Iron Mans artificial nervous system is being controlled by the Marr's twins. He loses body control in battle with a new Living-Laser. He must use special armor that he mentally controls to enable him to walk and talk, but it makes him slow and vulnerable in battle. Meanwhile the Mandarin gains control of Fin Fang Foom and is gains one third of China. The storyline ends when Iron Man must fight a huge robot suit. He is as good as dead when Jim Rhodes goes into an Iron Man suit and defeats the foe, smashing him into a building. The building collapses and the new foe is thought to be dead. Tony Stark now has little control of his body. The story of the Mandarin and Tony's nervous system continue in Iron Man #267 where Iron Man's origin is retold.
Kearson DeWitt, utilizing a large power-armor hammers Iron Man back with his atomic cannons. He begins bashing him around and throwing him through..more..
Armor Wars II Event: Episodes and Synopses
"Lo, A Spectral Enemy Rises"
Tony Stark has just completed S.E.'s first combat training center, complete with artificial landscapes. Rhodey operates a remote-control treadmill robot in combat scenario against two Iron Mans. The treadmill viciously slams one of the Iron Mans into the pavement and backs up while the second Iron Man flies over to examine it. While the two targets are distracted, the treadmill lifts up a piece of concrete flooring and slams it down on top of the second Iron Man. Iron Man burrows downward and comes up behind the treadmill, where it hoists it up and slams it into the ground. The training situation is over and Iron Man I appears to be the victor.
Rhodey exits from an outside control room and begins talking to Tony. It is revealed that that one of the Iron Mans is actually just an empty suit of armor operated by remote control. But more amazing is the fact, that the Iron Man that won the battle was actually the remote. Tony was the Iron Man who had been flattened by the treadmill. Tony is happy with the results because it means that a remote control Iron Man can easily fool people into believing that it is the real Iron Man.
Rhodey and Stark go to wash up and Tony complains about a mysterious pain that he has been experiencing in his right shoulder. But this more than just a mere muscle spasm. Miles away, a businessman named Kearson DeWitt smiles over the success of his most recent scheme against Tony Stark.
Some time later, Tony receives a message from Mrs. Arbogast. She tells him there is an emergency brewing at Nuke U, S.E.’s nuclear research facility. Tony dashes off to change into Iron Man.
Arriving at Nuke U, one of the employees is terror-stricken and complaining of a huge ghost. Iron Man flies into the facility to investigate. Pencil-thin lasers begin carving steel beams that drop down on top of Iron Man. He flies around various pieces of debris, but the lasers keep working slicing a huge section of ceiling, which comes crashing down on him. Iron Man blasts it into smaller pieces with his repulsors.
Flying deeper into the facility, he finds that the Number One reactor is dangerously close to overloading. He finds that the coolant pipes leading to the core have been severed. He shuts down the reactor and then flies off to do the same with reactors number Two and Three. He quickly seals off Reactor number Two. As he flies down the "zoomway" towards the third reactor, a large portion of the inner chamber comes crashing down on him. Striving to blast his way free, he hears a haunting voice taunting him. As soon as he clears away enough of the debris, he finds that his foe is none other than the Titanium Man.
"Like All Secrets, Easily Revealed"
The Mandarin summons one of his lackeys Stephen Wu to his chamber. On occasion, the Mandarin has lent out one of his alien rings to Wu so that he may act in his name. But recently, Wu had the ring switched for a false one. The Mandarin uses another one of his rings to paralyze Wu until the toady confesses as to who is responsible for the switch. Wu tells him that Chen Hsu of San Francisco-Chinatown is the one who fashioned the false ring. The Mandarin leaves Wu to die as the paralysis slowly makes its way to his heart.
Back at Stark Enterprises’ Nuke U facility, the Titanium Man, who had been believed killed, looms over Iron Man. Iron Man is not sure if this is actually a ghost or a hologram, but he has no time to worry about such things. The Titanium Man “ghost” is keeping Iron Man from shutting down the number Three nuclear reactor, which is moments away from going critical. Flying harmlessly through the ghost, He realizes that he no longer has time to go through the emergency shutdown procedures. He uses his repulsors to dig the reactor housing out from its moorings and flies the entire reactor out into the middle of the Pacific Trench. He buries the thing as deep as he can and then flies off before it explodes. There is a huge nuclear explosion and Iron Man is rocked backward.
