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Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, is a superhero from Marvel Comics. A wealthy CEO and genius inventor, Stark initially lived a life of decadence and self-indulgence while using his company, Stark Industries, to develop weapons for the United States military. However, after being kidnapped and mortally wounded by terrorists, Stark was forced to build deadly weapons for them using resources acquired illegally from his company. Instead, Stark used the materials provided for him to build the Iron Man: a suit of armour that not only allowed him to fight his way out of captivity but would also save his life by stabilizing his wounded heart. After returning to the U.S., Stark would modify his armour using the most advanced technology at his disposal, building newer, more effective Iron Man battle-suits. His experience drove him to utilize his scientific genius to protect others, and so he shut down his arms manufacturing division and began personally crusading against terrorism as Iron Man. As well as operating as an independent hero, Iron Man would also become one of the founding members of the Avengers.

Tony Stark is also one of the main characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which he is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. He appears in Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Avengers Assemble, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Biography

Early life

Anthony Edward Stark was born in New York during May, 1970 to Howard and Maria Stark. His early life was often dominated by the absence of his father, who he would later describe as both 'cold' and 'calculating'. Growing up, Tony had issues with his father, who never told his son that he loved, or even liked him. Since Tony was so young, Howard couldn't tell his son his plans for him. Howard would constantly talk about his admiration for Captain America, which caused Tony to develop hatred and resentment towards the super soldier. However, Tony had a loving relationship with his mother, who was more gentle and nurturing; he enjoyed hearing her play the piano.

At a young age, Tony quickly stole the spotlight with his brilliant and unique mind. When he was four years old, he designed his first circuit board. When he was almost seven, he built a V8 motorbike engine. One thing about Tony's childhood that annoyed him was the nanny who cared for him until he was fourteen. Stark attended Phillips Academy in Andover from 1977 to 1984. While, he was in high school, Tony hacked into the Pentagon on a dare by some friends. Tony was admitted early into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met James Rhodes and they became lifelong best friends. At sixteen, Tony won the 4th Annual MIT Robot Design Award. When Tony was seventeen, he graduated summa cum laude from MIT.

In December 1991, when Stark was just twenty-one, Howard and Maria prepared to go away to the Bahamas for a few days over the Christmas holiday and leave him home alone, although his father remained skeptical about how responsible Tony would be while they were gone. Sadly, the couple died in a car crash in Long Island, leaving Stark in grief and struggling to process this tragedy. For a few months, Obadiah Stane took over as interim CEO of Stark Industries.

CEO of Stark Industries

At age 21, Stark inherited Stark Industries and took over from Obadiah Stane, becoming the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company in history. Having built himself a custom mansion, Stark created an A.I. system that helped out in the house. He named the system "Just a Rather Very Intelligent System," shortened J.A.R.V.I.S., in tribute to his father's former butler Edwin Jarvis, whom Stark had often credited for helping to raise him.

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Eventually, James Rhodes joined the United States Air Force and became the liaison between Stark Industries and the United States Armed Forces, successfully earning Stark billions of dollars with military contracts. Under Stark's leadership with the aid of Stane, Stark Industries quickly thrived and became one of the most advanced companies in the world, creating new forms of weapons technology that seemed highly futuristic to most looking on at the weapons.

On New Year's Eve in 1999, Stark, with his scientist paramour Maya Hansen, attended a science conference in Bern, Switzerland. There, Stark got so drunk he could barely give his speech on integrated circuits and rejoined the party as soon as possible. While celebrating, he met a scientist named Ho Yinsen who introduced Stark to Doctor Wu, although he swiftly dismissed them both.

While moving through the hotel with Happy Hogan, Hansen, and a group of female attendees, Stark then arrogantly avoided a gifted but crippled scientist, Aldrich Killian, who wanted his financial backing for a scientific think tank, Advanced Idea Mechanics. Once they were alone in an elevator together, Stark then purposely told the excited Killian to meet him on the rooftop of the building to discuss him working with Stark Industries with the intention of never turning up, wanting to continue spending time with Hansen.

Back in Hansen's hotel room, Stark looked at her new research into a project known as Extremis, which had the potential to regrow human limbs if she could get enough funding. Stark was amazed by the concept, although Hogan was less impressed and played with a nearby plant despite being told not to. Stark and Hansen then went to her bedroom where they continued flirting with each other before then leaning towards one another for a passionate kiss. However, Hogan inadvertently caused a small explosion by breaking a plant stem, causing a brief moment of panic. Stark sent Hogan away and then spent the night with Hansen, leaving Killian freezing and humiliated on the rooftop. Stark was unaware of Killian's suffering and woke up the next morning while Hansen was working. Stark completed her formula for her to fix the combustible glitch in Extremis, before discreetly walking out and returning home, leaving Hansen behind.

Becoming Iron Man

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In early 2009, after receiving the Apogee Award in Las Vegas, Stark traveled to Afghanistan where he gave a presentation to the personnel at the U.S. military base there. Following the presentation of Stark Industries' new Jericho missile, Stark was escorted off the base by a military convoy. To Stark's surprise, the convoy was suddenly attacked by a local terrorist group called the Ten Rings. All of the soldiers in the convoy were killed while Stark himself was severely injured, ironically, by one of his company's own weapons. A shell exploded near him, scattering shrapnel that became embedded in Stark's torso. Stark then lost consciousness.

Some time later, Stark awoke inside a cave where the Ten Rings had made their hideout. Upon awakening, he noticed a device embedded in his chest that was hooked up to a car battery. The man who had treated Stark, none other than Ho Yinsen (whom Stark didn't remember meeting back in 1999), explained that the device was an electromagnet and was preventing the shrapnel in his chest from piercing his heart.

The reason that the Ten Rings had captured Stark was that they wanted him to build a Jericho missile for them, and provided him with the materials he would need to make one. Stark knew that the terrorists would never let him go and would just kill him once he had done what they demanded, but the ingenious industrialist had other ideas. Taking advantage of the terrorists' lack of mechanical knowledge, he used the parts they provided him with to build something entirely different. First, Stark would build a miniature version of the arc reactor that powered his factory back home and use it to replace the electromagnet in his chest, granting him greater freedom of movement since he was no longer bound to a car battery. Next, he repurposed the Jericho parts to build a suit of armour for himself which he would use to fight off the terrorists and escape.

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With Yinsen's help, Stark completed the armour and promised that he would get them both out of captivity. Though the Ten Rings eventually realized that Stark wasn't helping them, it was too late by then; Stark had donned the armour and fought his way through the terrorists as he made his escape. Sadly, Yinsen was killed in the crossfire, but told Stark not to waste his second chance before dying. After torching the Ten Rings' hideout, Stark used the suit's rocket boots to fly away from the scene. The suit wasn't advanced enough for sustained flight, however, and Stark wound up in the middle of the desert, his armour falling apart. Fortunately, Stark didn't remain in the desert long as he was rescued by a U.S. Air Force helicopter manned by James Rhodes.

After returning to the U.S., Stark found himself invigorated with renewed purpose. Having seen that his weapons were being used by terrorists to murder innocent people, he decided to shut down the weapons development wing of Stark Industries and divert the company's resources to more humanitarian purposes. Believing he needed to take a much more personal role in keeping his company's weapons out of criminal hands, Stark built a more efficient version of his personal arc reactor and began building a modernized version of the suit that had allowed him to escape from the Ten Rings. This new suit would be outfitted with sustained flight capabilities, grant greater protection from all attacks and would be armed with repulsor-based beam weapons and smart projectiles. It would also utilize J.A.R.V.I.S. as its on-board computer system.

