One of Iron Man’s Most Difficult Enemies Is Actually an A.I.

Iron Man 2020 reveals a longstanding enemy of Tony Stark is actually an artificial intelligence.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Iron Man 2020 #4, by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Pete Woods, Celeste Woods, Pete Woods and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now

Robotics has reached such an advanced place in the Marvel Universe that many robots don’t even realize they’re artificial intelligences. This is especially prevalent in the adventures of Iron Man and his enemies, who often utilize robots in their battles. One such android just realized her true nature in Iron Man 2020, and it’s a major shock. Sunset Bain, who has been helping Arno Stark set up his bid to take over every artificial intelligence in the world, is herself an AI — while the real Sunset is being held by Arno in suspended animation.

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Sunset Bain is a genius inventor and robotics expert that briefly had a romance with Tony Stark when they attended college. She secretly stole several prototypes from Stark Labs and was able to begin her own corporation, Baintronics Incorporated. She even took on a villainous identity as Madame Menace, a hi-tech weapons dealer on the black market. She’s come afoul of multiple heroes over the years, fighting Iron Man, War Machine, Machine Man, and even the Punisher.

Bain has resurfaced in recent years though and partnered up with Arno Stark, Tony’s long lost brother. She was able to help manipulate events and situations to her and Arno’s advantage. When the current Iron Man became convinced that he was just an artificial copy of Tony Stark’s brain patterns and not, in fact, the real Tony, Sunset, and Arno were able to delegitimize Tony and take away control of his Stark Unlimited. On top of absorbing the company into Baintronics, Sunset has been at Arno’s side as one of his most trusted and intelligent advisors, using her status to help bring down many of Tony’s former friends inside the company.

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After the failure of Arno’s Obedience O.S. to contain and control the robot revolution, Sunset Bain finds herself in the boardroom of Baintronics trying to sell their new line of Bain Battle Mechs to the highest bidder. However, there is some doubt among the government figures — who question Arno’s failures to stop the robot revolution around them.

Sunset has grown concerned about Arno’s choice to not directly combat the robot revolution — especially when she discovers that Arno is developing a way to take over the minds of the “more chaotic” humanity to ensure an unbreaking alliance between the two under Arno’s command. When Sunset complains about how, as a human, she has some reservations about that strategy, Arno reveals that she isn’t actually the real Sunset. In reality, she’s an artificial intelligence and a duplicate of the real Sunset. When he used his technology to fix a scar on her face, he took the chance to create a version of Sunset that would be more content following his orders.

This shakes Sunset to her core and could give the heroes a potential ally in the fight against Arno. Now that she knows she very much has some role in the future of free AI, it’s likely that the AI Sunset will try to rebel against Arno, which could give the robot revolution an ally from within Iron Man 2020’s own employ. But this could also mean that after Iron Man 2020, there could be two versions of the longtime Iron Man villain running around the Marvel Universe, which could make for a dangerous threat in the future.

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