Writer: Orson Scott Card
Artist: Andy Kubert
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Synopsis: To bring some of you up to date (and it is important to do so), Howard Stark and his wife divorced because she wanted his fortune. She, not worthy of mentioning her name, schemed the plot to take over Stark Enterprises with Zebediah Stane. The two were married, conceived a child named Obadiah (the kid will never be able to catch a break, will he?) and came to take possession of an innovative “bio-armor.” In the meantime, Howard had also remarried to a beautiful geneticist named Maria. Shortly thereafter, they conceived little Tony, and Maria was infected by a virus she had been working on. But… during childbirth, Maria passed on, leaving Howard and Tony to live on.
The one thing that Zebediah and his wife (Howard’s ex-wife) did not know was that the bio-armor was not the intellectual property of Stark Enterprises, so their hostile takeover had failed. Howard, Tony, and their co-workers (now much more like family) fled from Stane.
Stane was dogged in his pursuit of the bio-armor and searched the globe for Howard and Tony. Having finally caught up to the Starks, Obadiah proceeded with the most inhumane torture you could imagine, including washing off his bio-armor, probing his mind through a needle-equipped helmet, and cutting off part of his foot. Tony was rescued, Stane was sent to prison, and it looked like things would be smooth from then on. Stark’s ex-wife even came to ask if Obadiah could be referred to a “special school for gifted children.”
Tony began to mature into a normal super-intelligent teen with untold riches, a genius for a father, and a pretty good disposition. At the end of last issue, Tony gives Rhodey a suit of armor to help him with the racist white bullies at the school. It seems that they have been encouraged to put Tony into the school furnace by a mysterious stranger obviously associated with Stane.
As this issue unfolds, Tony (recovered from his injuries) and Rhodey being attend an ultra-secret government school for super-genius-level kids of insanely wealthy parents conveniently hosted at the Baxter Building. We also see the very dark side of Zebediah Stane…
Critique: Although I’m not always a fan of Kubert’s art, such as some of the looser interpretations of the X-Men (remember the Wolverine without a nose!), there is some very solid work here. Card delivers a very solid storyline that has given me a series I would like to continue to read (unlike the Amazing Spiderman debacle and the New X-Men “thing”!). This is definitely one story I’m picking up as a TPB so my kids can enjoy it too!
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