Tony returns to S.E. and decides to get some rest. But a little “rest” turns into a 3-day nap. He awakens in a hotel in San Francisco with a woman he’s never met before. He has no memory of where he has been for the last three days. Frantically he calls Mrs. Arbogast who reads him the riot act. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been hounding the S.E. offices trying to get a hold of Tony in regards to the recent Nuke U disaster. This is but another aspect of Kearson DeWitt’s plot against Tony.
Tony changes into Iron Man and flies to the remains of Nuke U. The damage costs are in the billions and the place is a sea of wreckage. As he stands surveying the damage, a laser from beneath him cuts a hole around him, forcing him to drop downward. His boot jets are clogged with molten slag from the rock, and he cannot fly. He drops down hard three stories into the nuclear facilities’ lower levels. As he surveys the area, he finds the image of the Titanium Man refracted upon dozens of vertical mirrors. The Titanium Man taunts him some more and vows revenge against him. Iron Man confesses to being responsible for the Titanium Man’s death. But at that moment, the truth behind the farce is revealed. It is not the ghost of the Titanium Man that Tony is facing, but rather it is the Living Laser.
"Put Them All Together They Spell Laser!"
Arthur Parks, the Living Laser hovers above Iron Man in a blistering corona of white hot light. Using his laser technology to masquerade as the ghost of the Titanium Man, was merely a ploy to draw out the real Iron Man. Laser had heard that Iron Man had "died" and that a surrogate was hired to take his place. But now he knows that he is facing the one true Iron Man.
Living Laser constructs a network or pencil-thin laser beams criss-crossing all throughout the sub-levels of Nuke U. Iron Man blasts him with a healthy dose of repulsors but this has little effect. The Living Laser can alternate between a physical tangible form and a being of pure light. Laser starts glowing white hot and Iron Man is forced to activate his optic shields or risk going blind. He manages to tag the Laser with one solid blow, but the Living Laser shrugs it off and blasts Iron Man backwards. It is the thrill of the fight that the Laser seeks, and he does not want Iron Man to go down too easily.
Iron Man decides to change strategy. He sets his repulsors to an alternating antagonistic frequency in the hopes of disrupting the Laser’s coherent light form. But this only makes the Living Laser pause for a brief second before sending a thin laser line through Iron Man’s shoulder.
As the battle rages, the schemes of Kearson DeWitt become more detailed. DeWitt is actually an employee of Desmond and Phoebe Marrs of New York's Marrs Corporation. He has surreptitiously implanted Tony Stark with a microscopic device that can monitor and control his motor function. Although he can not actually see what Tony is involved in, he recognizes that he is currently in a state where he is placing himself in danger. This will not do at all. Desmond Marrs has greater plans for Tony Stark and he orders DeWitt to shut down Stark's mobility immediately.
Back at Nuke U, the Living Laser charges up for a salvo strike when Iron Man suddenly falls over inert. The Laser does not want to beat Iron Man this way. He wants to see him suffering in agony. Enraged, the Laser emits a huge blast of light energy and disappears. S.E. technicians comb the site after the battle and find Iron Man’s body. There is no record of life-signs or respiration and they believe that he is dead.
Meanwhile, the Mandarin travels to San Francisco's Chinatown district to find Chen Hsu, the aging Chinese man who is responsible for stealing one of the Mandarin's power rings and replacing it with a duplicate. Chen Hsu does not seem impressed nor intimidated by the Mandarin's presence. He politely returns the true ring to him. Once the Mandarin slips it onto his thumb however, he finds himself doubled over in pain and falls to the floor.
"Fin Fang Foom"
After his battle with the Living Laser, Tony Stark finds himself completely immobilized within his armor. He has no idea that the perpetrator of this act is actually Kearson DeWitt of the Marrs Corporation. Emergency crews and S.E. personnel gather around and believe Iron Man to be dead. As they load his inert body into an ambulance, Tony uses the encephalo-circuits built into his helmet to summon one of his spare armors via remote control. The secondary armor flies out to the Nuke U site and retrieves Tony’s body. Returning to Stark Enterprises, he finds Jim Rhodes waiting anxiously. He brings him through a secure section of the S.E. facility where DeWitt's sensors can no longer monitor him.
