Tony Stark has always been the bad boy of the Avengers roster, but it turns out that he’s actually got more of the devil in him than we realized. This week’s Avengers #31 is an eye-opening journey through the truth of the Stark family that turns everything we knew about Iron Man on its head. And the headline is this: Tony Stark is actually the son of the devil. Yes, you read that right.
Avengers #31 by Jason Aaron and Gerardo Zaffino sees the Armored Avenger on his own as he investigates the mystery of a million-year-old Iron Man helmet turning up in a cave. This leads him to be sent back in time, whereupon he receives a strange supernatural visitation. He’s joined by a talking snake – AKA Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel universe – who says he’s come for Tony’s soul. He tests the hero by questioning how Howard Stark became the smartest man in the world and says that Tony belongs to him as his son was the price Howard had to pay as part of their bargain. Mephisto begins to say: “I’m your real fa-” before Stark bashes the snake’s head in with a rock.
But the devil returns in the guise of Howard, offering Tony his hand so that he may show him how to rule worlds. Iron Man kills him with an icicle, but the devil reforms as Mephisto, wielding the Time Stone and again claiming to be Tony’s real father. Tony uses the Stone to send himself back to the present and then heads to Vegas to confront Mephisto, telling him to “kiss my iron ass” before leaving. The issue ends with one final surprise, though: Howard Stark appears in Mephisto’s presence and promises he knows how to break his son’s spirit.
From the revelation that Tony is the freakin’ Anti-Christ to that last tease that Howard may be both alive and evil, this is one mind-blowing issue. It seems Aaron has some big plans for Iron Man to come in his Avengers run, too, so be sure to catch the next installment when Avengers #32 releases on March 11th.