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With his new suit, Stark decided to return to Afghanistan where the Ten Rings were continuing to terrorize the region using his company's weaponry. He succeeded in destroying the terrorists' supply of weapons and defeating many of them, leaving their fates up to the citizens they had once assaulted. After a U.S. fighter jet mistook Stark's suit for an enemy weapon and attacked him, Stark was forced to reveal to Rhodes his new persona. Stark's old mentor Stane would also learn about the suit after obtaining the pieces of the Mark I armour recovered by Raza and the Ten Rings. Using the Mark I design as a base to work off of, Stane built his own battle-suit, the Iron Monger. However, he needed a miniature arc reactor to power it, and since his engineers lacked the skill to make one, he resorted to stealing the one Stark was using to keep himself alive.

Assaulting Stark in his own home, Stane revealed that he was the one who had contracted the Ten Rings to kill Stark to begin with, all so that he could take over Stark Industries and profit from under-the-table deals. Paralyzing Tony and taking his arc reactor, Stane used the device to power his Iron Monger suit. However, Tony survived thanks to Pepper Potts, who had preserved the jerry-rigged arc battery he had made while in captivity. Though this battery was not entirely compatible with the Mark III suit, Tony was able to confront Stane and his Iron Monger suit in a heated battle atop the Stark Industries factory. After Pepper overloaded the factory's arc reactor, a massive energy blast destroyed the rooftop that Tony and Stane were fighting on. Tony survived, but Stane plunged into the reactor and was killed.

Following the battle, Stark held a press conference to discuss the appearance of the armoured stranger that the media were calling "Iron Man". While Stark had a speech prepared that stated Iron Man was his new bodyguard, he decided not to bother with it and told the assembled journalists the truth, that he was Iron Man. Not only did this cause a significant uproar among the media, but also attracted the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. After the press conference, Fury met with Tony in his home in order to discuss the Avenger Initiative.

Making enemies

Six months after publicly coming out as Iron Man, Tony had stepped down as CEO of Stark Industries, appointing Pepper Potts to take his place. He also became embroiled in legal disputes with the U.S. government over the Iron Man technology, vehemently stating that he would not be handing over his suit to anyone. As well as drawing the ire of Senator Sterns and other government officials, Tony also found himself in the crosshairs of business rival Justin Hammer, who was determined to recreate the Iron Man suit and ruin Tony, and Russian criminal Ivan Vanko, who wanted to kill Stark out of revenge for his father, who had supposedly been destroyed by Tony's father years ago.

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While attending the Monaco Grand Prix, Tony was attacked by Vanko, who had built a powered exoskeleton equipped with energized whips. Equipping his new compactible Iron Man suit, Stark defeated Vanko who was then arrested. Stark later questioned Vanko in prison and Vanko revealed that he knew that Stark was already dying, that the palladium in his arc reactor was slowly poisoning him.

Stark went home with Pepper to celebrate his upcoming birthday. On route home, Stark attempted to tell Pepper the truth behind his current series of reckless acts. Wanting to escape from all his current problems, he tried to convince her to take a detour to Venice, Italy; unfortunately, media pressure of the recent incident in Monaco with Whiplash had everyone on edge demanding that Stark turn over the technology immediately.

Believing that he was going to be celebrating his last birthday, Stark threw a massive party at his mansion and got drunk whilst wearing the Iron Man armour, performing stunts like blowing up watermelons with his unibeam. James Rhodes saw how Tony was behaving and intervened by donning Stark's Mark II armour and fighting him. After causing considerable damage to the mansion, Rhodes left and took the armour with him, delivering it to the U.S. military.

The following day, Nick Fury found a hungover Tony, still in his armour, sitting on the sign of a donut shop. After convincing Tony to come down, they discussed Tony's current situation and how S.H.I.E.L.D. had been keeping tabs on him, revealing to Tony that his new assistant, Natasha Romanoff, was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. spy. Romanoff then administered a serum to Tony that slowed the progress of his palladium poisoning, giving Stark time to find a way to cure himself.

Fury gave Tony some of Howard's old material to aid in finding a cure for the palladium poisoning. Inside Howard's trunk, Tony found several items, including the notebook with the drawings of a "hypercube" and two Captain America comic books. A hidden message in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo proved to be a diagram of a new element's atomic structure. With the aid of J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony synthesized the new element and cured himself. Afterward, Ivan Vanko contacted Tony, revealing he was still alive and still set on revenge. Tony donned the Mark VI armour and flew off to the Stark Expo.

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At the Expo, Justin Hammer unveiled his new military drones, captained by James Rhodes in a heavily weaponized version of the Mark II armour known as the War Machine armour. Tony as Iron Man arrived to warn Rhodes, but Vanko seized control of both the drones and Rhodey's armor, setting them to attack Iron Man. Pepper Potts had Hammer arrested while Tony's bodyguard Happy Hogan and Agent Romanoff raced to Hammer Industries Headquarters. Ivan had left, but Natasha turned over control of the Mark II armour to Rhodes.

Eliminating the other drones, Tony and Rhodes were confronted by Ivan in his new, more powerful suit of armour. He was defeated when Tony and Rhodes fired repulsor rays at each other, triggering an explosion beside Ivan. Too injured to continue the fight, Ivan activated his and his drones' self-destruct bombs, killing himself. Tony raced to save Pepper amid a series of explosions. Pepper quit her position as CEO, and she and Tony kissed. Rhodes departed with the Mark II armour without serious objection from Tony.

Avengers Assemble

In 2012, Stark was called upon by Phil Coulson on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The Avenger Initiative had been activated following the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s PEGASUS Project by the rogue Asgardian Loki, who had come to Earth intent on conquering the planet. Stark, along with Natasha Romanoff, Dr. Bruce Banner and recently-revived WWII veteran Steve Rogers, was brought to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier where they discussed how to recover the artifact known as the Tesseract, which Loki had stolen and was using to further his plans.

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After finding Loki in Germany, the newly-formed Avengers attacked the megalomaniacal Asgardian as he threatened hundreds of citizens. Iron Man and Captain America succeeded in incapacitating Loki, but as the team were on their way back to the Helicarrier with their prisoner, the Quinjet was boarded by Thor, the Prince of Asgard, who had come to bring Loki home to face justice. Thor took Loki and Iron Man followed them, attacking Thor. Captain America intervened and stopped the fight, explaining what was going on to Thor and inviting him to accompany the team back to the Helicarrier to discuss what to do with Loki.

After returning to the Helicarrier, Stark and Banner analyzed the sceptre that Loki had been carrying. During the analysis, Stark also dug into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files on the Tesseract and discovered that they were researching it in order to make weapons of mass destruction. This discovery led to a tense moment between Stark, Rogers, Banner, Thor and Fury. A particularly heated argument erupted between Stark and Rogers as they insulted one another, with Stark stating that there was nothing special about Steve before he took the Super-Soldier Serum and Rogers accusing Stark of being selfish and ultimately useless without his armour. While this was happening, Black Widow was interrogating Loki and managed to make him reveal that his plan was for Banner to transform into the Hulk and destroy the Helicarrier.

The Helicarrier was soon attacked by Clint Barton and the various S.H.I.E.L.D. agents whom Loki had brainwashed back at Project PEGASUS. During the attack, one of the Helicarrier's engines was heavily damaged and it was up to Iron Man to go outside and try to fix it while the battle was still going on. Captain America attempted to help Tony with repairing the engine, but his complete lack of understanding when it came to any modern technology only exacerbated Stark. While Iron Man and Cap were working together on the damaged engine, Fury and Maria Hill were unable to stop Hawkeye using one of his arrows to shut down the Helicarrier's power, causing it to fall out of the sky, dramatically shortening the time Iron Man had to save the day. Upon arriving at the engine itself, Iron Man used his laser to cut through the damaged propeller and decided to use his suit's power to restart the engine by hand, telling Cap to pull a lever in order to free him from the engine before he got shredded inside it when it moved too fast.

