- You know, when that mystic virus of your old friend first hit me, whatever that was... I thought I was afraid at first... But no... No, no, no... It simply made me realize: there's nothing to be afraid of, if you will just simply... Give in to it... So I did. I embraced the miserable, f**ed-up failure that I was... And the same miserable, f**ed-up failure that I still am...
- -- Iron Man
- -- Iron Man
Anthony "Tony" Stark was born to parents Howard and Maria Stark. In his parents' untimely demise, Tony subsequently inherited his father's legacy that was the renowned Stark Industries, an unparalleled mega-conglomerate which mostly manufactured weapons for the United States military under Tony's directorship. Growing up as a brash but brilliant inventor, Stark was self-described as a genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist. With his immeasurable wealth and exceptional technical knowledge, Stark was one of the world's most intelligent and powerful men, and enjoyed the playboy lifestyle for many years. During a conflict in Afghanistan, however, Stark was captured by terrorists and, with a piece of shrapnel in his heart, was about to die. Constructing a suit of iron armor that would also help with his recovery, Stark broke out of captivity and journeyed back home to the United States where he built an advanced suit of armor and become the heroic armored avenger, Iron Man.
A Mystical Alliance
Throughout his great journey to heroism as Iron Man, Stark became a publicly-renowned figure across the globe, especially after he and other heroes first formed the team now famously known as the Avengers in pursuit to stop Loki, his Masters of Evil, and their army of the extraterrestrial Chitauri, to which they were thankfully successful in defeating which subsequently saved the world from the worst case scenario of cataclysmic destruction, almost at the cost of his own life. Due to the battle, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, leading him to create the Iron Legion to safeguard the world and help him while he recovers from the great trauma he had to experience from that point on forward. Unfortunately, Stark would also devastate his relationship with his friends, family, which had sadly broken his friendship with Jim Rhodes and even caused his engagement with his fiancee Pepper Potts to end after a series of tormenting bickering and bitter arguments, something that Potts couldn't handle to deal with watching her own loved one slowly descend into madness believing it would be better that she and Stark "take a break" while Stark recovers. Unfortunately, as much as Potts would have wanted her love recover in her momentary absence, the effects of her leaving had Stark become more and more distraught, rendering him to alcoholism and return into his play-boyish persona once more.
Nevertheless of his slow and painful recovery and his depressing isolation, the selfless incident in New York which the world had witnessed would eventually lead to an unexpected alliance between Stark and the mystic sorcerer Doctor Stephen Strange, in which the latter along with his master, the Ancient One, had suddenly come for the former's help in a clandestine quest to deal with a powerful entity of arcane universal origins with Stark's intelligence and technology. Initially skeptic at the existence of magic and sorcery, Stark would eventually come in terms of agreement secretly helping Strange and the rest of the Masters of Mystic Arts against the interdimensional entity that was simply named Nightmare as a desperate way of distracting himself from realizing how mentally and emotionally torn he was on the inside, making up an arrogant facade that he wanted to simply explore magic and debunk its mysteriousness with science and technology.
However, little did Stark himself knew, Strange was secretly sensing something dark and corrupted within the superhero's soul, making Strange question whether he and the Ancient One had made the morally righteous decision of recruiting the emotionally-fragile hero in such a mystically-threatening mission a few weeks after the latter was only starting to recover from a nerve-racking trauma afflicted by the Chitauri Attacks. Stark inside was aware that he was having such difficulty handling his near-death experience in his battle with Loki, but he doubted his thoughts and feelings nonetheless in favor of "doing something productive" in preference over helping himself recover through his regularly-scheduled psychological treatment, which he arrogantly deemed "redundant" and "unnecessary" when it comes in the "hero business," something that he claims to be be his first and only priority after he distanced himself from everyone else that he knew.
After that point, Stark primarily focused studying and preparing ever tech and equipment needed for his battle against Nightmare in the latter's own dimension. Stark continued his mission for days helping Strange and the Ancient One, finding Nightmare as the mastermind behind the reason why Stark himself was still worsening in his mental and emotional state even in his stages of recovering. Eventually, Stark and Strange defeated Nightmare, albeit at the cost of the Ancient One and other sorcerers' life and Stark almost losing his sanity in the process trying to escape Nightmare's hellish, fear-inducing mind games.
In the final moments of the battle of Nightmare's home dimension, Stark destroyed all of his armors (all were manually-powered with magic) with the once-disposed Clean Slate Protocol which seemingly obliterated Nightmare's true, celestial form in the end and finally killed him for good. In the wake of Nightmare's defeat, Strange originally had Stark be unwillingly immersed under a spell to make him forget every single trace of memory about the existence of Nightmare and magic altogether, only for Stark to tell his new ally moments before Strange would have done what he was meant to do, something that convinced the sorcerer to change his mind and overall decision.
Moreover, Stark convinced Strange to form a clandestine alliance not even the Master of Mystic Arts or the Avengers would be aware of its existence. Together, they formed the covert initiative named the Illuminati, which was a team of heroes tasked with sharing information and strategy, operating relatively successfully initially, despite their unique traits and considerable differences in nearly every way with the same goal of secretly protecting the Earth from such cosmic threats they deem too serious and too risky for the whole world to know, just like Nightmare's villainy of absolute terror. Strange was amused with Stark's heroic proposal, confirming the official formation of the Illuminati.
Returning back into the normal world after the battle of Nightmare's World, Stark continued his abusive life of alcohol and debauchery, arrogant enough to fully cancel all of his plans to fully recover via any psychological treatment and instead "party as if there was no tomorrow" on his mansion in Malibu, emotionally overwhelmed with hubris from his success in dealing with the cosmic entity Nightmare and his very realm. For days until a week has passed, Stark felt as if he had never felt anything displeasing or simply bad in his life, believing that he never needed the very people who had recently left him, such as Rhodey and Potts, the same people who were basically his family before the great trauma of the Chitauri Attacks had inadvertent changed his life for the worse.
