In ‘Iron Man’ #16 we closed with Tony running off because of something he suddenly realized. It’s amazing how a single issue can ruin a run for you. As ‘The Secret Origin of Tony Stark’ story line comes to a close, we are left with two final tidbits (that I will be spoiling later in the review) that has the potential to once again change the dynamic of the character. I honestly didn’t feel that either one was necessary. One felt rather soap opera-ish and the other felt like it took away from the Tony we’ve known and loved.

So this story arc, which included Death’s Head and multiple time periods really ended on a low note for me. We’ll get to that in a moment though as we once again join Iron Man for the final installment of ‘The Secret Origin of Tony Stark’!

We enter the book and Tony is at a hospital named after his mother. We get quite a few cuts back and forth to dialogue between Howard and Maria Stark and to the current time of whatever Tony is struggling to come ot terms with.

So what ends up being the issue?

Spoiler time ladies and gentlemen:

The first big reveal is that Tony walks into a room and inside is his brother. He’s sick and confined to a bed but a pure genius and he is the one who was altered to be able to pilot The Godkiller. It wasn’t Tony all this time but his mysterious brother. Go go soap opera. Not only that, but we immediately learn that Tony himself was adopted! He’s not an actual Stark and was able to do everything he has done on sheer talent. Not inherited genetics either. A lot of this makes sense for the current story arc but for all of Iron Man’s history past that? Ugh!

The soap opera ends with the teaming up of with his Tony’s brother trying to go forward and save humanity with his brain. SO coming soon we’re going to see Tony’s intelligence, his brother helping out, and all of the knowledge from 451’s damaged body helping out humanity.

This feels so far removed from what is going on in the Marvel Universe right now and retcons so much of Tony’s past in an annoying way that I almost want to drop the book in frustration here. There’s still a lot of questions to be answered and unless this is revealed as some new kind of setup where Tony is being played and he really is Howard and Maria’s son, I don’t think they’ll be able to ever play this off properly.

I’m sorry, Kieron, but I don’t like what you did with this story arc. I was enjoying it up until these reveal and really feel that it falls short for Stark in a way that hasn’t happened in his series since pre-Civil War.

I’m not happy. I don’t know how you are going to redeem the story line after this one. These were changes to the character that I can’t say were at all needed for character development. Also with everything else going on in the Marvel Universe I can’t see this being helpful for true plot development. All of the build up on this story arc for this? I guess we’ll wait and see but if something huge doesn’t happen in the series that gets me drawn back into it on the Iron Man side of things I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to follow this one.


Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Mahmud Asrar