Iron Man: House of M #2

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 
Chapter Two: Independence Day

Greg Pak (Writer), Pat Lee (Pencils), Dream Engine (Inks and Colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (Letterer), James Taveras (Production), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Molly Lazer and Aubrey Sitterson (Assistant Editor), Stephanie Moore (Editor), Tom Brevoort (Supervising Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Tony discovers that his father has patched into the Sentinel’s control grid from elsewhere. His father helps him escape, but then apparently moves to kill the rest of the human resistance. Tony saves them and destroys the Sentinel, and thus the Iron Man gets branded as a human sympathizer by the media. Tony returns home, only to be confronted soon after by a dignitary from the House of M, who asks for exclusive rights for the Vision Project that Hank McCoy and Forge are working on. Tony signs it over after they drop hints about a possible Iron Man connection, but learns that they think Johnny Storm is Iron Man. Tony confronts his father, who scolds him over signing over the Vision. Howard then tells Tony that he was not going to kill those humans, but put out the fire behind them. Tony, however, signed the papers to get the heat off of him. Tony goes to destroy the Iron Man armor, but finds Johnny instead, who wants to fight against their oppressors. Tony locates Pym at a human internment camp and they go to rescue him, though the House of M guards are also after him. Pym then unveils his gene bomb and kills all the mutant guards by triggering genetic meltdown. He then reveals that he has bombs planted all over Chicago.

Full Summary: 

Tony Stark lies trapped in his armor under the mighty foot of a towering human policing Sentinel. Guiding that Sentinel through the residential district, however, is Howard Stark, Tony’s father, who calls to Tony through the intercom of the Sentinel and asks him if he can hear him.

Tony, confused and hurt, asks his father if he is inside that Sentinel, using it to kill humans. Annoyed, Howard tells his son that he is the only Stark stupid enough to run around outside of a sports arena in a robotic suit. He has tapped into the Sentinel’s controls remotely. Tony is about to say something, but his father tells him to shut up. He has to do exactly what he tells him.

There is a piece of shielding missing on the Sentinel’s left side. Does Tony see it? Tony confirms this, so Howard tells him that when he lifts the Sentinel’s foot, Tony should fire an electrical disrupter at that spot. It should fry the black box. The Sentinel will fall back and Tony better run. Is he smart enough to get back home without getting caught? Tony begins to ask his father what he will do after that, but his father ignores him and tells him that they are deploying their plan now.

The Sentinel lifts up its leg and Tony wastes no time in hitting its left side. As the Sentinel starts to fritz, Howard tells his son to run. Tony flies into the air, but then looks down to see what appears to be his father commanding the Sentinel to blast away the human rebels in the underground passage, where Hank Pym was supposedly to be. Howard tells his son to run once more, but Tony tells his father that he cannot kill those people. He then attacks the Sentinel, prompting Howard to ask Tony what he is doing. Tony asks his father if he really thinks he will let him kill those people.

In his command base, Howard watches the fight on the monitor and tells Tony that he is insane. He calls his son an idiot and says goodbye. He then turns off his controls to the Sentinel.

Tony descends from the sky after trashing the Sentinel. The human rebels he saved cheer him on as their savior, but in seconds robotic TV cameras arrive on the scene. One camera, from MBC news, asks the iron warrior what his name is. Is he a member of the Sapien Resistance? A camera from Badger Network asks the iron man what he has against mutants. A third camera asks him how tall he is exactly. Does he wear boxers or briefs?

Later that night, Tony sits in his penthouse and watches the news of the “Iron Man” fighting the Sentinel in the residential neighborhood. The government has yet to issue a statement, but apparently Sentinel units have increased in Chicago and security has tightened in New York City and Los Angeles. However, Badger Network promises its viewers that, whoever this terrorist is, he will be in the hands of the authorities soon.

Tony’s beeper goes off so he turns it on, which displays six holographic screens of various employees. One tells Tony that Sapien Death Match wants him to provide expert commentary for a special show on Iron Man. Tony tells the man to tell the show that he is booked. Another board member tells Tony that the toy division has a mock-up of an Iron Man toy awaiting his approval. Shocked, Tony asks who authorized that, and learns that the toy division thought it would be fun and profitable. Tony shuts down the idea and tells him that they aren’t going to be making toys of terrorists.

He then asks his secretary to hold all calls for him for an hour, but learns that there is one more thing. An envoy from the House of M has arrived. Tony tells his secretary that he will be right down. He then turns off the holographic displays and rubs his head. He then pours himself a drink.

