*Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Marvel Comics series International Iron Man. And some for Captain America: Civil War, for that matter*
Since it was revealed a few years ago that the effortlessly charming billionaire playboy Tony Stark was adopted, his biological parentage has been the cause of interesting debate. Considering his power as both Iron Man and the head of Stark Industries, his genetic link is on par with Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.
That question has now been answered in the series International Iron Man, and the answer is shocking to say the least. Earlier, the series had revealed that Tony Stark's biological mother was Amanda Armstrong, a well-known musician who doubled as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent.
The mystery of Tony's biological father was revealed in the series finale, International Iron Man #7. Amanda met a fellow agent named Jude, who later saved her life during a mission in Germany. Although later captured by Hydra, the pair managed to escape, and started dating for two years before Amanda fell pregnant, which prompted her to quit S.H.I.E.L.D.
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However, tragedy was about to strike. Just one week before Amanda was due to give birth, Jude confessed to becoming a double agent, exchanging information with the terrorist organization, Hydra. This sparked a furious response from Amanda, who drove a pair of scissors deep into his neck, killing him.
The Truth Behind Tony Stark's Parentage
Amanda never fully recovered from the ordeal, and instead put the child up for adoption. That's when Howard Stark took custody of the child, who would then grow up to become Tony Stark, and eventually inherit his multi-billion dollar company, Stark Industries.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly prior to the series release, writer Brian Michael Bendis talked of the decision to explore Stark's background. He said:
"He’s going to find out this year, and in this brand new book, the quest for who he is and why he’s wired the way he is — which is very unique and different — is something he’s gonna face. We have some really great stories to tell about Tony."
Check out our video on the richest stars of pop-culture to find out where Tony Stark ranks:
Depicting one of Marvel's most esteemed and popular heroes as having such a close link with Hydra will understandably raise a few eyebrows; even more so considering it follows the controversial decision to unveil Captain America as a Hydra double agent a few months ago, a decision that essentially undermined the character's rich history and conception.
Marvel quickly rescinded that storyline, using the superhero equivalent of "it was all a dream" by claiming that the back story was created by the Red Skull using a cosmic cube. In reality, it's likely a combination of a ploy to shift copies and a response to the backlash, which in particular highlighted Captain America's particular anti-Nazism, and Hydras undeniably likeness to the anti-semitic group.
Could This Impact The MCU?
Stark's link is less blatant, though, and could eventually work its way into the fabric of the MCU. The theme of family played an integral role in the latest offering, Captain America: Civil War, in particular with both Black Panther — whose father was assassinated — and Iron Man.
Not only does Stark launch the Howard and Maria Stark Fund, a large part of Baron Zemo's evil plan to get the Avengers to turn on themselves centers around the revelation that Bucky was responsible for killing Stark's parents when in Winter Soldier mode. Before that, it was understood Stark's parents had been killed in a car accident.
It's not entirely inconceivable that in the resulting investigation, the truth of Stark's adoption could come to light. Considering his biological mother killed his biological father due to differences working in the field, could this then lead to Stark's imminent withdraw from Avenger duty, and the end of Iron Man in the MCU?
More questions will be answered when the impact of the revelation is explored in the Invincible Iron Man series, which launches in November.
What do you think of the revelation Stark has ties with Hydra?