Tony Stark Discovers the Truth About His Past in 'Iron Man' Comic

Iron Man's alter ego isn't who he thought he was, as he discovers in this week's "Iron Man" #17.
Paul Renaud/Marvel Entertainment
Iron Man's alter ego isn't who he thought he was, as he discovers in this week's "Iron Man" #17.

Everything Tony Stark believed about his past was wrong. In the latest issue of Marvel Comics' Iron Man series, writer Kieron Gillen completes his "Secret Origin of Tony Stark" storyline by turning the history of Marvel's most famous Avenger on its head in a particularly subtle way that could mean big changes down the line.

The storyline, which ran from May's ninth issue of the current Iron Man series through to today's 17th, revealed that everything that Tony believed about his childhood was wrong for two very important reasons. Firstly, he wasn't actually the son of Howard and Maria Stark at all -- instead, he had been adopted by them as a child. Secondly, Howard and Maria did have a child of their own -- one who had been genetically modified to have superior intelligence and perhaps even superpowers.

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According to the writer, the storyline was intended to challenge Tony's perception of himself, as well as introduce an important new character into the Iron Man mythos. "When you discover something about yourself, you reprocess," he told the Associated Press in an interview about the story. "How does it churn in the gut? How do you re-examine your life?"

Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso promises that the fallout from the revelation will be felt in future issues. "When you introduce a twist this big to an iconic character's life, you have to do due diligence and think through all the angles," he said. Among those angles is the question of just who Tony's biological parents are, and just what part his newly discovered brother Arno will play in his life moving forward.

"We will definitely have something to say about adoptions and what it means," Alonso promised. And for all those longtime Iron Man fans who recognize the name "Arno Stark" as being the real name of the villainous Iron Man of 2020 -- when it comes down to it, how likely is it that that'll be entirely coincidental?