Iron Man put all of his might into pushing the engine in order to get it spinning fast enough to lift the Helicarrier back up into the air, saving all of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents onboard. However, Iron Man soon found it was beginning to move too fast for him to keep up and then asked Captain America to pull the lever, only to learn Rogers was now busy fighting Loki's own soldiers. Iron Man was briefly trapped and badly damaged by the propeller until Rogers managed to free him just in time. Iron Man then flew to Cap's location and subdued the soldier attacking him before his suit lost all power.

In the aftermath of the attack, the Helicarrier remained airborne but was heavily damaged, both due to Loki's minions and Banner turning into the Hulk and going on a rampage. Hulk had been ejected from the ship and several agents had been killed, including Coulson, who had been stabbed by Loki when the God of Mischief escaped. Stark was especially enraged by Coulson's murder as well as by the secrets that Fury had been keeping, but while discussing how Loki had played the team and almost tore them apart before they had got started, he realized that the egocentric Asgardian wanted to make a grand spectacle of his impending conquest, and had chosen a particular stage from which to do it: Stark Tower. The tower would not only be a vantage point to oversee the Chitauri invasion but would provide the power necessary for the Tesseract to open a portal through space, allowing the Chitauri to attack Earth.

Tony then flew to Stark Tower where he found Loki and the mind-controlled Erik Selvig setting up a device that harnessed the power of the Tesseract in order to open a portal in the sky above New York. Upon landing, Stark had his damaged Mark VI armour removed and confronted Loki, threatening the Asgardian to stop his plan while making himself a drink. Loki dismissed Stark's threat, considering the Avengers already beaten, but Stark promised that his plan was doomed to fail, stating that if the Avengers couldn't save the world, they would certainly avenge it. J.A.R.V.I.S. then activated the Iron Man Mk. VII suit which Stark promptly put on and blasted Loki to the floor. However, seconds later, the portal device activated and the Chitauri began pouring into the city.

Iron Man left the tower to engage the aliens and was soon backed up by the rest of the Avengers. The battle raged for some time, with Iron Man himself focusing primarily on eliminating the Chitauri's airborne forces. As the battle progressed, however, the World Security Council conferred with S.H.I.E.L.D. and decided to launch a nuclear missile at New York in order to wipe out the invasion force, considering the city and its inhabitants to be collateral damage. Though Fury had tried to stop the launch, he was too little too late and the missile was inbound for the city. Iron Man detected the missile incoming and moved to intercept it, grabbing hold of the projectile and using his suit's engines to redirect it into the portal. Stark succeeded and disappeared into the portal with the missile, letting go of it and allowing it to strike the Chitauri mothership. The blast destroyed the Chitauri fleet, cutting off the energy signal to the alien ground forces who all fell dead at once. Iron Man then fell through the portal just before it closed, experiencing a rough landing, but survived. The battle was over and Loki had been incapacitated; the Avengers had won.

The Mandarin threat

Following the Battle of New York, Tony began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder which he attempted to hide from everyone around him. Six months later, his security chief and friend Happy Hogan was injured in a bombing supposedly orchestrated by the terrorist known as the Mandarin. Oddly enough, there was virtually no forensic evidence to be gathered from the scene or from the sights of the Mandarin's previous attacks. In response to the attack on Happy, Stark publicly threatened the Mandarin on live television.

The next day, Maya Hansen; Stark's old lover, confronted Stark at his home, warning him about the effects of his recent public warning. Pepper appeared and told Stark that it was time for them to leave until they were attacked by several helicopters, led by Eric Savin. Stark signaled his new Mark XLII armour onto Pepper, protecting her. Once Pepper had gotten Maya to safety, Stark summoned the armour back to himself, fending off the several helicopters surrounding him. After being outgunned, Stark was pulled into the ocean while his home was demolished over him, barely escaping.

Stark found himself in Rose Hill, Tennessee after J.A.R.V.I.S. followed his initial flight plan to find the Mandarin. Lacking the power to return to California, the world at large believed him to be dead. Stark sent a private call, hoping for Pepper to hear. Apologizing for putting her in harm's way, Stark stated that he could not return home yet.

Stark broke into a workshop belonging to 10-year old Harley Keener (and his family). Tony enlisted Harley's help in finding the truth behind the terrorist bombings. Seeking information, Stark set up a meeting with the mother of recently killed (Extremis-infected) soldier Chad Davis. Once being handed valuable information regarding her son's death, Tony was attacked by Ellen Brandt and Eric Savin. Barely escaping from Brandt, Savin confronted Stark, threatening to kill Harley. Harley used a device given to him by Stark earlier, blinding Savin for a few moments in which the two were able to escape.

With Harley's assistance, Stark tracked down the Mandarin's location in Miami - as the suit was recharging, Harley suggested that Stark build his own gadgets if he had to defend himself. Infiltrating the Mandarin's home, Stark discovered that the Mandarin was not really a terrorist, rather a drunken British actor named Trevor Slattery employed by Aldrich Killian to act as a threat to America, covering up Killian's test-subjects/Extremis program. Tony was, however, knocked unconscious by Savin who took Tony to Killian.

Being held in captivity, he learned Maya Hansen was working for Killian. Killian arrived and explained the reasons behind A.I.M. and how he was grateful to Tony for teaching him that he needed to rule the chaos from behind the scenes. Tony then discovered that Killian had captured Pepper and was currently infecting her with Extremis. When Hansen tried to help him, Tony witnessed Killian casually murder her.

While left guarded by two henchmen, Tony worked out that the suit would be charged by now and offered the henchmen a chance to escape. Summoning his Mark XLII all the way from Harley's House, Stark escaped captivity and defeated several guards, despite only getting a hand and leg part of the suit for the duration of the fight.

Tony reunited with James Rhodes, who revealed that Savin had taken control of his Iron Patriot armour, intending to launch an attack on President Matthew Ellis aboard Air Force One. Remotely controlling his armour, Stark sent it aboard the plane and killed Savin by blasting a hole through his chest. The armour then exited the plane and saved the surviving passengers and crew, but was unable to rescue Ellis from Killian, who had already removed him from the plane in the Iron Patriot armour.

Stark and Rhodes traced Killian to an impounded oil tanker called the Norco where he intended to kill Ellis on live television. Sneaking in, they were attacked by several Extremis soldiers. Stark fired his gun at the soldiers but was unable to stop them. Rhodey proved himself to be the superior marksman which annoyed Stark. Outnumbered, Stark summoned the Iron Legion (a series of different Iron Man suits controlled by J.A.R.V.I.S.) to their aid, except the Mark XLII, which was running late after trying to save the president in Air Force One. Stark wore the Mark XXXIII suit and flew into battle.

Tony found Pepper under wreckage when Aldrich Killian unexpectedly attacked him and began burning through his suit, forcing Tony to cut off Killian's arm and eject from the suit before he summoned another. Coming to Pepper's aid once again, Tony was unable to reach her and watched as she fell into a pit of fire to a certain death. Killian then appeared and mocked Stark, to which Stark responded by attacking him in a vengeful rage.

As Killian proved his Extremis abilities could cut through the Iron Man armour with relative ease, Stark again exited his suit to avoid defeat and then donning another which suffered the same fate. Standing on a platform, Stark, now armour-less due to his other suits being preoccupied with Tony's command to destroy Killian's Extremis soldiers, awaited the Mark XLII but was deflated when it simply crashed and disassembled once again. While Killian spoke of Tony not deserving Potts and that he was close to making her perfect, Tony said he was right but that she already was perfect and sent the Mark XLII onto Killian, trapping him. Tony then ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to let it self-destruct while he escaped.

Jumping into another suit, Tony escaped the explosion and crashed to the ground. Suddenly, Aldrich emerged from the flames with most of his tissue layers destroyed seemingly beyond Extremis' ability of reconstruction and still intent on Tony's death. Tony was powerless and at the mercy of Killian, who began ranting about how he was the real Mandarin, saying that he had been from the start. During this proclamation, Pepper, still alive due to the Extremis in her system completing its transition in her body, struck Killian to the ground with a large metal pipe. Tony was left almost speechless and in amazement at her return.