After some time Tony goes down to another floor where a two-headed, long necked woman waits. Tony apologizes to the madam, but one of the heads interrupts and tells him that it is okay since he is a busy man. The other head, slightly agitated, tells the other not to make excuses for him. An envoy from the House of M should not have to wait. However, they should begin.

They heard he is developing some interesting new technology. Tony confirms this and tells the women that they are about to announce their new q-series mini-pad. He has a prototype if they want to see it. The nice head interrupts Tony and tells him that they know what he is hiding. Embarrassed and nervous, Tony asks them if they do.

The mean head shows a display of the Vision Project, and tells Tony that they know he has been making good ground on this project. Tony, modest, tells them that he is only human. Hank McCoy and Forge are the real geniuses behind it. The nice head gives Tony a document and asks him to sign. It is a license for the House of M to use all technological advances associated with the Vision Project, which may have application for national defense. In return, the House of M will grant him exclusive commercial rights to any technology not thus restricted by national interest.

Tony tells the women that it is a nice offer, but he needs to consult his legal team. The women tell him that there is no need and no time for that. He is familiar with Iron Man isn’t he? Tony tells them that he is and it is unfortunate as his actions may outshine his new product announcement on Wednesday. The women tell Tony that they know who Iron Man is.

Scared, Tony asks them if they do. The women tell him that Johnny Storm is Iron Man. Only a handful of sapiens have the skill to pilot a suit, and Storm is the only one of them to disappear in the last twelve hours. They need to find him. They need Tony to sign the paper. They need to eliminate Johnny Storm.

Some time later, in Howard Starks’ office, Howard tells Tony that they do not suspect a thing. Has he made some advances in that psionic inhibitor? Does he carry it or is it embedded in the room? Angered, Tony calls his father a murdered. His father, however, tells him to grow up. Tony tells his father that he stood by while those Sentinels fried dozens of people, and then he tried to finish the job. Howard retorts that Tony just signed a paper that could lead to the deaths of millions. Why does he do the things he does? What guides his decisions? Tony wonders what kind of question that is, but his father just wishes to be indulged.

Tony stutters that he is trying to do the right thing, but Howard asks for whom? Tony retorts with his own question, asking his father who he is to lecture him on ethics. He was the one driving a Sentinel. Howard asks Tony why he is asking about what he does. The question is what Tony does and why. Tony, annoyed, realizes that his father has a point he wants to address, so he asks him to just get on with it. Howard sits at his desk and tells Tony that he wasn’t going to kill the people. He was going to put out the fire behind them. Tony, however, signed those papers without a second thought.

Tony asks his father what he should have done. If he said no then they would have taken over and there would be no way for them to know what they truly wanted. Howard, however, tells Tony that he wasn’t thinking about that when he signed the papers. He was trying to get rid of the fear in his gut. Howard leaves the room and tells Tony that he was just playing his role. He doesn’t have to fear anymore though. All he has to do is to go into the basement and destroy the suit.

In Starks Lab, Hank McCoy and Forge watch a news report about the Sentinel Fields, where Sentinels are building barracks for the influx of recently captured sapien rebels. This act was sanctioned by the Sapien Protection Act, and humans can be kept there for three months while their cases are reviewed. Hank is concerned about these “safe zones” being set up. Forget tells him that back in the day they were called reservations.

Meanwhile, the two-headed delegate from the House of M goes through the papers that Stark has provided her. One of the heads finds the schematics for a robotic unit. “This is… This is getting ugly,” says Hank to Forge, as they watch the women at work.

Elsewhere, Tony watches the news report about the human “safe zones” and sees the daughter and father who were walking their dog by that sapien resistance meeting he attacked. Apparently, they were arrested for no reason. The girl screams that they were just walking their dog, but her father hushes her. No one cares, he tells her.

Tony turns off the television and heads to his secret lab, where he takes a particle cannon and is about to destroy the Iron Man armor. Suddenly, the armor moves and tells Tony that he surrenders.

The Iron Man removes his helmet to reveal Johnny Storm underneath, who tells Tony that he will never play Chicken with particle cannons. He tells Tony that he got inside this armor, but he couldn’t get it to go on-line. Is there a password, or retina scan? Perhaps it needs a genetic signature. He tells Tony that this armor rocks and that he loves him for it. He saw news reports on Iron Man and realizing that it had to be Tony; he snuck in and found the armor.

Tony calms Johnny down and then rushes to work. He needs to get Johnny a new identity card and he can slip out with the night shift. Johnny, confused, tells Tony that he isn’t going anywhere. Tony tells Johnny that he is going to escape so the House of M cannot catch him. Johnny, however, refuses to run. That is why he came here. He wants to fight.

