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Iron Man 2 Blu-ray and DVD

Howard Stark: Father of Iron

Uncover the past of Iron Man's father

"Iron Man 2" heated up the theaters this summer, and soon you can bring the blockbuster movie home with you as it hits Blu-ray and DVD on September 28! As we countdown to the big day, Marvel.com will bring you a look at some of the stories, characters and relationships that influenced the film, as well as a peek or two behind the curtain of the "Iron Man 2" Blu-ray itself!


By Marc Strom

Howard Stark
As fans saw in "Iron Man 2" this summer, Howard Stark helped his son Tony become the Iron Man we know today. But while movie goers have only known the films' Howard Stark for a short time, comics fans have gotten to know him more and more in the 40 years since his first appearance in IRON MAN Vol. 1 #28, both in the traditional Marvel Universe as well as the Ultimate Universe.

Now, with "Iron Man 2" hitting Blu-ray and DVD on September 28, we look back on the history of the two Howard Starks, each a different man but both sharing at least one thing in common: A son named Tony with a heart of Iron.

Marvel Universe

Howard Stark fights back
In the traditional Marvel Universe, Howard Stark worked for the U.S. government to help develop the atomic bomb during World War II. Because of Stark's inside knowledge of the project, the Red Skull kidnapped Howard and his wife Maria. Despite the torture the Skull subjected him to, Stark revealed nothing. Captain America, Bucky and Nick Fury's Howling Commandos eventually came to his rescue, and Stark himself helped fight to freedom.

Near the end of the war, Stark designed Arsenal Alpha and Beta, two robots with an artificial intelligence known as Mistress based off his wife's brainwaves. The robots were meant as a Cold War defense mechanism, only to awaken in the event of a foreign nation occupying the United States. However, the Avengers would later activate them accidentally in the basement of their mansion.

Howard Stark, agent of the Brotherhood of the Shield
Howard worked with Nathaniel Richards, father of the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards, as part of the Brotherhood of the Shield, a group that protected the Earth from extraterrestrial and supernatural threats in a time before super heroes became more common in the Marvel Universe. His full involvement with the organization remains unknown at this time.

After Tony's birth, Howard sought to turn his son into the best he could be. While he nurtured Tony's intelligence, Howard also held him to a very high standard, and the pressure would frequently cause friction between father and son. Howard felt Tony lacked ambition and direction. When Howard and Maria died in a car accident, Tony began to take the family business much more seriously, taking control of Stark Industries, the company his father founded, and going on to become one of the world's leading scientific minds.

Steve Rogers flashed back to his rescue mission of Howard Stark in CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #9, while Iron Man and Earth's Mightiest Heroes fought the Arsenal robots in IRON MAN #114, AVENGERS ANNUAL #9 and IRON MAN Vol. 3 #84-85. Howard currently appears in the ongoing S.H.I.E.L.D., issue #4 on sale Oct. 6.

Ultimate Universe

Ultimate Howard and young Tony
The Howard Stark of the Ultimate Universe had a much better relationship with his son. Howard and Maria met while he was developing a new type of armor that could be painted onto its bearer. While pregnant with Tony, Maria accidently exposed herself to an experimental virus meant to counteract the negative side effects of Howard's armor. As a result, she died giving birth, leaving Howard to raise Tony by himself.

Howard's ex-wife, Loni, teamed with Zebediah Stane to effect a hostile takeover of Stark Defense Corporation, sending Howard on the run with his son. He would later create Stark Enterprises, and after exonerating himself from the murder of Zebediah Stane which his ex-wife had orchestrated, he went on to continue raising Tony the best he knew how.

For more on the Ultimate Universe's Howard Stark, read ULTIMATE IRON MAN #1-5 and ULTIMATE IRON MAN II #1-5, collected in ULTIMATE COMICS IRON MAN ULTIMATE COLLECTION.


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