Meanwhile, Desmond and Phoebe Marrs are supervising Kearson DeWitt's efforts. Desmond and Kearson discuss the long term benefits of tormenting Stark with their parasitic implant, but Kearson's attention seems more focused on his affection towards Phoebe. At Desmond’s request, DeWitt temporarily disables the device allowing Stark mobility again.
Meanwhile, the Mandarin awakens inside the San Francisco antiques shop of Chen Hsu. Having recently returned the tenth ring of power to the Mandarin, Chen Hsu now uses his own mystic knowledge to remove the shadows that has clouded the Mandarin's memory for so long. As the Mandarin rises, Chen Hsu tells him that he will now show him the path towards true ultimate power. He brings the Mandarin upon a great quest throughout southeastern China. The Mandarin climbs through the perilous mountains of the Valley of the Sleeping Dragon until he comes upon a huge ancient doorway built into side of a mountain. He strides past the two Mongol warriors that guard the entrance to the chamber and enters. The Mandarin continues through the black emptiness of the temple until he finds the slumbering form of the ancient dragon – Fin Fang Foom. The great dragon awakens.
"The Enemy Within"
Tony Stark decides to get a full, invasive physical inspection. He fears that the years of abuse his body has suffered may be causal to his recent paralytic conditions. The doctors go over his body and give him a clean bill of health.
Kearson DeWitt embarks upon the next stage of his plan. He has his scientists once again take control of Stark's body. Instantly, Stark snaps to attention and turns on his heel, leaving Rhodey standing by himself at Stark Enterprises. Rhodey begins chasing him all throughout the facility and becomes concerned when he discovers that none of the security personnel are on duty. One of Stark's top security men has been bribed by Kearson DeWitt to allow the Marrs Corporation access to S.E.'s security cameras. Rhodey finds the mole and bursts into the security center, knocking the guard down. He finds a strange device attached to the monitor controls.
But Rhodey's primary concern right now is his boss. He races downstairs to catch Tony before he leaves the building. As he tries to stop him, the zombified Stark begins fighting with Rhodey. Rhodey manages to stop Tony and takes him down to a secured laboratory outside the monitoring range of DeWitt's sensors.
Although Tony's body is being controlled by DeWitt, his mind is still free. He realizes that the only way that he can actively investigate these strange circumstances is to use the encephalo-circuits to take control of the armor. Although the circuits allow the armor mobility, Tony's nervous system still fights against it causing great neurological strain.
Meanwhile, in southeastern China, the Mandarin has awakened the dragon, Fin Fang Foom and offers to enter into a covenant with him in an effort to re-mold the world.
"Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make"
Chinese soldiers converge on the location of the Valley of the Sleeping Dragon in southeastern China. Fin Fang Foom emerges and completely razes the entire region destroying the soldiers. After doing so, the dragon addresses the Mandarin and Chen Hsu on a mountaintop. He thanks them for waking him and pledges to grant them a merciful death. Chen Hsu chuckles and blows pipe smoke into Fin Fang Foom’s face. The ancient dragon immediately falls over unconscious.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Kearson DeWitt continues to try and control Tony Stark. His systems show that he is still in complete neurological control of him, even though he appears to be acting independently. Because they cannot actually “see” Tony, it is impossible for DeWitt’s team to truly understand how Tony is circumventing his current predicament.
Rhodey and Iron Man test out the armor. Rhodey removes Tony’s gauntlet in order to test Tony’s nervous system. Without the gauntlet to contain Tony’s arm, it begins flailing about madly, smacking Rhodey across the face. Tony uses his other arm to restrain his controlled one.
To make things even worse for Tony and Jim, the Living Laser returns to Stark Enterprises to finish what he started (in issue #260). Iron Man flies into battle, but Rhodey knows that Tony is going to need some backup less he overexerts his system. Rhodey calls the Avengers who sends Wonder Man and Hank Pym over to S.E. to lend a hand. Wonder Man tackles the Living Laser and the two trade blows. The distraction provides Tony enough time to recalibrate his repulsor again to an alternating frequency. He unleashes its full power upon the Living Laser and disperses the villains atoms across the city. As the Living Laser is composed of pure energy, and can never truly die, Tony's conscious is clear. He states that it will take years for the Laser to reconstitute his form again.
