Iron Man was rendered speechless by the perfect insult, one that pushed back his traumatic origin as he faced a new type of enemy.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Iron Man Annual # 1!
Tony Stark, aka the Invincible iron man, he just got the perfect insult, and it came from a villain who has managed to get under his skin in a way few have ever managed before. The villain in question is the Advisor, a being he recently captured and experimented with on Miles Morales, also known as Spider-Man. Hear about Miles’ suffering at Iron Man Annual # 1 – by Jed MacKay and Ibraim Roberson – Tony Stark is full of rage, storming the Advisor’s base and taking on Quantum, a new villain imbued with the powers of the Space Stone.
The story is part of Infinite destinations – a story that takes place throughout Marvel’s annual 2021, revealing the new hosts of the Infinity Stones. But while Quantum is a fearsome opponent capable of dodging Tony’s suit to hit him where it hurts, it’s actually the Advisor who really makes his blood boil. On Miles Morales: Spider-Man # 27, the Advisor is described as, “An evil algorithm. Exploitation itself gives life.” In fact, Tony is so offended by Miles’s suffering because it reminds him of his own kidnapping and imprisonment, although it reflects that in Miles’s case, the victim is an innocent child, not the beneficiary of the war that Tony once was.
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Sadly, it turns out that the Advisor is ready for Tony and eager to learn from him. When Quantum teleports Iron Man to an advanced testing facility, the Advisor states: “We will now begin the interim testing of Subject 045-02.” Tony is amused and responds: “I’ve been called a lot of things. I’ve even deserved most of them. But ‘045-02’ is a new one.” but the Assessor shuts him up when he notices, “While the main interest lies in the 045-02 theme, we will look at its use by 045-02B, its main pilot.” Tony is enraged at being fired, considered a secondary element of his armor, but the comment hurts even more because it is sincere. The Advisor doesn’t mind having the upper hand over Iron Man – he’s sincerely willing to use him for anything he can learn and then discard him like he did Miles.
The moment seems to hit so hard because it forces Tony to relive the trauma of his origin. Trapped in a cave at the mercy of people who understood him only in terms of the weapons he could create, the iconic Tony, “I am Iron Man,” is a statement that whatever armor he may build next, it is his genius and skill that defines him as a hero. The Advisor takes that off, treating Tony Stark as nothing more than the pilot in his armor at some point, and Marvel’s genius billionaire philanthropist playboy is truly baffled.
Of course, Iron Man recovers, passing a series of tests to defeat the Advisor and safely discharge his AI consciousness into his suit. Sadly, the Advisor is simply an evil algorithm, and a backup is manifesting elsewhere, noting that due to Stark’s victory, he only managed to retain five minutes of his test from Subject 045-02, noting this: “provides significant setbacks in meeting board expectations. ” Miles Morales: Spider-Man has hinted that the Advisor is part of a larger and even more disgusting system, apparently one that is focused on developing his own Iron Man armor.
Tony’s genius will allow him to use his copy of the conscience of the advisor to study this new vile enemy, but so far, it seems he has yet to find the real mastermind behind the evil deeds that have put him on edge. It is fascinating that the callous and dismissive insult that actually got under the inventor’s skin came from a machine’s consciousness, revealing that while Iron Man, also known as Subject 045-02, can bear to be threatened and insulted, what he really finds offensive is being discarded.
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