin Jarvis, died. A few months later, he inherited Stark Industries, becoming the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 Company in history. After building a custom mansion, Tony made an A.I. system that helped out in the house. He named the system “Just a Rather Very Intelligent System”, shortened J.A.R.V.I.S., after his butler.
Eventually, James Rhodes joined the United States Air Force and became the liaison between Stark Industries and the United States Armed Forces.
Tony made Stark Industries thrive into becoming one of the most advanced companies in the world, making technology that seemed futuristic to most.
“A famous man once said, ‘we create our own demons’. Who said that? What does it even mean? It doesn’t matter; I said it because he said it, so now he was famous and then basically getting said by two well-known guys. I don’t…argh. Let me start again.” ―Tony Stark[src]
On New Year’s Eve in 1999, Stark, with his scientist paramour Maya Hansen, attended a science conference in Bern, Switzerland. There he met a scientist named Ho Yinsen and he arrogantly avoided a gifted but crippled scientist, Aldrich Killian, who wanted Stark’s backing in his endeavor Advanced Idea Mechanics. Stark purposely told Killian to meet him on the rooftop of the building with the intention of not turning up. This lead Killian to wait all night while Stark slept with Maya in her room.
Before His Kidnapping
Testing Weapons in Arizona
“I hate when people tell me my place. Which reminds me, Celeste, Eloise, let’s go see my place!”
Stark and Rhodes went to a weapon demonstration at the Yuma Proving Ground. Pepper Potts gave the weapon’s specifics to the generals while Stark and Rhodes went to a night club. Stark enjoyed the company of two girls while Rhodes tried to convince him not to go to Afghanistan. He was then attacked by a man whose girlfriend he previously seduced, but Rhodes easily defeated the attacker. Later, Stark, Rhodes, and the girls went to Stark’s Mansion.
Final Day of Freedom
“You’ve been called the Da Vinci of our time. What do you say to that?”
“Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t paint.”
“And what do you say to your other nickname, the Merchant of Death?”
“That’s not bad.”
―Christine Everhart and Tony Stark[src]
After a presentation of Stark’s successful past, James Rhodes was given the honor of presenting the Apogee Award to him at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. When Obadiah Stane gave Rhodes a signal saying that Stark was not there to receive it, Stane took the award in Stark’s honor. Shortly after the award ceremony, Rhodes brought Stark the award while he was gambling in the casino inside of Caesars Palace. Rhodes got very angry at him for not being present for the award. Right when Stark was about to leave the hotel, Christine Everhart tried to interview him for Vanity Fair. Stark deflected her questions with some swift quips and the two ended up spending the night together at Tony’s ocean front house.
In the morning Stark began working on one of his cars. His assistant Pepper Potts reminded him about his trip to Afghanistan. He got to the plane three hours late. He and Rhodes soon got drunk and had a small party on the plane. Stark presented his newest weapon, the Jericho missile, to the military spectators and demonstrated its capability. After the successful presentation Stark had a drink and got into a convoy vehicle to leave.
Becoming Iron Man
“You got a family?”
“Yes, and I will see them when I leave here. And you, Stark?”
“So you’re a man who has everything, and nothing.”
―Tony Stark and Ho Yinsen[src]
During his business trip to Afghanistan to demonstrate Stark Industries’ newest weapon, the Jericho missile, Stark’s convoy was attacked by insurgents. While soldiers were dying around him, he attempted to find cover and call for help when one of his own company’s bombs landed near him and exploded. The blast caused him to lose consciousness and embedded several pieces of shrapnel in his chest, several fragments dangerously close to his heart.\
He woke up some time later with an electromagnet attached to his chest. Hooked up to a car battery, the electromagnet kept the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. Stark had been captured by the terrorist group, the Ten Rings, which offered his release if he built a Jericho missile for them.
Knowing they would never keep up their end, Stark and fellow captive Ho Yinsen instead made a plan to escape. In order to improve Stark’s condition, he and Yinsen created a miniature Arc Reactor, a smaller version of the power source previously invented by his father, Howard Stark, and Anton Vanko, which they embedded into his chest to supply energy to the electromagnet protecting his heart. Together, they secretly began building an armored suit to help them escape.
Soon the pair enacted their escape plan; however, the booby-trapped door the pair had rigged with an explosive was set off. Yinsen realized that they did not have enough time to power the suit before the terrorists arrived. He took a gun and held back the terrorists, but was mortally wounded. With his last words, Yinsen reassured Stark that it would be all right to leave him behind and urged him not to waste his life. Angered by Yinsen’s death, Stark stepped outside; the suit protected him from the onslaught of bullets, and he used the suit’s flame-throwers to kill several terrorists, destroy their stockpile of Stark Industries produced weapons, and escape, though his suit was destroyed as he crashed in the desert.
Upon being picked up by the Air Force and returned to the United States, Stark met with Pepper Potts; he asked to first be given a burger, then called a press meeting. At the meeting, Stark finished his burger and declared that his company would, for the foreseeable future, no longer manufacture weapons. This move shocked the press, many declaring that he must be suffering from PTSD. His father’s friend and business partner, Obadiah Stane, told him that this move was blocked by the board members shortly after, worried that the decision would ruin the company.