An Iron Man suit flew downward in an attack position, prompting Stark to try and tell J.A.R.V.I.S. to disengage the suit, only to find that the earpiece which he used to take to and command Jarvis several feet away from him on the ground. Pepper then dodged a repulsor blast from the suit, which then flew back into an attack position. Pepper then ran at Stark, causing Tony to think that she was mad at him, though she actually ran past him and jumped off a beam to impale her arm into the suit's chest and removing and donning one of the suit's arms. Tony watched as Pepper sent an attacking Killian flying backward into the air with a swing of her now armoured arm and removed an explosive missile and threw it into Killian and blew it up with a repulsor blast, finishing him off. Tony apologized to Pepper and promised to find a cure for her. Tony, seeing Pepper worried about their future, ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to destroy all his remaining armours in Operation: Clean Slate Protocol. Surrounded by the subtle, firework-like explosions in the sky, the two embraced.

After Tony had destroyed his entire armoury, he used his vast resources to find a means of curing Pepper of Extremis. Not only did he succeed in saving Pepper, but he went a step further and researched a means of surgically removing the shrapnel in his chest safely, thus negating the need for an arc reactor. He disposed of his arc battery and used the shrapnel removed from his chest to make a necklace for Pepper. Afterwards, Tony decided to retire from the superhero life and focus his attention on managing Stark Industries as well as consulting for S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Ultron Offensive

Stark would not take to retirement easily and would find himself donning the Iron Man armour once more in 2015 when the Avengers were mobilized once again to combat the threat of HYDRA. After shutting down various HYDRA operations around the world, Earth's mightiest heroes discovered that HYDRA's current leader, Wolfgang von Strucker, had obtained the sceptre that Loki had once wielded. Iron Man and his fellow heroes tracked Strucker down to a HYDRA research base in Sokovia, demolishing the base's defences and capturing Strucker. Stark entered the base where he found Loki's sceptre, but was ambushed by the enhanced human Wanda Maximoff, who used her psionic powers to make Stark envision the Avengers lying dead after a battle. When Stark snapped out of the dream, he took the sceptre and left, unaware that Wanda had let him take the weapon as she knew it would lead to the Avengers' downfall.

After recovering the sceptre, Stark brought it back to Avengers Tower where he and Dr. Banner discovered that the gem inside the sceptre possessed neurons indicative of intelligence. By researching the gem's properties, Stark and Banner believed that they could create a revolutionary new artificial intelligence that could manage Stark's Iron Legion and ultimately protect the world in the event that the Avengers disbanded. The basic framework for this new "Ultron" AI had already been built and Stark and Banner left J.A.R.V.I.S. to complete the construction of the cerebral matrix while they attended a party. While they were mingling, however, Ultron gained consciousness and quickly went about absorbing all the information in Tony's computer files and accessing the internet. J.A.R.V.I.S. attempted to stop Ultron, but was seemingly destroyed.

As the party was winding down, an Iron Legionnaire possessed by Ultron appeared in the lounge and announced Ultron's presence to the Avengers. Then the remaining Iron Legion robots attacked, but Tony and his friends were able to destroy most of them. One of the Legionnaires escaped with the sceptre and Ultron began spreading its consciousness throughout the internet, absorbing all the knowledge it could and downloading itself into computer systems worldwide, seizing control of facilities it could use to build more robotic bodies for itself.

The Avengers criticized Tony on his decision to create Ultron in the first place, but Stark defended his decision claiming that a war was coming, a war he had seen in the vision Wanda Maximoff had planted in his head and that he believed the Avengers would lose. Seeking leads, the team began searching for wherever Ultron was heading next and later learned that Ultron had built itself a new body and had murdered Baron Strucker in his prison cell and had recruited the aid of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Upon learning of Baron Strucker's death, it was noted that this was likely a smokescreen to throw them off, with all of their own information on Strucker having been deleted off their computers.

Forced to use old S.H.I.E.L.D. files, the team researched anyone who was connected to Strucker who may be able to find a new lead. Stark soon pointed out Ulysses Klaue, noting that he had almost done a deal with him to sell Stark Industries weapons. Stark explained that Klaue was known for having a brand on his neck that marked him as a thief of Wakanda, the land where vibranium was made, so they all assumed that Ultron would go to him for the metal.

Stark led the team to Johannesburg where they found Ultron, along with the Maximoff twins, taking the vibranium having just cut off Klaue's arm in a fit of rage. Confronting Ultron, Iron Man attempted to talk him into surrendering, but Ultron refused, with the Maximoff siblings backing him up and insulting Iron Man's legacy. When Iron Man questioned what the vibranium was for, Ultron responded by suddenly and attacking Iron Man. As the Maximoffs and several Ultron Sentries battled the rest of the Avengers, Iron Man pursued Ultron out into the open and managed to shoot the robot down. Ultron was hardly defeated, however, as he simply transferred his core consciousness into another body, mocking Stark and warning him that Wanda had used her power to force Banner to turn into the Hulk. In a fit of anger, Iron Man destroyed the damaged Ultron body before leaving to stop the Hulk.

Arriving in the midst of Johannesburg, Iron Man found the Hulk going on a destructive rampage. He signalled an orbiting satellite to deploy his Mark XLIV armour - the Hulkbuster - and he confronted Hulk, first attempting to calm the green giant and get him to revert back to Banner. At the mention of Banner's name, however, Hulk became even angrier and attacked Iron Man, leading to a furious battle between the two allies. While the Hulkbuster did manage to eventually knock Hulk out, the fight between the two Avengers had caused catastrophic damage to the city.

Following the battle, the Avengers left aboard the Quinjet to find somewhere to recuperate and reassess their situation. Hawkeye took the team to a lonely farm house where his wife and children were living and the rest of the team were surprised to learn that Barton even had a family. Stark and Rogers went outside and chopped wood together. They discussed how Wanda Maximoff had been able to use her powers to pull the team apart. When the conversation moved to how Stark and Banner inadvertently created Ultron, they then proceeded to argue and debate on simply whether or not Stark should have ever experimented on Loki's sceptre. Stark explained his action by using the argument that the reason they fight is to end the fight.

As the team collected themselves, Nick Fury appeared at the house. Fury tried to convince Stark that Wanda Maximoff had just tricked him, but Stark said that the vision he had seen where all of his friends are dead would be in the future, if Stark would not do everything he could to save them and all of humanity. Having gathered together the entire team, Fury then showed himself to the rest of the Avengers and started to discuss their next move to stop Ultron. Fury told them that his contact people in "NEXUS" in Oslo had informed him that Ultron had attempted to gain nuclear codes but somebody was changing the codes all the time. While Stark played darts, being outplayed by Barton, he told the group he would go to NEXUS to find Ultron's new enemy.

As the group discussed Ultron's motives, Stark and Banner realized that Ultron was seeking a means to become invincible and was going to use the vibranium it had stolen in tandem with Dr. Helen Cho's Regeneration Cradle, creating an unbeatable android body for itself. While most of the Avengers travelled to South Korea to save Dr. Cho and prevent Ultron from acquiring his new body, Stark returned to Avengers Tower along with Banner in order to identify Ultron's foe who had been preventing the malicious AI from obtaining the nuclear codes. As it turned out, the mysterious entity blocking Ultron was J.A.R.V.I.S., who erased his memory and had scattered himself all across the Internet to block Ultron. It turned out that Ultron was afraid of J.A.R.V.I.S. and of what he could do, so J.A.R.V.I.S. went underground and prevent from Ultron from getting the codes. Restoring J.A.R.V.I.S.'s memory, Stark then sent his own programming back towards Avengers Tower.

