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Comic Book / Iron Man 2020 (Event)

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This is the year I save all life on Earth, AND NOTHING WILL STAND IN MY WAY!

Iron Man 2020, is a six-issue event comic by writers Dan Slott & Christos Gage and artist Pete Woods which began in the titular year. It continues from Slott’s previous series, Tony Stark: Iron Man.

Named after the 1980’s comic of the same name, it also stars an Iron Man named Arno Stark. Except here, Arno has usurped his adopted brother, Tony Stark. After "Tony Stark" has been revealed as an artificial being, he’s been de-legitimized as a person by his own brother, who has appropriated everything from his business to his rebuilt fortune, his home and even his identity as Iron Man.

This is all in Arno's quest to save the world, which he declares to the world on New Year's Day 2020. Specifically, everything he's done is to combat a great threat coming from space, which requires that he unify organic and A.I. life. However, the now supposed A.I. of "Tony Stark" isn't going to go quietly into the night.


The event serves as the Grand Finale to Slott's Iron Man run, after which a new Iron Man series launched... in the year 2020. For convenience's sake, this wiki calls that series Iron Man (2020, Ongoing) to differentiate it from this event.

This comic contains examples of:

  • Always Someone Better: Arno tries to position himself as this to Tony, and while it's hinted that he might be a little smarter in the most technical sense, Tony has him beat everyday of the week in the Crazy Enough to Work department.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Arno becomes one for Tony, become more vicious and having Took a Level in Jerkass.
  • Big Bad: Arno Stark.
  • Canon Immigrant: The event's entire premise is an attempt to fold the main timeline's Arno with a (previously unrelated) character with the same name from an alternate future (specifically identified as 2020) who was also Iron Man 2020.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: An inverted version of this; the robot rebellion are able to infiltrate various buildings by exploiting the fact that most humans believe such buildings don't have a thirteenth floor.
  • Control Freak: Arno, to the point where it's arguably the biggest part of his character - he tries to control every person and AI around him, up to and including the entire planet. It turns out that this is because he's genuinely trying to save the world, and thinks that only he can do it.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: "Tony" tends to design tech along these lines, which Arno can't quite keep up with, to his intense aggravation, prompting a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Cross Through: Ironheart's title smashes headlong into the Outlawed storyline as well.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Arno's rematch with "Tony" does not go well for him - as in, "Tony" beats him in a fight so brutally one-sided that even the A.I.'s that have excellent reason to hate Arno are winning, combined with a cutting speech about how Arno's armour was obsolete before he even put it on.
  • Dead All Along: "Tony" (Clony/Mark One) is an artificial being with a backup copy of the original's memories. The real Tony died when he fought Captain Marvel back in Civil War II. Issue #4 reveals this was never the case.
  • Didn't Think This Through: H.E.R.B.I.E. admits maybe telling the Fantastic Four to #$^#@$ off was probably a bad idea when it came to thinking of ideas to save Tony.
  • Fantastic Racism: Clony a.k.a. Mark One is a victim of this due to the rise of anti sentiment towards Artificial beings. Clony has reacted by joining the A.I. Army, a radical group full of artificial beings including Albert, Awesome Android, Egghead, H.E.R.B.I.E., Human Robot, Machinesmith, Machine Man, Quasimodo, Super-Adaptoid, Walking Stiletto, and numerous others.
  • Grand Finale: For Slott's Iron Man run.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Extinction Entity. Though it turns out to be a delusion of Arno.
  • It Only Works Once: Invoked; Tony observes that the Body Backup Drive process that brought him and Rhodey back to life is subject to diminishing returns, so he doesn't advise them using it on a regular basis.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: As the story progresses, Arno's sweet nature devolves into matching the original alternate universe Arno as he's determined to protect Earth from something in space trying to invade. By the events of Issue #4, he's taking from Ben Reilly's playbook in replacing humans.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Ultimately Tony is forced to trap Arno in one to stop him basically brainwashing the human race. Tony doesn't have time to convince Arno that his belief in the Extinction Entity is just a delusion, and since Arno's illness will kill him in less than a year, putting him in an artificial environment is the best way to treat him without being cruel.
  • Mythology Gag: The entire event is basically one. See Canon Immigrant above.
  • The Reveal:
    • Issue #4 of the main title: Tony has always been Tony no matter what his body looks like, the mysterious Ghost in the Machine is actually F.R.I.D.A.Y., the mole in Stark Unlimited is actually Sunset Bain's cat and Arno replaced Sunset with an AI version and the real one is in stasis.
    • Issue #6 reveals that the Extinction Entity was never real; only a delusion caused by Arno's disease returning — and that he'd die in less than a year.
  • Sanity Slippage: The entire series is about Arno's; in fact, the very threat he was worried about was only a delusion caused by his disease returning.
  • Snap Back: "Tony" is using an updated version of his first armor. He now goes by Mark One.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: At the climax James Rhodes is back in a War Machine armor, his PTSD related phobia of wearing armor being explained away as an unexpected flaw of the Body Backup Drive process that resurrected him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: If delegitimizing his own brother wasn’t enough, Arno took his business, home, and Iron Man moniker from him as well. A far cry from the sweetheart he was when we first saw him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Arno has one when he realizes that the 13th Floor can hack into his satellite miles above the Earth.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arno Stark who wants to take control of the world’s machines and humans to fight the Extinction Entity.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Continues the running theme of artificial intelligences fighting for equal treatment. Arno callously destroys any hostile artificial intelligence without a second thought and dismissed the backup of Tony Stark as having no legal right to assets under the Stark name. Meanwhile, even though he dismisses backup Tony as a fake he recreates their parents from backups out of sentiment. He forces them to stay inside at all times, but even that is because he was only able to recreate their bodies using his own DNA as a template and therefore they 'inherited' his disease.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Look back up at the solicits and notice the obligatory Wolverine title, in this case, about the originally Evil Knockoff android Albert and Tyke Bomb Elise-Dee.