Marks II and III
“Test complete. Preparing to power down and begin diagnostics…”
“Uh, yeah, tell you what. Do a weather and ATC check, start listening in on ground control.”
“Sir, there are still terabytes of calculations required before an actual flight is…”
“J.A.R.V.I.S., sometimes you gotta run before you can walk.”
―J.A.R.V.I.S. and Tony Stark[src]
In the months that followed, Stark retreated from public view, focusing on improving the design of his new armored suit, refining its size, movement, and flight capability. He asked Pepper Potts to help him take his old Arc Reactor out and to put in a stronger one that would be used to power his suits.
He eventually perfected the flight power after much trial and error, taking the silver Mark II suit for its first test flight, despite J.A.R.V.I.S.’ warnings that there had not been enough tests. He soared high in the sky over the city and shouted in delight at his success. However when he pushed the suit to see how high he could fly, he learned the suit can freeze, which disabled its power. Stark fell from the sky and was just able to restart the suit moments before he would have hit the ground. He flew back to his mansion, and promptly fell though the ceiling, destroying his piano and sports car.
During his first public appearance since his return to the United States, Stark met Phil Coulson, an agent of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division; they arranged a meeting to discuss the events of his kidnapping. Stark however was too distracted by seeing Pepper. He danced with her and almost kissed her before he went to get them both a drink. While ordering the drinks, Stark was accosted by Christine Everhart, who showed him pictures of Stark Industries weapons in the hands of terrorist groups, including the Jericho missiles he refused to build for them. He also discovered that Obadiah Stane had been supplying weapons to both the U.S. troops and the terrorists, as well as being the one to shut him out of the board while he recovered.
Faced with the realization of what his company had done, Stark donned his suit and flew to Afghanistan, liberating Gulmira, Ho Yinsen’s home village, from the Ten Rings. While destroying their weapon stockpiles, he accidentally drew the attention of the United States Air Force and his friend and company military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes.
Two F-22 Raptors were ordered to take out the unknown target, and during the confrontation, Stark called Rhodes and revealed his identity to him in an attempt to have the attack called off. However, while trying to evade the attack, one of the Raptors lost its left wing when it accidentally collided with Stark. The pilot ejected shortly afterwards, but his parachute jammed. Stark dived down to help the pilot release his parachute before escaping.
Duel of Los Angeles
“You had a great idea, Tony, but my suit is more advanced in every way!”
“How’d you solve the icing problem?”
“Might want to look into it.”
―Obadiah Stane and Tony Stark[src]
Determined to make amends for his mistakes, Stark sent Pepper Potts to find Stark Industries shipping records, so that he could track down the illicit shipments and destroy them. While hacking into the system, she discovered that it was Obadiah Stane who hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark in Afghanistan, but they had reneged on the deal when they realized who the target was. She also discovered that Stane had recovered Stark’s original armor prototype and had reverse-engineered his own version. However, his team of scientists, not possessing Stark’s genius, could not reverse engineer a miniature Arc Reactor to power the new suit.
Stane, realizing Potts’ discovery, stole the Arc Reactor from Stark’s chest to power his new suit, leaving Stark to die. Using his first reactor, which was not designed to power his latest armor, Stark battled with Stane atop Stark Industries Headquarters and the surrounding streets. Stark tricked Stane by forcing him to fly high enough so his suit would freeze and caused Stane’s suit to fall from the sky. Stane survived and continued to attack him. Stark eventually killed him when the full-sized Arc Reactor that powered the laboratory was deliberately overloaded by Potts, electrocuting Stane and causing him to fall into the Arc Reactor and explode.
Meeting with Coulson
“I think I know how to fight.”
“Not yet you don’t. You hit like an inventor. Fighting isn’t like science or technology. You are supposed to cheat.”
“Yeah. I know. I’ve watched professional wrestling. Rhodey thinks you’re trying to recruit me.”
“Something like that. You’ve created something amazing. Something that may well change the world. But the armor’s creation was only the first step. Now comes the real battle. That is if you’re willing.”
―Tony Stark and Phil Coulson[src]
After fighting Obadiah Stane, James Rhodes tried to get Stark into an ambulance to see if he had any internal injuries. The ambulance was a fake one sent by S.H.I.E.L.D. to retrieve him. Now that they could finally get to talk to Stark, Phil Coulson talked to him after they dropped him off at a small theater. Coulson viewed Stark’s fighting strategy from his fight with Iron Monger on a projector screen. He told him he needed to become a real fighter and that he would be trained by skilled S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
I am Iron Man
“I’m just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I’ve made, largely public.”
“Just stick to the cards, man.”
“Yeah, okay. The truth is… I am Iron Man.”
―Tony Stark and James Rhodes[src]
The next morning, news had spread of Tony Stark’s alter ego, which was dubbed “Iron Man” by the press. Stark held a press conference where S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson gave him a fabricated cover story and advised him to state that Iron Man was his bodyguard. However, during the course of the conference, in a moment of self clarity, Stark instead announced to the public that he himself was Iron Man.