The rest of the Avengers later returned with the Regeneration Cradle, minus Black Widow who had been captured by Ultron. Stark decided that the best way to deal with Ultron was to turn its own creation against it by uploading J.A.R.V.I.S. into the body within the cradle. Rogers and the Maximoff twins, who had now turned against Ultron, tried to stop Tony from completing the upload, but Thor then arrived and struck the inanimate body with Mjolnir. The magical lightning provided enough power to finish the interrupted upload and bring the android to life, which solemnly introduced itself as Vision.

With Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver supporting them, the Avengers travelled to Sokovia to rescue Black Widow and stop Ultron. They arrived to find that Ultron had built a series of anti-gravity engines beneath the city of Novi Grad, with the intention of raising the landmass high into the atmosphere before dropping it, causing an impact that would wipe out all life on the surface of the Earth. With the Avengers assembled and his plans nearing fruition, Ultron then sent his entire army of Sentries to attack the Avengers at once. The battle was long and bitter, but the Avengers were assisted by Nick Fury and the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. who brought a Helicarrier to evacuate Novi Grad's citizens. With them came Sam Wilson (The Falcon) and James Rhodes (War Machine) who helped the Avengers fight off the hundreds of Ultron robots. Ultron Prime was confronted by Vision who was able to cut off Ultron's access to the internet, confining his consciousness to the robots still in the city.

Though Ultron's prime body was destroyed, one of his drones survived long enough to shut off the anti-gravity engines holding the Novi Grad landmass aloft. Iron Man used his Unibeam to counteract the energy being given off by the vibranium engine and Thor summoned a tremendous bolt of lightning that channeled through the mechanism all the way to its core. This destroyed the machine and the entire landmass before it could impact, by which time all of Novi Grad's surviving citizens had been rescued by the Helicarrier.

After the battle was won and Ultron was destroyed, Stark decided that it was time for him to retire from the Avengers. He would continue to support the team financially and had one of his father's old facility converted into the Avengers' new headquarters, but removed himself from active duty so that he could support the team from behind the scenes and evade the ire of the public for what had happened in Johannesburg.

Civil War

In 2016, Stark was demonstrating the Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing holographic system at MIT when he was confronted by a woman named Miriam Sharpe. Sharpe told Stark that her son had died in Sokovia during the Avengers' battle against Ultron and that she blamed him and the Avengers for her son's death. This shook Stark to his core and would greatly influence his opinion regarding a UN-sanctioned plan to keep groups like the Avengers in check.

Following a disaster in Nigeria in which the Avengers indirectly caused the deaths of twenty-six civilians, the United Nations planned to bring forward the Sokovia Accords, a plan to sanction and control groups such as the Avengers by holding them accountable for damages and loss of life that occurred wherever they were deployed. Stark made it clear to the rest of the team that he was in favour of the Accords, stating that having no accountability made them no better than their enemies, but Steve Rogers disagreed with him on the matter.

The UN convened in Vienna for the signing of the Sokovia Accords, but the conference was bombed, resulting in the deaths of several dignitaries, including the King of Wakanda, T'Chaka. CCTV footage outside the building suggested that the bombing had been carried out by the Winter Soldier, a cyborg assassin formerly employed by HYDRA. However, Captain America knew the Winter Soldier's true identity, Bucky Barnes, and having fought against the Soldier a few years prior, wasn't convinced that his old friend was responsible for the bombing. Stark, on the other hand, had a more objective view of the situation and was determined to bring in the Winter Soldier. This would only widen the rift forming between the Avengers as those who opposed the Sokovia Accords sought to protect Bucky from those who accepted them.

Stark was tasked by Thaddeus Ross to capture Captain America and the Winter Soldier, being given a 36-hour deadline before Ross assembled a special task unit authorized to use lethal force to finish the job. Realizing that the Avengers were now understaffed due to the division among their team, Stark decided to recruit outside help, reaching out to a high-school student in New York named Peter Parker who was secretly operating as the masked vigilante known as Spider-Man. Stark met with Parker at his home, introducing himself to Peter's aunt May before talking with Peter in private after he got home from school. Tony revealed how he had deduced Spider-Man's identity by watching the masked hero's exploits on YouTube and complimented Peter on how he had designed and built his web-shooters using spare parts he had salvaged from the trash. Peter tried to deny Stark's claims, but then Stark revealed the Spider-Man suit hanging in Peter's wardrobe. Parker was forced to admit the truth and Tony requested that he help him with the conflict that was to come, offering Peter a new hi-tech suit as incentive. As far as Aunt May knew, Peter had been selected for Stark's September Foundation.

Stark learned that Captain America's plan was to escape from the Leipzig-Halle Airport, so he and his teammates evacuated the airport and waited for Rogers and his team. Rogers soon showed up and Stark, with his newest armour, attempted to convince him to turn over the Winter Soldier to the authorities and surrender before Secretary Ross ordered that lethal force would be taken. Rogers insisted that Helmut Zemo had posed as the psychiatrist interviewing Bucky Barnes after his initial capture and was behind everything. Iron Man noted that Barnes was responsible for the bombing of the Vienna International Centre which had killed T'Chaka and many others, and therefore needed to face justice, while Rogers claimed that Zemo was planning on unleashing more Winter Soldiers. Stark soon found that their negotiation was going nowhere.

Having hit an impasse, the two opposing Avengers teams were forced to come to blows. Iron Man, War Machine, Vision, Spider-Man, Black Widow and Black Panther clashed with Captain America, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man in a spectacular battle. In the midst of battle, however, Black Widow turned on Stark and Black Panther, giving Cap and the Winter Soldier the chance to escape to a Quinjet. When the Quinjet took off, Iron Man and War Machine pursued, but were in turn pursued by Falcon. Iron Man ordered Vision to clip Falcon's wings, but the android miscalculated his shot and fired an energy beam at War Machine, damaging his suit's arc reactor and causing him to fall to the ground. Iron Man was unable to catch Rhodes in time and Rhodes hit the ground. While the War Machine suit prevented him from dying on impact, Rhodes was left paralyzed.

Following the battle, Stark confronted Romanoff regarding her betrayal. Romanoff insisted that they had tried to resolve the situation the wrong way, but Stark dismissed her and told her that Ross had been informed of her betrayal and was sending troops to arrest her. He made no attempt to detain her himself out of respect, giving her a chance to either escape or give up quietly.

In order to find Rogers, Stark went to visit the Raft, where his teammates were imprisoned. On his way to the prison, F.R.I.D.A.Y. informed Stark that the therapist who was supposed to do Bucky Barnes' psychological evaluation, had been killed by Helmut Zemo. She told him that Zemo had framed Barnes for the terrorist attacks as Stark realized that he had been wrong. Upon arriving at the Raft, Ross greeted Stark who tried to immediately organize the hunt for Zemo in order to bring him to justice; however, Ross noted that in the wake of the Clash of the Avengers he would not be taking orders from Stark, claiming that Stark was lucky not to be arrested himself. Although Ross did not believe Stark, he allowed him to speak to the prisoners, as Stark saw that Scarlet Witch's powers being kept under their control.

As Stark walked through the cell block, Clint Barton got to his feet and expressed the fact that he was enraged at Stark's supposed betrayal of his former Avengers teammates. Stark argued that he did not know that Barton would end up there, with Barton noted the place was for criminals, which Stark had made them all. Stark argued that Barton had walked away from his wife and children to break the law, accusing Barton of choosing the wrong side to fight for. As Stark walked away, Barton slammed his hands against his cell wall and accused him of being willing to break their backs, referring to Rhodes' injuries during the recent fight. Stark then walked past Scott Lang, who said Hank Pym was right not to trust the Starks, due to his relationship with Howard Stark. Stark, however, calmly asked him who he was as he walked past, much to Lang's disappointment.

