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Latest Iron Man comic brings up family secrets

The big reveal comes in the pages of Iron Man No 17, out now in comic shops.

Cover of the latest Iron Man comic that is out this week and reveals two family secrets that have Tony Stark questioning his place in the world. AP Photo / Marvel
Cover of the latest Iron Man comic that is out this week and reveals two family secrets that have Tony Stark questioning his place in the world. AP Photo / Marvel

Tony Stark has always been a man of many talents and for whom surprise is a rare thing. But the avenging philanthropic billionaire – better known for the high-tech armour he wears as Iron Man – is about to find himself felled by not one but two family secrets that will have him questioning his place in the world and why the reality of his origin was kept from him.

The big reveal comes in the pages of Iron Man No 17, out this week, written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan and Scott Hanna, lettered by Joe Caramagna and edited by Mark Paniccia.

In it Gillen brings the long-simmering story to its conclusion, with Stark finding out that not only is he – again, spoilers – adopted, but that his parents, Howard and Maria, had a son – imbued with alien technology proffered by the rogue android 451 – who has been hidden away from the world and is laden with unknown abilities and, perhaps, powers.

Gillen calls it a new challenge for Stark, one that is closer to home and more down to earth than his normal conflicts, which have included villainous masterminds, godlike alien intelligences and mechanical behemoths.

“What could I do to challenge the characters’ core conception of their self,” Gillen said about the revelations, which Stark seems to accept while experiencing a swirl of emotions. Stark also meets his brother, Arno, who has been in a hospital his entire life, wanting for nothing, but an enigma regardless.

“When you discover something about yourself, you reprocess. How does it churn in the gut? How do you re-examine your life?” said Gillen. “It’s a completely different prism in how you study yourself.”

The notion of Stark being adopted changes nothing about him as a Stark, said Axel Alonso, the Marvel editor-in-chief.

“When Kieron pitched the story, the bottom-line question for us was: ‘Does this open up the doorway to stories that are worth telling?’” he said. “And it does. Who are Tony’s parents? Will he want to know them? How will he feel about Howard? How will this affect the dynamic between father and son?”

That, said Alonso, will enrich Stark and, by extension, Iron Man, whose first appearance was 50 years ago in Tales of Suspense No 39.

“When you introduce a twist this big to an iconic character’s life, you have to do due diligence and think through all the angles,” he said. “We will definitely have something to say about adoptions and what it means.” – AP

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