A Sentinel towers above the wreckage of another Sentinel in the Sapien Death Match Arena. Standing below that Sentinel, in the open-air arena, is a small, golden, armored figure, who hears the malicious Sentinel state that it will destroy all sapiens.
Tony Stark, the man in the golden armor, dodges the fist of the Sentinel, as the announcer narrates the events for the audience. The announcer reminds his audience that Stark is just a human, an evolutionary dead end. How could he possibly defeat the greatest weapons the House of M has to offer? He cannot buck the inevitable evolutionary decline of his race. In fact, he cannot even live for another three seconds!
Tony, however, proves the announcer wrong and strikes the Sentinel with a repulsor ray, destroying the mechanical beast. The announcer screams out to his audience that Tony Stark, the great sapien hope, has won again. He rules the world of business, rocks the world of gladiators and is cute as well. Below, another competitor in battle armor below wonders if he is just chopped liver. The announcer laughs and calls the audience’s attention to young Johnny Storm, who is speaking through his on-air helmet mike. It seems, though that with all the other competitors and Sentinels down, Johnny and Tony will have a one-on-one battle.
The two mecha-warriors fly high into the air, where Tony asks Johnny if he is up for this. Johnny tells Tony to bring it on, but Tony decides to give the young boy one more chance to shake hands and walk away. Johnny interrupts Tony’s speech and screams his battle cry, “flame on,” which results in his chest plate opening up and shooting out a blast of fire. Tony is caught off guard and plummets to the ground, while the announcer tells his audience that it is unbelievable that Stark was taken off guard by Storm. Johnny descends to the ground, wondering what is so unbelievable about that, when he sees something not to his liking.
Tony, who burrowed underground, flies out of the earth and punches Johnny hard, knocking the boy to the ground and sending his helmet flying away. While the announcer raves over the upset, Tony tells Johnny that it is over. Johnny smirks and tells Tony that it is. Suddenly, he rolls to the side as a massive mechanical foot stomps on Stark. The announcer tells the audience that Stark has been taken out by the only opponent who could ever beat him. A voice from inside the giant mechanical robot that has pinned down Tony tells him that it is over.
Tony looks up at his father, as he emerges from the victorious mechanical giant. The announcer calls out that Howard Stark is the winner of this week’s Sapien Death Match. As the three men take the stage to receive their trophies, Howard scolds his son for being so careless and being taken by surprise. Tony tells his father that he hates to see an old man cry. Meanwhile, Johnny revels in the attention he is getting as he is now in league with the big dogs. As Howard rubs the hair of Tony, Flash Thompson, the announcer for MBC, bids adieu to his fans.
Some time later in Chicago, Tony and his father return back to work, where he learns that there is trouble in the personal computing sector. Tony asks if this has to do with Jason Wyngarde, his competitor. His informer tells Tony that Wyngarde is going to introduce a new six-ounce mini-pad on Wednesday, which will blow Stark Industries’ P-7 out of the water. Not impressed by Jason’s latest toy, Stark proudly announces that he has been working on the 0-1 recently. Wyngarde is blind, for his chip canyons aren’t sharp enough and Tony’s 0-1 should work much better. His scientist is left in awe.
Stark smugly tells his companions that they will announce the 0-1 on Wednesday, a half hour before Wyngarde’s announcement. Howard is pleased with his son’s business savvy nature, while the scientist remains behind, playing with the 0-1 model and wondering if the genius Stark really is a human, or perhaps he is a mutant after all.
Further down, Tony meets with Henry McCoy and Forge, and asks them if they remember his father. Howard asks the two men what they are working on. Hank takes charge and introduces the Vision Project. It is a sophisticated artificial intelligence, combined with the most advanced mechanical body, and then jokingly adds that it can baby-sit the kids and do taxes. Tony questions the earlier problems with the object recognition system, to which Hank replies that the same problems are recurring, but they have new processors so things may change.
Howard interrupts and excuses himself, as this techno talk is not something an old chairman emeritus needs to be a part of. He tells Tony to go ahead and iron out the details while he pokes around. Howard then walks down the hall to another lab, occupied by Hank Pym.
Some time later, Tony notices that his father has been gone for a while. He investigates and finds Howard in Pym’s lab, and his father asks Tony if he wants to go grab something to eat. Tony agrees, but then his attention is turned to a hologram of a strand of DNA. Howard looks at the hologram and tells Tony that it is some project that Pym is working on, but it makes no sense to him. Tony questions Pym about the project. Pym, a bit worried, assures Tony that it is a simple genome mapping project and he would be more interest in the new miracle rice research. Stark, not easily swayed, realizes that the genome is of a mutant.
Before Pym can come up with a convincing lie, Howard throws him roughly against his lab table, asking what is wrong with him. Pym, scared, tells Howard that it is a question of science and of the pursuit of knowledge. Enraged, Howard reminds Pym that it is illegal to map a mutant genome. Mutants rule this world and they do not want their vulnerabilities exposed, which would give the sapien resistance a means to destroy them. Pym, shocked, tell Howard that he would never turn over his information to terrorists, and then asks Tony for help.
