For years it was presumed that Tony Stark was the son of industrialist Howard Stark, but Marvel has now revealed the full truth about Iron Man’s parents.
SPOILERS for Invincible Iron Man #600 follow.
Years ago, it was revealed that Howard and Maria Stark are not Tony Stark’s biological parents. The mystery of who Tony’s biological parents were wasn't resolved until much later, during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the Iron Man titles.
Tony Stark’s mother is actually Amanda Armstrong. Armstrong was a popular rock star in the Marvel universe. She was contacted by SHIELD, who recruited her as an undercover agent. Armstrong’s global touring schedule gave her the perfect cover for crossing international borders to achieve her SHIELD missions.
The truth about Tony’s father is a bit more complicated. Amanda gave Tony up for adoption. It was only relatively recently that Tony and Amanda met for the first time. However, that reunion was brief since Tony was put into a coma by Captain Marvel during the events of Civil War II.
Before Tony was put out of commission, the only thing Amanda told him about his father was that he was a SHIELD agent who died. It turns out that’s was only half of the truth.
Tony’s father’s name was Jude. He and Amanda had a romantic relationship. Jude was an agent of SHIELD, but the part Amanda left out of the story was that Jude was also an agent of Hydra. He used his position within SHIELD to bring vital, secret information on SHIELD’s operations to Hydra.
Amanda left the Hydra double agent part of the story out and figured it would never be an issue because Jude was dead. How did she know he was dead? She killed him by stabbing him in the neck while she was still pregnant with Tony. She did this so that Jude would never show up trying to recruit Tony into Hydra himself.
But Jude, it turns out, is as hard to kill as Hydra itself. He’s been alive all of these years, watching from the shadows. In Invincible Iron Man #600, he finally reveals himself. His reunion with Amanda goes about as well as their last meeting. They have a tense standoff while waiting for Tony to return until Mary Jane Watson shows up and shoots Jude in the shoulder. Jude responds by calling in the Hydra agents he had in waiting. Luckily, Iron Man arrives in the scene, along with Leonardo da Vinci and the Brotherhood of the Shield, and stopped Hydra pretty easily.
What this means for Tony’s future remains to be seen. Jude is back on the board, if not directly in Tony’s life, and Iron Man is about to go in an entirely new direction when Dan Slott takes over as the writer for the upcoming Tony Stark: Iron Man series. Whether Tony’s biological parents play a role in the new series remains to be seen.
Invincible Iron Man #600 is on sale now.