of Earth-97082 circa 2015 A.D.

Real Name: Unrevealed; possibly IM2 or Next Step

Identity/Class: Alternate reality (Earth-97082) sentient robot

Occupation: Adventurer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Iron Man/Tony Stark, Keiko Takimoto

Enemies: Hiro Matsui and his agents, SCV (Somatic Combat Vehicle) Samurai

Known Relatives: Tony Stark (creator)

Aliases: Next Step

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly Stark International, p
resumably Manhattan, New York, USA, Earth-97082

First Appearance: Iron Man: Crash (April, 1988)im2-97082-face

Powers/Abilities: IM2 is a sentient, autonomous robot designed as a robotic version of Iron Man; as such, IM2 likely had abilities matching Stark's Iron Man armor (see powers/abilities for Iron Man), but only those confirmed in the story are listed here.

    IM2 has superhuman strength (able to smash through masonry and crush armored foes), durability, speed, and "senses" (scanning/detection abilities), and it can fly.

    It is programmed with a number of combat scenarios that presumably give it general routines to follow with the ability to adapt to its foes' actions.

    It is not limited by human needs for oxygen and apparently can submerge in salt water without damage.

    As initially programmed, IM2 was remotely directed by Iron Man (Tony Stark). It could mirror his every movement, function autonomously on special command, or receive only partial guidance. Stark considerd that IM2 responded to his every move with a virtual sixth sense, like a loyal dog.

    IM2's exact strength, durability, flight speed, etc. are not specified. It did not seem to have repulsor blasts or a uni-beam.

im2-97082-posteriorHeight: Presumably around 6'6"
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: None (it may or may not have had discrete optical units, but rather 360 degree sensing); the eye slits in its mask were dark/shadowed, like Iron Man's.
Hair: None


(Iron Man: Crash (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Tony Stark began project Next Step, designing a robot version of Iron Man that he could control remotely. He brought IM2 to "preliminary readiness."

(Iron Man: Crash - BTS) <2015 AD (see comments)> - ESON, the Japanese manufacturing firm with which he had contracted to mass produce Somatic Amplification Vehicle (SAV, a non-weaponized version of his Iron Man armor), severed contact after receiving his schematics and prototype. Stark subsequently contacted his production manager, Mr. Jones, telling him to unlock Next Step and instruct his tech department to fine tune it.

(Iron Man: Crash (fb) - BTS) - Jones apparently unlocked IM2, and Stark's tech department completed fine tuning it, after which it was sent to Stark's Tokyo office. -

(Iron Man: Crash) - Stark later met up with Keiko Takimoto, who delivered the IM2 robot, which Stark activated to help him take down ESON. im2-97082-parallel

    IM2 mirrored Iron Man's movements in flying toward the ESON building, which they entered through the sewers to avoid laser-armed security drones. Accessing a number of tunnels/ducts to reach the elevator shaft, IM2 and Iron Man entered undetected and climbed the elevator cables.

(Iron Man: Crash - BTS) - As Hiro Matsui ordered his men to kill ESON CEO Hideo Shinoda, Iron  Man confronted Hiro and took out his men, allowing Hideo's escape. After at least nine of the SCV (Somatic Combat Vehicle) Samurai (created based on Stark's SAV) showed up and attacked Iron Man, he called in IM2 to help him. IM2 smashed through the wall and Stark engaged Battle management operand 27, and IM2 and Iron Man fought and progressively took down the Samurai.

    His systems blinded by an explosion, Iron Man relinquished control of IM2 to allow a larger bandwidth to most rapidly restore his vision, which he did via running a channel from his thermal input net into IM2 for processing and back for enhancement. Meanwhile, IM2 continued to take out the Samurai.

     After Iron Man and IM2 had taken out the SCV samurai, Hiro conceded defeat but then used a device to do something to both Iron Man's armor and IM2, stunning Iron Man and removing IM2's inhibitors; it's not clear, but IM2 may have punched down Iron Man before departing. Both Iron Man and IM2 flew out of the ESON building before it exploded, but IM2 flew off on its own. Stark futilely tried to recover IM2, but when Iron Man's energy depleted armor crashed into the water, IM2 recovered him and brought him to an island.

    As Stark recovered, IM2 noted that its anomalous behavior inhibitors had been stripped as the result of an ingenius invasion program by a gifted programmer, and it was grateful. IM2 further noted that its thought processes had been pushed up into a heuristic state of random regeneration, pulling its mind in many directions at once: "The first were dark, distressing...but somehow pleasurable. I believe it is called free will. At least, I'd like to think so."

    When Stark noted that its voice sounded like his, IM2 noted that it had found a voice and that it was indeed his. "Interesting thing, this free will. I was not created to be free. I was created as a powerful, intelligent serving machine. An intellectual steam hammer of sorts. Now that I'm independent, I wish to remain so. I dhall not be a slave to men again."

    Stark insisted IM2 belonged to him, but IM2 countered that it belonged to no single man, but rather to every man: "I am the offspring of the family of man. Everything I know was gifted by many. Now I will build upon that gift. Map over it in search of my own identity. From this day forward, I shall fulfill my own destiny. I wish you well."

    Ignoring Stark telling it not to leave him, IM2 turned its back and flew off.

(Iron Man: Crash - BTS) - After SHIELD brought him back to New York, Stark committed to a relationship with Maxie with renewed vigor, and he realized that he was proud of what IM2 had become.

(Iron Man: Crash (fb) - BTS) - Despite never seeing him again, IM2 wrote to Stark upon occasion.

Comments: Created by Michael Sanz

    Crash was billed as "The First Computer Generated Graphic Novel." That was a big deal back in 1988. There's an extensive feature on how they did it at the back of the book. By it, and read it!

    Much like Earth-8410, the "future" of 2020 A.D., this is a reality where Stark was active from the mid-60's forward, with no sliding timescale. With the graphic novel published in 1988, the main story in 2015 AD was meant to take place 27 years in the future.
    The technical abilities seemed to extrapolate on defined technologies, rather than being as high-tech as in Reality-616. Advanced technical abilities, for sure, but no repulsor rays or uni-beam, for example.

Profile by Snood.

should be distinguished from:

im2-97082-feetimages: (without ads)
Iron Man: Crash graphic novel, pg. 41, panel 2 (mostly full form);
          panel 5 (posterior view, knees up);
          panel 6 (face/helmet);
       pg. 42, panel 9 (paralleling Iron Man in flight);
       pg. 45, panel 6 (scaling elevator shaft, best view of feet!)
       pg. 51, panel 1 (fight/kick)

Iron Man: Crash graphic novel (April, 1988) - Mike Saenz (writer, artist), William Bates (producer/programmer), Archie Goodwin (editor)

First posted: 07/05/2020
Last updated: 07/05/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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