Warning: SPOILERS for Tony Stark: Iron Man #18
The future of Tony Stark has never seemed less certain, with his secret brother becoming Iron Man 2020 in the new year. But the biggest change in the Stark family isn't in Tony's life, but that of his parents… now that Howard and Maria Stark have returned from the dead in Marvel Comics.
The deceased Starks are practically household names thanks to the Iron Man and Avengers movies of the MCU, where Howard Stark played a major role since the first Captain America movie. In the Civil War movie their tragic deaths were revealed to have been ordered murders committed by the Winter Soldier, which is a bit different than the comic book version. Originally, Howard and Maria Stark died in a car accident... that may or may not have been planned, by unknown forces. Either way, their cause of death has become completely meaningless, now that Tony's brother Arno has scientifically resurrected them -- using the same cloning technology that brought Tony back to life after his death.
That distinction is an important one for readers to consider, especially those who might claim a 'genetically accurate clone' of Tony Stark's mother and father isn't really them, even though they possess the same mind, personality, and memories as the people they were before their deaths. Because if that doesn't make them real, then Tony Stark has been just as much of a fake ever since the Civil War II event. That dust-up saw Tony killed by Captain Marvel, but he would eventually return as almost the exact same man Iron Man fans know and love. Regrown in a perfect copy of his own body, with his brain digitally scanned and re-uploaded into the clone.
There may be more than sentimentality and love behind Arno Stark's decision to repeat the procedure, but on the surface, it is a chance for him to love the parents he never truly joined as a family (thanks to Arno Stark's unbelievable origin story). And he's right to claim that if Tony Stark qualifies as a real person, and the same one he used to be, then the same must apply for Howard and Maria. Something tells us Tony might have something to say about that conclusion… especially if this is related to Howard's claim over company rights or property.
Arno Stark's plan, like his coming promotion to become Iron Man 2020 is still being kept under wraps. But with Tony more vulnerable than ever, and his time in the Iron Man suit seemingly ending, the resurrection of Howard and Maria Stark will only add to his emotional distress. Not to mention his thoughts on whether HE is even the same person he used to be. As if the next few months of Iron Man comics weren't intriguing enough.
Tony Stark: Iron Man #18 is available now from your local comic book shop.