The end is coming for Tony Stark. That is, if a new, cryptic teaser image from Marvel Comics is to be believed. As shared by the folks over at Comicbook.com, Marvel is teasing something that can only be referred to as Iron Man 2020 for the time being. We have nothing to go on other than this one image for right now, but the image on its own is a doozy. Have a look.
As we can see, we've got someone in a beefed-up version of the Iron Man armor standing over the grave of one Anthony Edward Stark, aka Tony Stark. While it's not made explicitly clear in the cover art, it's suggested in the report by Comicbook.com that this person under the armor is Arno Stark, who was created by Tom DeFalco and Herb Trimpe in 1984. Arno started as Tony's cousin, but has evolved over the years. Whatever the case may be, if Tony is truly dead, then someone has to take up the mantle.
This cover art was cooked up by artist Inhyuk Lee. Beyond that, little is known about what the publisher intends to do with the title next year. What we know for sure is that the current book, Tony Stark: Iron Man, is set to end with issue 19 in December. Undoubtedly, the end of that book will segue into Iron Man 2020. For now, all anyone can really do is speculate until Marvel decides to provide us with some more concrete details.
Here is the official synopsis for Tony Stark: Iron Man #19
"What if there is no Tony Stark? What if there is only the Iron Man? At the end of 2019, the boundaries between man and machine are blurred and broken"¦ and the Marvel Universe will be a very different place in the year 2020. A new Iron Age is coming"¦ and you do NOT want to miss this pivotal issue."
What is going on in the pages of Marvel Comics seems to, at least vaguely, mirrors what has happened recently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spoilers for those who haven't seen it yet (but at this point, if you haven't seen it, do you really even care?) but Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark dies at the end of Avengers: Endgame to stop Thanos from wiping out life all across the universe. With Tony gone, there is a void that needs to be filled in the MCU. But who will fill it?
It's worth noting that the original Iron Man 2020, in Marvel Comics continuity, was at odds with Machine Man. Currently, the previously mentioned Arno Stark is Tony's adopted brother. Considering he was originally under the armor in Iron Man 2020, it would make at least some sense for him to take up the mantle. But who knows? Marvel loves to throw us a good curveball every now and again. In any event, this is certainly something comic book fans will want to pay attention to.
So what do you think? Who is under that armor? Is Tony Stark really dead? Sound off in the comments!