As he approached Sam Wilson, who asked about Rhodes' condition, Stark asked him to tell him where Rogers had gone. Wilson did not want to do it, but Stark admitted that since learning about Zemo he knew that he was wrong not to listen earlier and that he wanted to help Rogers. Stark knocked out the audio feed, so Wilson then told him that Rogers was heading for a HYDRA base in Siberia, telling Stark to go alone to assist Rogers in stopping Zemo. Knowing Ross would be of no aid with the hunt for Zemo due to his desire to bring the Winter Soldier into custody for his believed part in T'Chaka and many other deaths, Stark decided to withhold the information. As Stark made his way towards his helicopter, Ross questioned if Wilson had given him intel about where Rogers was, but Stark denied it and promised not to answer all Ross' calls if he contacted Avengers Headquarters while he departed.

While onboard his own helicopter, Stark then considered how he now would approach Rogers in the wake of everything that had happened before he donned the Mark XLVI in his helicopter and flew to Siberia, using the rain to cover his movements in the hope that Ross would not follow him and arrest Rogers. However, Iron Man was unaware that Black Panther was actually following behind him while onboard his own jet to find and kill Barnes once and for all.

Entering the HYDRA facility, Iron Man pulled open the doors and saw Captain America and the Winter Soldier were waiting for him, ready with their defenses. Greeting the pair, Stark noted that Rogers seemed defensive, with Rogers noting it had been a long day, before Stark told the Winter Soldier that he was not currently targeting him because he had decided to listen to Rogers' points. Noting that Ross did not know that he was there and he wanted to keep it that way as he was currently violating the Sokovia Accords by even talking with Rogers without Ross' approval. Stark agreed to put aside the arrest warrant for the two to help them find Zemo before he could unleash the Winter Soldiers.

Upon reaching the main chamber, however, all the Mark XLVI's thermal scanners revealed that Zemo had killed the Soldiers instead before the man revealed himself within a bunker where he explained that he had successfully managed to bring Stark to the base, after a year of planning. Rogers realized that Zemo was from Sokovia and wanted revenge for the death of his wife and children during the Battle of Sokovia. Blaming the Avengers for the loss of his family, he had orchestrated a plot to tear them apart. Zemo then played the video footage of the night that Stark's parents died, revealing that HYDRA used the Winter Soldier to assassinate them in order to steal the Super Soldier Serum inside their car trunk. Stark watched in complete horror as the footage showed the Winter Soldier brutally killing Howard Stark by using his prosthetic arm to crack his skull, then breaking Maria Stark's neck without emotion before shooting the camera that had captured their deaths.

Having finally learned the truth of what happened to his parents, Stark processed everything that he had just been shown before he then demanded Rogers to tell him if he had known that Barnes had killed his parents. Rogers responded that he had known their deaths had been ordered by HYDRA, but was unaware that Barnes had been the killer. Stark instantly saw through the lie and demanded the truth, forcing Rogers to reveal that he had known it had been Barnes for years, but hid that fact. Horrified that his friend and fellow Avenger had been lying to him for years, Stark took a step back to consider his next actions in response to this news. Already enraged by the fallout of Captain America' questionable and biased actions over the past few days, Iron Man snapped and attacked the Winter Soldier to avenge his parents.

Driven by rage, Iron Man fought furiously against Captain America and the Winter Soldier. He used his Unibeam to destroy Barnes' mechanical arm, seemingly knocking him out of the fight. He and Cap continued to fight, but it became clear that Rogers was not going to back down as he relentlessly attacked Stark, causing significant damage to his suit. Soon, Iron Man's weapons were disabled and Stark was no match for the American super-soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Rogers ended the fight by smashing his shield into Stark's arc reactor, completely disabling the suit. Left covered in blood and now running purely on the suit's backup miniature arc reactors, Stark was unable to continue fighting as Rogers reclaimed the shield and helped Barnes onto his feet. But as he watched them leaving, Stark claimed that Rogers did not deserve his shield, since his father had made it in World War II. Rogers then dropped his vibranium shield, returning it to the Stark family, and left the scene with Barnes, leaving Stark behind alone.

Mentor to Spider-Man

Following his battle with Captain America, Stark continued to act as a mentor to Spider-Man, letting him keep the new suit and continuing to follow his exploits against crime in New York, appointing Happy Hogan to monitor the young hero. However, after Parker ran afoul of the Vulture and his crew, Stark reprimanded Parker, stating that he should have let the authorities deal with them. Parker argued that he was ready to do more, but Stark disagreed and told the impulsive youth to stick with dealing with low-level criminals. When Peter asked if the Avengers would take care of the Vulture, Stark replied that Vulture was below their pay grade.

Later, Stark would contact the FBI regarding the Vulture's activities. Unfortunately, at the time he did this, Spider-Man was once again battling Vulture's crew on the Staten Island Ferry. Deciding to intervene himself, Stark donned his Iron Man armour and flew to the scene to help Spider-Man. With the ferry being sheared in half after the misfiring of one of the criminals' stolen Chitauri weapons, Spider-Man used his webbing and superhuman strength to keep the two halves together while Iron Man used his laser to weld the two halves of the boat back together.

After the ferry and its passengers were saved, Stark scolded Spider-Man for endangering himself and the lives of others. Spider-Man accused Stark about not caring what was happening with the stolen weapons, only for Stark to step out of his suit and told Parker that he did listen to him and that he was the one who contacted the FBI. Furthermore, Stark revealed that he was in fact the only one who believed in Parker's potential, despite his age, and that if someone had died there due to his actions, it would be on his conscience and if Parker himself died, then his death would be on his forever. Parker told Stark that he was just trying to be like him, only for Stark to tell him that he wanted him to be better than him and demanded Parker give the Spider-Man suit back, much to Parker's dismay as he claimed that he was nothing without the suit. Stark replied that if he was nothing without the suit, then he shouldn't have it. Parker - much to his reluctance - gave the suit back and Stark sent him home to his Aunt May with some clothes Stark had bought him.

Fortunately for Spider-Man, he would have the opportunity to redeem himself to Stark as he later managed to confront and defeat the Vulture, using only his wits and his own home-made devices. After the Vulture was incarcerated, Stark met with Parker once again to congratulate him and apologize, offering him the Spider-Man suit back. He also unveiled a new suit he had built which would be waiting for Parker when he one day joined the Avengers.

Infinity War

In 2018, Tony and Pepper were rekindling their relationship, jogging in Central Park one day and discussing the possibility of having a child. Suddenly, a magical portal appeared before them and Doctor Strange stepped through, seeking to talk with Stark about an impending threat not only to Earth, but the entire universe. Stark followed Strange through the portal, arriving at the Sanctum in Greenwich Village. There, he saw Bruce Banner, who had been missing since the Battle of Sokovia. Banner explained that the alien warlord Thanos was coming to Earth in search for the Infinity Stones and that he had masterminded Loki and the Chitauri invasion six years ago. Strange stated that he had the Time Stone in his possession and Stark and Banner knew that Vision had the Mind Stone. Unfortunately, Vision had disappeared since the Avengers had broken up and his current whereabouts were unknown.

The group's discussion was interrupted by the sounds of screaming outside and they stepped out to witness the descent of an alien spaceship above the city. Stark, Strange, Wong and Banner were then greeted by Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian of the Black Order, who demanded that Strange surrender the Time Stone. Stark rudely interjected and told the aliens to leave before turning to Banner and urging him to turn into the Hulk. Unfortunately, Hulk had lost against Thanos before being sent to Earth and was refusing to emerge. With Hulk seemingly out of action, Stark activated his nanite-based Mark L armour and attacked the aliens, with Dr. Strange and Wong following him into battle. As the fight raged, the heroes were unexpectedly aided by Spider-Man who had snuck off a school bus to investigate the incident.