Tony, not wanting to hear Pym’s excuses, orders him to shut down the project or be fired. If he refuses, he will be terminated on the spot. Pym looks at Tony, feeling betrayed, then looks away. Tony looks at his father, who stares at him disappointed, then walks away.
That night, Tony finds himself alone in his apartment, drinking and watching his recent appearance on Sapien Death Match. He watches the trophy ceremony where his dad rubs his hair, and is reminded of a time when he was a child and his father forcefully grabbed him by the hair and yelled at him for breaking a toy that cost a lot of money to develop, before calling his young son a disappointment.
Brooding, Tony heads down to the twelfth sub-basement of his building and enters in the access code. The doors slide open and reveal Tony’s latest secret project. Before him is a red and gold battle armor, his latest battle armor design that he has been working on for some time. Tony gets back to work on his design and can’t wait for his old man to see this.
Some time later, Tony walks down the halls, determined. Nobody is smarter or richer than him. They cannot touch him. He is Tony Stark. Suddenly, he walks past Hank Pym’s lab… and finds it completely empty.
Soon, after an investigation, his robotic guards tell Tony that there is no trace anywhere of Hank Pym on the premise. His research material is missing as well. Security logs indicate that he vacated the premise at 6 p.m.
Tony speeds away to his father’s estate, where he informs his father that Pym has disappeared, but he will find him. Howard, however, tells his son to shut up. He will do nothing, because Tony has no clue what to do, otherwise he would not have come there would he? Tony pauses, but Howard continues on to speak. It is his fault. Tony never grew up, because as a father he never made him. Saddened, Tony tells his father that this accusation is not fair. Disgusted at that comment, Howard asks Tony if he is twelve for saying something so childish and irresponsible.
Angered, Tony tells his father that he does not have to listen to this for he is a grown man. He runs the most successful business this world has ever seen. Howard reminds Tony that he created and passed on that business, but Tony tells his father that he inherited it on the verge of collapse. He was the one who created new technology that put Stark Enterprises back on the map. Howard tells Tony that he built his new company on the old foundations. Tony has no idea what it took to create that foundation. Worse, he does not want to know. Tony could never have done what he did; he could never do what was necessary. Now, in his moment of crisis, he does not have the knowledge or will to do what must be done. Howard orders Tony to go home to bed. Everything will be fine in the morning.
Tony does indeed go back home and drinks himself to sleep, but he does not stay in bed for long. Angered, he heads back to the sub-basement to his latest armor Angered, he armors up in his new suit and heads out into the night.
Tony checks his systems to see if he is on-line, then makes sure any logs of conversation to his armor tonight is deleted immediately. He then orders his armor to hack into the system and to find the use of Hank Pym’s I.D. to show his movement in the last past three months. The armor informs Tony that this would be illegal. Tony tells his computer program, known as Jarvis, that it is not a lawyer. The armor complies.
Tony’s armor guides him to a residential neighborhood and to a normal looking house. Tony is not sure what this means, so his armor switches to infrared and shows him a secret area under the house where there is a large congregation of people. The bunker is equipped with a scrambler, which the armor begins to decrypt. I.D. cards indicate that there are six known members of the Sapien Resistance in the area. The armor begins to hunt for a probable entry point, but Tony tells Jarvis not to bother.
Tony lands on the lawn as a woman and her father walk by. He then punches a whole in the ground and into the bunker. The Jarvis program is not sure if Pym is present and begins to search through the faces, but suddenly it recognizes that three of the subjects before Tony have guns. Tony blasts away the goons and orders everyone to freeze and he shoots out a blast of fire. He is about to tell the confused men who he is looking for, when suddenly a giant hand pulls him out of the basement.
Tony finds himself in the clutches of a standard issue Sentinel and is thrown into a car, as two more Sentinels comb the area. One Sentinel informs those in the basement that they are partaking in an illegal gathering. Any attempt to flee will result in termination. The daughter and father watch on, and the father is frightened that the Sentinels might kill. The daughter assures her father that the Sentinels are not like the ones in the old days during the Mutant-Human War, but she is proven wrong. The Sentinel, without warning, opens fire into the bunker and incinerates all present.
As the father and daughter run away, a voice on Tony’s intercom tells him to run, which confuses him. Tony refuses and chucks a car at one Sentinel, which makes it shoot its other unit in the chest. The last remaining Sentinel takes to the air, but begins to descend again to crush Tony. Jarvis warns him to dodge, but Tony thinks that he is fast enough. He is not.
Tony, stuck under the Sentinel’s foot, mutters that these Sentinels are faster in real life. Suddenly, the Sentinel looks down at Tony, addressing him by name, and tells him that it is over. Tony recognizes the voice… as his fathers.
Sitting in a lab controlling the Sentinel, Howard Stark looks down at Tony through the eyes of the Sentinel. “What a disappointment,” says the bitter father.