Soon, when Johnny is out of the armor, he reasons with Tony and reminds him that the mutants are rounding up normal humans. Tony, however, tells Johnny that, even if they smash up a few Sentinels, the House of M will send a few hundred more. Suddenly, Tony’s palm pilot goes off and tells him that his target has been found. Johnny, recognizing the pad as one of Wyngarde’s, asks if it was manufactured by the man. Tony, however, is more concerned with what he sees. The House of M has Pym. They are taking him to the “safe zones.”

Some time later, Hank Pym stands in line with a bag in his arms. Paranoid, he looks around him, but eventually he is next to being called to a table where two mutants await. One tells him to open his bag and Hank obliges, but stares at the sky. One mutant wonders what he is looking at, but the other tells him that it is just the sun. Suddenly, they notice a blue armored figure flying straight at them.

The armored figure streaks through the Sentinels and the humans in the camp cheer that Iron Man has arrived. The warrior, however, tells them to get with the program. He is Johnny Storm. No one in the crowd, however, knows who that is.

The mutant bag checkers run away, but Pym stands there in awe and mutters that this wasn’t apart of the plan. As a Sentinel is about to fall on him, Iron Man swoops down and picks him up. A group of armor-clad House of M agents arrive, with their fists glowing green. They order the humans to calm down and to get back in line. They shouldn’t get any bright ideas. However, the humans, inspired, charge and attack the guards, who are severely outmatched.

A few flying guards chase after Iron Man, who holds Hank Pym in his arms. Johnny spots them and tells Tony, but Iron Man realizes that it is him they want. He throws Pym to Johnny and flies towards the mutant guards. However, much to his surprise… they fly past him.

The guards surround Johnny and order him to give them Pym. He has three seconds to comply. The guards begin to count, but Pym pulls a bomb out of his bag and detonates it. The result is not an explosion of fire, but of energy, which does not harm him, nor Johnny or Tony. Instead, the mutant guards are surrounded by a blue energy and begin shrieking, as they literally decompose into nothing in seconds. Elated, Pym screams that it works.

As the guards’ armor fall down the ground, Johnny asks Pym what works. Pym explains that his gene bomb works. It keys in on organic forms carrying the mutant genome. It then triggers genetic meltdown. Johnny tells Pym that he just murdered those people. Pym, however, does not care, as they are mutants. Johnny calls him a monster, but Iron Man shushes him. He asks Pym how many bombs he made. Lots, replies Pym. Tony then asks where the other bombs are. “Everywhere,” replies Pym, as he looks down.

Iron Man and Johnny Storm look down at Chicago.

Characters Involved: 

Tony Stark/Iron Man

Johnny Storm

Howard Stark

Hank Pym

House of M dignitary

Forge, Hank McCoy

Various humans and guards

Story Notes: 

This is part of the House of M crossover and continues from the prelude in Excalibur (2nd Series) #13-14. Tie in issues include Spider-Man: House of M #1-5, Fantastic Four: House of M #1-3, Incredible Hulk (3rd Series) #83-86, Uncanny X-Men #462-465, New X-Men (2nd Series) #16-19, Cable/Deadpool #17, Black Panther (4th Series) #7, Mutopia X #1-4, Wolverine (3rd Series) #33-35, The Pulse #10, The Pulse: House of M Special Edition, Exiles #69-71, Secrets of the House of M, Captain America (5th Series) #10, and New Thunderbolts #11. None of the tie-ins are needed to understand the main story in House of M #1-8.

While serving as an Avenger, Wanda’s reality warping powers slowly deteriorated her mind and she lost all grip on reality. Desperately wanting children again, she reconjured them back and went mad, thinking the Avengers as her enemies and killing Ant-Man II, Hawkeye, and Vision during the Avengers Disassembled event in Avengers (1st Series) #500-503. In the end, the heroes could do nothing, but let Dr. Strange turn off her mind temporarily. Wanda was then taken by her father, Magneto, to Genosha where she has been from Excalibur (2nd Series) #8-14.

In the House of M world, Tony inherited the company from his father, who had made several poor business decisions. Tony was on the edge of cutting edge science and built weapons to fight against the most powerful of mutants. When the Mutant-Human War ended, Tony had created a powerful armor suit to fight against any mutant, but since then his suits have been powered down and used in the popular Sapien Death Match game, a television sport in which giant robots fight one another, sometimes controlled by human pilots. Tony and his father are the best in the game. Recently, Stark Industries beat out Jason Wyngarde in getting the contract for Sentinel production, though Magnus and Sebastian Shaw only rewarded Tony the contract if he would hire Dr. Henry McCoy and Forge as observers.

Issue Information: 

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