"Where Is Iron Man?"
On top of everything else that has plagued Tony Stark as of late, he also has his business concerns to deal with. Recently, labor strikes at Stark Enterprises have caused great duress amongst S.E. employees and the labor unions. Using an image inducer, Rhodey has to impersonate Stark to give a press conference stating that everything is back to normal in the affairs of Stark Enterprises.
Contrary to the news however, large mobs of disheartened employees have mobbed the gates of Stark Enterprises. Rhodey approaches the gates and tries to dispel the feud, but the mob isn’t having it. One of the rabble rousers, a man named Henderson climbs inside of a monster truck and blasts through the S.E. front gates nearly running Rhodey down. Tony is forced to fly out as Iron Man and burn a crevice into the parking lot with his repulsors dividing the angry mob from the rest of the plant. In order to convince people that he is just as strong and competent as the "original" Iron Man, Tony makes a large display out of destroying Henderson’s truck. But suddenly, as he is flying over the facility, something seizes Tony’s heart and he drops down onto the pavement.
In China, the Mandarin has changed his garb and through he and Chen Hsu's control over Fin Fang Foom, has taken over 1/3rd of the entire country. Fin Fang Foom continues to slumber.
"This Mortal Coil"
Rioters converge on Iron Man's fallen body and begin pounding him with baseball bats. Kearson DeWitt de-activates the implant in Tony’s body giving him control over his form again. Iron Man rises and takes off into the sky. Rhodey watches him and notices that Iron Man is flying erratically. Rhodey hops into one of the S.E. helicopters and gathers the faltering Iron Man up with the chopper's skyhook. While flying him back to S.E., Rhodey notices another helicopter in the area. The helicopter belongs to the Marrs Corporation.
Returning to S.E., Rhodey gives Tony a complete physical. The recent events have caused major damage to Tony’s nervous system. Tony now realizes that the pain he’s been experiencing lately has nothing to do with post-operative stress from his back surgery, but rather is the manipulation of an unknown enemy. Tony begins researching potential enemies. Rhodey makes the connection with the Marrs Corporation and they recall how Star Enterprises once outbid the Marrs Corporation on the Centrex company buyout.
As much as he hates to do so, Tony has to don the Iron Man armor again. He has to put an end to this before things get any worse. Using his scanners, he tracks down the facility that Kearson DeWitt has been using to control Tony's body. He blasts through the laboratories destroying all billions of dollars worth of equipment. Kearson DeWitt enters the room clothed in a powerful mega-armor.
Meanwhile in China, the Mandarin lords over how easily he has conquered so much of the country. Chen Hsu chides him over his arrogance. He makes reference towards revealing his "true" form to the Mandarin. There is more to Chen Hsu than meets the eye.
Kearson DeWitt, utilizing a large power-armor hammers Iron Man back with his atomic cannons. He begins bashing him around and throwing him through several feet worth of wall. Kearson is enraged and wants revenge against Iron Man for an undisclosed indiscretion. Iron Man blasts back and tackles DeWitt outside of the building. They soar across the city and begin pounding each other with their respective weapons. But Kearson's weaponry overpowers Iron Man's and his atomic cannons rock him backward.
Fortunately for Iron Man, he has back-up. Jim Rhodes, donning a suit of Iron Man armor that he swore never to wear again dives downward and blasts into Kearson. The only way the heroes can hope to overtake DeWitt is by combining their power. Tony takes the transponder coils from his gauntlet and attaches them to the external power packs from Rhodey's armor. Combining power, the two Iron Men emit a blast of energy that rocks DeWitt clear across the city. He smashes into a skyscraper, which then proceeds to topple downward onto him. The blast and the subsequent collision kills Kearson DeWitt. Digging through the wreckage, Iron Man recovers Kearson's body. Unmasking him, he has no idea who he is nor why he would want to seek revenge against Iron Man.
Meanwhile in Beijing, China, the Mandarin sends a message to the Chinese government declaring that he expects them to yield total and complete control over the entire country over to him. Failure to do so will incur the wrath of the Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom.
Despite the name of this event, Armor Wars II has practically no connection to Armor Wars I.
A sub-plot involving the Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom was running concurrently with the Armor Wars II story-arc. This sub-plot culminated in the four-part "Dragon Seed Saga" published in issues #272-275.