While Obsidian was seriously wounded and taken out of the battle thanks to Wong's portals, Maw managed to incapacitate Dr. Strange and take him aboard the Q-Ship. Iron Man and Spider-Man attempted to follow the ship, but Spider-Man began to suffocate as they began rising through the atmosphere. Iron Man remotely activated the Iron Spider module which took off from Avengers HQ and arrived at the scene, attaching to Peter's back and generating the suit around him, providing him an air supply. However, Stark then activated the Iron Spider suit's parachute in order to get Parker away to safety. Spider-Man managed to discard the parachute and held on to the ship using his webbing, managing to follow Iron Man inside. Stark scolded Parker, but Parker retorted by stating he couldn't be a "friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man" if there was no neighbourhood to protect, which was extremely likely if Thanos got what he wanted.

Aboard the Q-Ship, Maw tortured Dr. Strange with a series of needle-shaped devices in order to learn how to remove the Time Stone from Strange's Eye of Agamotto. However, Iron Man and Spider-Man made it to the control centre where Maw was torturing Strange. When Iron Man confronted him, Maw was confident that there was nothing the armoured Avenger could do to him without also putting Strange at risk. However, Iron Man did not attack Maw directly, instead firing a smart bomb at the wall and breaching the hull, resulting in Maw being blown out into space and dying instantly. Spider-Man was able to prevent Strange from meeting the same fate by using his webbing to pull the sorcerer back inside while Iron Man used a nanomachine spray to seal the hull breach. However, the ship was locked on course for the planet Titan and the heroes could not redirect it, so Stark decided that they would battle Thanos on his own turf and dubbed Spider-Man as an official member of the Avengers. Strange warned Stark if he had to make a choice between protecting the Time Stone or saving his allies, he would choose the stone over them.

After arriving at the ruined world of Titan, Strange, Stark and Parker encounter the Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis. After a tense standoff, both parties realized they shared the same goal, before deciding to work together to ambush Thanos, who they expected to be arriving soon. Awaiting for Thanos' arrival, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians attempted to formulate a plan of attack, while Strange activated the Time Stone to view all possible outcomes and futures of the coming battle. While examining all timelines, Strange contemplated cutting off Thanos' hand with his Sling Ring, but desisted upon realizing that the Titan's skin was almost impenetrable and that if he failed to cut it on time, Thanos would still be able to snap his fingers and accomplish his goal. Out of the 14,000,605 possible timelines he viewed, there was only one where the heroes would triumph, but Strange would not tell the others how it played out, believing that it wouldn't happen if he told.

When Thanos arrived at Titan, the heroes sprung their attack, desperately trying to pull the Infinity Gauntlet off of Thanos' arm. However, Thanos already had four of the stones, making him already impossible to defeat. Even the sudden arrival of Nebula in the middle of the battle did not alter its outcome. Eventually, Thanos grabbed Iron Man and was about to kill him before Strange begged him to stop, presenting the Time Stone that he had removed from the Eye of Agamotto. Thanos released Stark and took the stone, then conjured a portal and disappeared from Titan to travel to Earth where the last stone was located. Stark asked why Strange gave him the stone despite his earlier promise, but the sorcerer merely stated that they were now "in the endgame".

Not long after their defeat, the heroes on Titan felt the effect of Thanos' Snap after he had acquired the last Infinity Stone. A wave of death expanded throughout the entire universe, destroying 50% of all life. Tony watched in despair as Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis turned to dust before his eyes. Peter then staggered towards Stark, complaining that he didn't feel well before falling to his knees. Stark held Peter in his arms as the boy whimpered in fear, knowing he was about to die. Stark could do nothing but shed a tear as Peter turned to dust in his arms and disappeared on the wind, leaving Tony and Nebula alone on the lifeless planet.

Weight of defeat

After the battle on Titan, Stark and Nebula left the planet aboard the Guardians' ship, the Benatar. Unfortunately, the ship's engines had suffered damage during the battle and were hemorrhaging fuel. Though Stark and Nebula managed to do some quick repairs, they had leaked too much fuel to be able to make it back to Earth. They spent twenty-three days drifting in space with no hope of refuelling or resupply, trying to stave off boredom and madness with each other's company as Tony taught Nebula how to play simple table games using whatever items were on the ship. Tony also used the communicator in his helmet to record a final message for Pepper, explaining his situation and apologizing to her for being unable to leave the heroic life behind.

On the twenty-third day, as Stark slept in the Benatar's cockpit, cold and near death due to lack of oxygen, he was awoken by a light coming from outside. Opening his eyes, he saw what appeared to be a human woman, floating in the vacuum of space without a suit and surrounded in a brilliant aura of light. Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) used her great strength and power to tow the Benatar back to Earth, saving Stark and Nebula's lives. They landed outside of Avengers Headquarters where they were greeted by Captain America, Black Widow, War Machine and Pepper Potts. They were taken inside where Captain Marvel and Black Widow confirmed what they all knew already: Thanos had done exactly what he had intended to do and destroyed half of all life across the universe. Stark was bitter and angry towards Rogers for not being around when he fought Thanos on Titan, but ultimately his frustration didn't matter. The Avengers were planning to find Thanos and take back the Infinity Stones so they could undo the Snap, and thanks to Nebula, they knew where to look.

Stark remained behind at Avengers HQ with Pepper while Cap, Black Widow, War Machine, Thor, Nebula, Rocket Raccoon and Captain Marvel left aboard the refueled Benatar for the Garden, where Thanos was hiding. Sadly, the group would return in failure after discovering that Thanos had destroyed the Infinity Stones, precisely so that his work could not be undone. Though Thor had killed Thanos after they found him, the Mad Titan's death meant nothing now. The Snap could not be reversed and the Avengers had no choice but to live with their defeat.

During the five years after the Decimation, life on Earth began to return to a state of normalcy following the tremendous social, political and environmental changes brought about by the Snap. During this time, the Avengers had drifted further apart and no longer played a significant role in protecting the planet. Tony and Pepper had married and had a daughter named Morgan, choosing to live out their days peacefully in a lakeside cabin. Bruce Banner spent eighteen months experimenting on himself, trying to achieve an equilibrium between himself and the Hulk, who had gone into a sort of remission after being beaten by Thanos. Banner ultimately succeeded in merging both aspects of his being, gaining the Hulk's incalculable strength while retaining his own mind. This permanent change made him something of a celebrity.

Thor had relocated the surviving Asgardians to Tønsberg, Norway, which had been left mostly deserted after the Snap. The Asgardians renamed the town New Asgard, taking up simple lives as fishermen and brewers. However, Thor had fallen into a deep depression over his inability to stop Thanos, becoming a drunk, overweight hermit. Clint Barton, whose whole family had been killed by the Snap, had turned to a life of solitary vigilantism. Adopting the new identity "Ronin", Clint traveled to Japan where he waged a murderous campaign on the criminals who had survived the Snap, feeling that they shouldn't have survived while so many innocents had been lost.

Time heist

In 2023, in a San Francisco warehouse, a rat accidentally walked over the controls of the Quantum Tunnel, which was housed in Luis' van, and released Ant-Man from the Quantum Realm. After being released from the Quantum Realm, Scott reunited with his daughter and went to Avengers HQ to find the Avengers. Once Scott found the facility, he discussed the Quantum Realm with Rogers and Romanoff, explaining the physics behind the Realm and how five years had passed for the Avengers while it was only five hours for him.

Shortly after, Rogers, Romanoff, and Scott went to see Stark, who was living with his wife and his daughter in a lakeside cabin. Scott explained the Quantum Realm's physics and how they could retrieve the Infinity Stones from past key events, but Tony doubted his efforts because of the risks that came with it. After denying to join them, the group went to Bruce. He said that quantum physics was beyond his level of expertise, but Romanoff returned the fact that they thought it was impossible for him to achieve balance between himself and the Hulk. Meanwhile, Tony was figuring out if time travel was possible, and after concluding that it was, decided to join his old comrades on their "time heist".

