Writer Dan Slott’s “Marvel Fresh Start” era take on Iron Man has concentrated heavily on artificial intelligence and robot rights, attempting the kind of 15 minutes into the future challenges that Netflix’s Black Mirror has done so well throughout the 2010’s.
Slott’s run concludes in dramatic – and deliciously obscure – fashion with Iron Man 2020, a miniseries reboot of Tony Stark: Iron Man following the conclusion of “The Ultron Agenda” in Tony Stark: Iron Man #19.
Arno Stark has long been Marvel’s Iron Man of the future, but now that his future (2020) is simply the present, it’s too perfect an opportunity to bring Arno and Iron Man 2020 to the limelight. Just in time for Slott’s long brewing Robot Revolution, led by Machine Man and host to just about every robot, android, and life-model-decoy you can think of.
Below you’ll find a complete guide to Iron Man 2020, including the Marvel history that sets the stage for the crossover, as well as reading order checklists for the entire mini event.
* Updates to this reading order provided by AC Elliott. Thanks for your work, AC! *
The Road to Iron Man 2020
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) 20, Machine Man (1984) 1-4, Death’s Head 10, Iron Man 2020 #1, Astonishing Tales: Iron Man 2020 (Digital) 1-6, Material From What If? (1989) 53
This prelude collection (of the, um, exact same name as the new event!) brings together the spread-out history of Arno Stark, the once and future Iron Man of the year 2020. As you’ll quickly gather from reading the new Iron Man 2020, it’s the 1984 Machine Man limited series by Tom Defalco, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Herb Trimpe that serves as Dan Slott’s primary inspiration. Arno Stark is a genuinely obscure corner of Marvel’s Iron Man history, so I find it a pretty fascinating deep dive to explore the character’s past before we dig into the new story.
Collects: Iron Man #12 to #17 (but note this is “Part 2” of Gillen’s “Secret Origin” for Tony Stark)
During his Marvel NOW! era take on Iron Man, comics writer Kieron Gillen restored parts of the Arno Stark mythos to Iron Man lore. These are heavily referenced in Iron Man 2020 #1’s background page on Arno Stark. The whole “Secret Origin” arc never really struck a chord with me as a reader, but it’s an interesting run to revisit, particularly given how darn good Gillen’s work typically can be.
Iron Man 2020 Collected Editions
Collects: Iron Man 2020 #1 to #6
Collects: 2020 Force Works (2020) 1-3, 2020 Machine Man (2020) 1-2, 2020 Iron Age (2020) 1
Collects: 2020 Rescue (2020) 1-2, 2020 Ironheart (2020) 1-2, 2020 iWolverine (2020) 1-2
Iron Man 2020 Reading Order Checklist!
Along with co-writing the main series, Christos Gage checks in with everyone’s favorite “complete and utter ☠☠☠☠” Machine Man, as he battles for and against his long time love, Jocasta and faces a potentially fatal forced upgrade.
In a callback to the 1994 Tony Stark created team, a new Force Works team is assembled at the request of the U.S. Government to combat the robot uprising. Maria Hill serves as Force Works commander with a team of War Machine, Gauntlet (a Dan Slott creation from the Avengers Initiative era), former merc for money and hero for hire Solo, Mockingbird, and Daisy “Quake” Johnson.
Pepper Potts, who has been largely absent from Slott’s run on Iron Man, returns and dons her rescue armor for a critical mission
A one-shot anthology from the previously mentioned Tom DeFalco, upcoming Iron Man Scribe, Christopher Cantwell and Fonda Lee that covers some different points of view around the robot revolution.
In terms of deep cuts, a series about Albert, an android doppelganger of Wolverine, and Elsie-Dee, an android bomb with the appearance of a little girl, is up there. Written by the character’s creator and long time Wolverine writer, Larry Hama.
Dan Slott says goodbye as the Iron Man 2020 event wraps up, leading to an all-new Iron Man series.