Tony Stark was once believed to be the son of Howard and Maria Stark, but in the world of Marvel Comics, you either die young or live long enough to find your origin retconned, sometimes multiple times. Such was the case with Tony, who we learned in 2013's Secret Origin of Tony Stark by Keiron Gillen and Dale Eaglesham was actually adopted. And in 2016's International Iron Man, by "The Great One" Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev, we learned that Tony's real parents were S.H.I.E.L.D. agents named Jude (wasn't me) and Amanda, except that, actually, Jude was a double agent working for Hydra, and was killed by Amanda for that, leading to her giving up their baby for adoption, which is how he wound up with Howard and Maria.
Follow all that? Well, you've wasted your time. Because tomorrow's Avengers #31 reveals a newer, even secreter origin for Tony Stark. Spoilers ahead…
The preview for the issue released over the weekend already dropped some new revelations about Tony Stark's adoptive father, Howard Stark. We already knew he had a predilection for the debaucherous sex parties of the Hellfire Club. But as Tony Stark, trapped one million years in the past in this storyline titled The Last Temptation of Tony Stark, remembers from his childhood, the elder Starks' sex lives skewed even more toward the creepy and satanic, as we see Tony spying on a sex ritual straight out of Eyes Wide Shut…
As to why Tony is suddenly remembering this now, well, it has relevance to the story being told in tomorrow's Avengers #31… a story which, it so happens, arrived in our mailbox a day early this week, the rare occasion when pre-ordering your comics by mail isn't a tradeoff of deep discount for books a few days later than everyone else, but rather, the best of both worlds.
Back in One Million B.C., Tony is doing his best to survive the Stone Age, but he's been receiving visitors, first some cavewomen offering food, then some cavemen offering alcoholic beverages. But these aren't gifts, but rather an offer. From whom?
It's always a snake. A snake from a million years ago? Who knows Tony's adoptive dad? Unfortunately, Tony cuts him off before he can go full Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back…
So how is it that a snake from a million years in the past knows Tony anyway? Well, sometimes a snake is not a snake… but could it be Howard Stark himself?
Afraid not, as Tony learns after using his Ice Armor to shoot a spike right through dear old adoptive dad's skull…
Meet Tony Stark's new dad: Mephisto!
Of course, demons have been known to lie. And Mephisto in particular has used Howard Stark against Tony before, such as in 2008's Iron Man: Legacy of Doom by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and Ron Lim, when Mephisto had Tony trapped in hell…
…though Tony was able to realize that wasn't really his father, and not because he was adopted (since that retcon wouldn't come for another five years).
With that in mind, you might choose to question this issue's final page reveal, which we'll leave for you to discover on your own.
Avengers #31 is in stores tomorrow.
(W) Jason Aaron (A) More (A/CA) Gerardo Zaffino
THE TEMPTATION OF ANTHONY STARK!
Special Oversized Issue! Trapped in an icy cave at the dawn of time, Tony Stark has lost most of his armor and a good chunk of his mind. And tonight when the sun goes down and the devil comes round again, Iron Man may very well lose whatever's left of his soul. A dark tale of hell and ice and iron, unlike any Golden Avenger story you've ever read, featuring the gorgeously gritty visuals of guest artist Gerardo Zaffino (CONAN THE BARBARIAN).
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020