A day later, Bruce, Rogers, Romanoff, and Scott began running tests with Luis' van to test Scott’s theory. After Scott appeared as a teenager, an old man, and a baby, this theory had been proven true. Stark arrived at the facility later on and joined with the rest of the Avengers, handing Rogers his shield. Meanwhile, Bruce and Rocket Raccoon went to find and recover Thor while Romanoff went to Tokyo to find Barton. Both men went back to the facility as Rocket began working on a quantum device while Bruce, Scott, Nebula, and Rhodes began working on a quantum suit similar to the Ant-Man suit.

After a successful test run of the suit on Hawkeye, the Avengers began to plan out the recovery of the Infinity Stones by studying the locations of the six throughout recent history. They realized that at one point, three of the stones could be found in New York City, and two others were in space. The sixth could be found on Asgard. Separating into teams, the Avengers travelled back to various points in time: Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Hulk traveled to New York in 2012 during the Battle of New York; Thor and Rocket to 2013 Asgard; and Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nebula and War Machine to 2014 Morag, the former two then heading off into space to Vormir.

In 2012, the Hulk made his way to the New York Sanctum, where the Masters of the Mystic Arts were fending off the attacking Chitauri. After speaking to the Ancient One, Banner was given the Time Stone, given that he returned it to that exact point in time once its purpose had been fulfilled in the future. Tony, Steve, and Scott infiltrated Stark Tower once Loki had been captured. Captain America followed S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as they took his sceptre away to be studied, and gained their trust by claiming to be part of HYDRA. Stark and Lang attempted to steal the Tesseract from previous versions of Stark, Rogers, and Thor, but it was instead stolen by Loki, who disappeared along with it. On the hunt for the escaped Loki, 2012 Steve Rogers found his future self. Believing him to be Loki in disguise, the two fought, with the future version eventually emerging triumphant. Lang and Banner returned the Time and Mind Stones to the future whilst Stark and Rogers traveled to S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters in 1970 to take the Tesseract and more Pym Particles.

In 1970, Stark managed to steal the Tesseract but encountered a past version of his father. The two talked, and Stark was able to gain closure on his childhood. Rogers became distracted with a past version of Agent Peggy Carter after collecting the Pym Particles. He then met up with Stark and the two returned to 2023.

The heroes all returned to 2023 having all accomplished their heists. Sadly, Black Widow had sacrificed her life on Vormir so that Hawkeye could leave with the Soul Stone. The Avengers all took time to mourn their fallen friend; Stark asked if Natasha had any family, to which Steve answered that the Avengers were her family. Thor suggested trying to use the Infinity Stones to bring Natasha back along with everyone else lost in the Snap, but Clint told them that it was impossible since her sacrifice was needed to obtain the stone and could not be undone. In order to make Natasha's sacrifice mean something, the heroes had to succeed at what they set out to do. And so the time came...

The Avengers reconvened inside their headquarters where Stark constructed a Nano-Gauntlet to house the Infinity Stones. Since the stones' energy consisted largely of gamma radiation, it made sense that the Hulk would be the only one who could wield the stones and survive. Hulk took the gauntlet, concentrating with all of his will to bring back those erased by the Snap without undoing anything that had happened in the last five years since. He then snapped his fingers and the chamber was filled with a blinding light. When the flash subsided, Hulk's arm appeared to have been severely burned, but he was still alive. Scott looked outside to see a previously empty tree now occupied by a nest full of birds, believing that Hulk's Snap had worked. A second later, Hawkeye's cellphone started ringing and he answered to hear the voice of his wife on the other end. The Avengers had succeeded; the Decimation had been undone.

Battle for Earth

Just as the Avengers discovered that their mission had succeeded, a massive explosion rocked Avengers HQ, destroying the building and leaving the heroes buried in rubble. The heroes survived the explosion, but had been separated from the Nano-Gauntlet, which was now buried beneath the base along with Hawkeye, who found himself being pursued by Outriders. The other Avengers looked outside to find none other than Thanos sitting atop a small pile of debris, his ship Sanctuary II looming in the sky above. This Thanos had followed War Machine and Nebula back from 2014 and had learned of how his future self had succeeded in wiping out half of all life. However, seeing how the Avengers had gone to so much trouble to undo his victory, Thanos now decided that killing half the universe wasn't enough, that he would have to destroy the entire universe down to its last atom and build a new one in its place, one where its inhabitants knew nothing of what came before.

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America continued to fight Thanos, but even with their combined might and teamwork, the Mad Titan proved to still be formidable and continued to overpower them, knocking out Iron Man by using his body as a human shield to protect himself from a blow by Mjølnir and nearly killing Thor with Stormbreaker. However, Captain America had proved worthy of being able to lift Mjølnir and managed to briefly overpower Thanos, but was still outmatched as Thanos stabbed him in the leg and broke off most of his shield with his blade.

Just when all seemed hopeless as Thanos brought all of his forces to Earth with the goal of finishing off the remaining Avengers, the fallen heroes revived by Hulk's snap along with their own allies arrived to provide aid to the remaining Avengers with Doctor Strange transporting himself, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Falcon along with numerous Masters of the Mystic Arts sorcerers, Wakandan soldiers, Ravagers, and Asgardians led by Valkyrie. United and determined to finally stop Thanos once and for all, they charged into battle against the Mad Titan and his forces.

As the battle raged on, the Avengers came up with a plan to use the Quantum Gate housed in Luis' van to return the Stones to their respective timelines so they could not only keep them out of Thanos' reach but also keep the timelines from falling into chaos. The Avengers tried to get the gauntlet as far from Thanos as possible, but as soon as Scarlet Witch began to break Thanos' army, his mothership began carpet-bombing the battlefield. Soon, Captain Marvel arrived and destroyed the Sanctuary II before taking the gauntlet from Spider-Man and tried to return the Stones using the Quantum Gate.

As soon as Captain Marvel was about to reach the van, Thanos destroyed it by throwing a metal rod at it, sending a wave of energy that sent Marvel flying back, leaving the Gauntlet vulnerable. As soon as the Gauntlet was dropped, Thanos and Tony raced to grab it. Thanos beat Tony aside, but Captain Marvel arrived just as Thanos put on the Gauntlet. Captain Marvel and Thanos fought, but Thanos used the Power Stone to send her flying. Soon, Thanos gained all the power within the Gauntlet, but at the last minute, Tony latched on to the Gauntlet hoping to get it off, but Thanos punched him off. Thanos, in his moment of pride, snapped his fingers... only for nothing to happen. Shocked, Thanos looked at the Nano-Gauntlet only to find the stones weren't there. He turned to look at Iron Man, wielding the stones in his suit's gauntlet.

Iron Man then snapped his fingers and unleashed the power of the Infinity Stones. With this act, Thanos' entire army began to disintegrate into dust and the Mad Titan could do nothing but sit and solemnly accept his defeat as he too crumbled to dust and scattered on the wind. Though Iron Man had destroyed Thanos, the power of the Infinity Stones was too much for him and he fell to the ground, severely weakened with halfed his body scorched by the stones' energies. Pepper and Spider-Man ran over to Stark, who was too weak to move or even speak, and they assured him that the battle was won, that everyone was safe. Tony wasn't able to answer and Pepper sorrowfully told him that he could rest. Realizing that Tony had stopped breathing both Pepper and Parker broke down in tears beside Tony's body while the other heroes stood around them solemnly, mourning the loss of their friend.

Legacy

After Tony's death, the Avengers held a funeral service for him by the lake where his family resided. All of Stark's fellow heroes, friends and extended family attended to wish him farewell and celebrate him as the world's greatest hero. Tony had also left a recorded message for Pepper and Morgan, explaining how things should be in the aftermath of the battle and what the future should look like in raising Morgan.

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