That phase of so-called "greatness," as Stark had once phrased it, would only last for that same week, in which one night after a sensual session with his fellow Avenger and good friend Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark himself would suddenly and fearfully realize how alone he was due to his reckless, unintelligible actions. This was the moment a sense of fear had stricken into Tony as if it was a perfectly-sharpened spear thrown directly into his heart. At the same spot, Stark greatly bled with tears knowing it was too late for him to fix everything. Romanoff tried to console with an emotionally-broken Stark, only for her mourning to start intensely coughing, to the point were he and Romanoff horrendously noticed that Stark was coughing out blood. Not only was it blood, but the blood was colored black. Romanoff was confused with the situation, although Stark had a guess on why it was the case, reminiscing his time and exposure on Nightmare's World.
As Romanoff had left the Stark Residence the following day for the Avengers Tower, Stark began to study and analyze his darkened blood, comparing it to his previous samples inside his laboratory. Two days went by as Stark started experiencing symptoms such as coughing and sneezing more blackened blood, frequent migraines, and insomnia. With it, he would also involuntarily dream of tormenting and traumatizing visions about his past whenever he gets the chance to sleep. By the end of his experiment, Stark's initial hypothesis was proven to be true: something, which he believed to some microbiotic lifeform, in the nightmarish realm has infected him while he was there, making Stark a symptomatic carrier, its first carrier. However, what Stark had failed to realize that the very microbiotic lifeform he thought was infecting him only existed in his mind as a mere idea, and mysteriously, it was only becoming real as he thinks and starts to believe it is one. Stark underestimated its magical nature, not knowing that he was dealing with an "astral virus" that feeds off its host's negative emotions, most notably its fears and doubts.
Anxious that Strange would do something "unacceptable" and "humiliating" to his reputation if Stark would tell the sorcerer what has infected him, the egoistic latter instead came to the very person he hoped would help him figure out the nature of the mystical virus: Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, an individual who also happens to be his fellow Illuminati teammate. On the day Stark met with Richards at the Baxter Building in Manhattan, the former had brought the samples of his infected blood among other components he had used in his previous experiment. Amalgamating his tech with Richards', the two scientists conducted another experiment developing an Extremis variant filled with different antibodies, which would serve as a proto-vaccine for the virus, in which a desperate Stark injected the nanites into himself. Stark would later return back into the Avengers Tower to check out on Black Widow to find out whether Reed's theory was correct, who also had recently came to the tower after a mission dealing with Taskmaster, only for Stark to witness the worst thing that he expected shouldn't have ever happened: Romanoff herself was also infected, and she has not handled the symptoms of the virus quite well as Stark had. During their interaction, Romanoff felt uneasy, starting to hallucinate as she once thought Stark was Alexi Shostakov, her former lover turned foe back in Russia. Romanoff ended up having her a mental breakdown after seeing a series of visions that she greatly feared, rendering her to lash out at Stark out of a sudden.
A fearing Stark tried to defend himself, only for the ravenous Black Widow to overwhelm the former with her deadly fighting skills which knocked out Stark in the process before Romanoff tried to escape the Avengers Tower in sheer confusion on what she's experiencing at that moment. Thankfully, however, fellow Avengers Captain America and Hawkeye were able to arrive at the scene in time, managed to stop and confront their comrade at the last moment. The three fought in a brief and reluctant brawl, ending in favor of the two heroes' teamwork to unwillingly sedate their fellow Avenger gone rogue and bring her under the care of the medication staff within the headquarters. Stark's worry continues to worsen, especially after he notices that Romanoff had impulsively bitten Rogers' arm out of self-defense before the former was incapacitated, a behavior he deemed as "coincidentally unusual."
At that moment, Stark was in a realization of terror that he might have unleashed something that was literally out of their world, something far worse than deadly, though what's worse was that Stark had already made the scenario worse for not telling Strange or any magic about it. Still fueled by his festering fears and solidified by his usual egoistic pride, Stark only considered as a last resort and instead has decided to try and deal with the growing situation all by himself and his tech, along with major assistance from Mister Fantastic once again, who felt a little bit conflicted about his friend's unthinkable decision despite trusting his guts to begin with. The two geniuses continued to escalate their research on the development of the vaccine while they continue to monitor the recently-infected Black Widow and the bitten Captain America, much to Stark's concern for his close friends.
Powers and Abilities
- Nightmare's Dream
- Momentary Mutations
- Enhanced Intelligence
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Speed
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Senses
- Superhuman Agility
- Superhuman Reflexes
- Superhuman Durability
- Superhuman Mental Process
- Biological Immortality
- Extremis Enhancements
- Microparticle Carriers
- Momentary Mutations
|Power Grid |
|* Lower values represent the effects of the infected as symptoms of Nightmare's Dream slowly festers over their mind and body throughout time, while the higher values represent their original power grid levels.|
- Class 10+ (with armor)
- Class 5 (without armor)
- Nightmare's Dream
- Several Symptoms
- Induced Paranoia
- Psychic Hunger
- Psychic Madness
- Visions of Infected's Fears
- Hemorrhagic Fever
- Frequent Bleeding
- Aphasia and/or Dysphasia
- Decreased Intelligence
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Latent Spasms and Seizures
- Decreased Healing Factor
- Several Symptoms
- No special notes.
- ↑ Modern Comics: Fear Incarnate Vol 1 1
- No trivia.
- Appearances of Anthony Stark (Earth-21410)
- Character Gallery: Anthony Stark (Earth-21410)
- Quotations by Anthony Stark (Earth-21410)
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